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Dutch Chief Of Police Suggests National DNA-Database For All Citizens

from the bad-idea-of-the-day dept

The chief of police of the greater Rotterdam area has called for the creation of a DNA-database for all 16.6 million Dutch citizens. There is already a DNA-database in existence, but it only contains the DNA of 11,000 people since the policy is to only take DNA from people sentenced to prison for at least four years.

According to the chief of police the privacy of civilians is not as important as tracking down criminals, stating that society is "too careful" and that "if you want to make the world safer, there's a price to pay." In a statement released later he added that safety is partly paid for by reducing privacy.

Of course, one could argue that it's not the privacy-concerned people being "too careful," but that there are some people that are so obsessed with security that they're willing to have others pay the price in giving up their privacy. Such a database will not prevent crime, since most crimes don't originate from rational risk-calculation. Any errors in the database could also have disastrous effects on people's lives in the case of a mistaken identity for instance, not to mention the implications of potential function creep. It really is a big price to pay for a small piece of security in one of the safest places in the world.

After a few hours of outrage from civilians and politicians, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security released a statement that they do not support the plan and stated that it was not the first time such ideas have been suggested. It is probably not the last time, either.

Filed Under: dna, netherlands, privacy


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    How exactly is DNA in any way private since people regularly leave traces of their DNA anywhere they go? And even if it won't help in preventing crime, it will help in solving it, provided the information is accurate.

    I suggest that you read those two sentences back to back as many times as necessary until you realize that the first implies that samples of DNA are readily to anyone/everyone with the means to harvest them, and that therefore the second's qualifying clause ("provided the information is accurate") is clearly inapplicable to the real world.


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