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
    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, 15 Mar 2011 @ 10:04am

    Re: The plight of the legume...

    Ha! But seriously...

    The real concern I see is the very real possibility for the planting of evidence if the State has a sample of everyone's DNA.

    As is stands now, if I've never been to the crime scene in my life, there is an infinitesimal chance that my DNA will be be found there. If the State has my DNA in a little test tube somewhere, that chance goes up exponentially.

    Sure, call me a conspiracy theorist. The problem for you is that conspiracies are not a theory; they exist. It would be foolish to posit that this could never happen. It could, and it would eventually, and then God only knows how many times after that.

    I'm a fan of collecting the DNA of *violent* criminals who have been convicted of *violent* crimes, but the wholesale collection of this kind of data from the general public just gives me the willies.

    Jesus, we already know that we've sent hundreds if not thousands of innocent people to prison for life, or worse, to their deaths over less exacting evidence. Imagine the willingness of a jury to convict when the DNA of the accused is put up for offer as 'evidence'!!

    I say let my DNA get to the crime scene of its own accord. It doesn't need any help from 'Law Enforcement'.


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