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. icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 16 Mar 2011 @ 2:46am

    Re: Paranoia...?

    one of the roles of government is to facilitate improvements in commerce; and conversely to protect consumer rights.
    It's what? No the government's role is to create a stable structure in which commerce can exist, not to have anything to do with commerce itself and its role is not to protect consumer rights, but to protect all the rights of its citizens without any prejudice to a subset.
    Private companies would work to use this information to drive their bottom line in any way they can. And they should.
    No, they really shouldn't. Not without the permission of everyone involved and certainly not with the help of the government without permission.
    However, what other consequences can you envision that would outweigh the conceivable benefits of a genuine database containing the minutae of the human genome?
    Every good usage I can think of for such a database doesn't involve knowing who the person you are studying is. Every usage I can think of for knowing who a person is is subject to abuse and history is replete with governments and private companies abusing any kind of identifying data. I choose not to give them another weapon against me thank you they are already significantly and sufficiently well armed.

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