Local Lawyers Challenge New Kuwaiti Law Creating Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens And Visitors

from the hands-off-my-genome dept

One of the most extraordinary government surveillance projects in the world is being rolled out in Kuwait, and involves creating a mandatory DNA database of all citizens and visitors. An article in New Scientist confirms that the system is now under construction:

The government has already begun to enact the law, collecting samples from people they suspect of having falsely claimed Kuwaiti nationality, as well as members of the police and military. From November, all Kuwaitis wishing to renew passports will have to submit DNA samples, while the country's embassies around the world have been told to notify potential visitors that they will be required to give a DNA sample upon arrival in the country.
The good news is that a bunch of public-spirited Kuwaiti lawyers are fighting back:
When the law was passed in July last year, Adel AbdulHadi of the Kuwaiti law firm Adel AbdulHadi & Partners and his colleagues began researching and drafting their challenge to it. Their principal argument is that the law violates privacy and human rights provisions in the country's own constitution, as well as those enshrined in international treaties to which Kuwait is a signatory.
To their credit, the lawyers are funding the challenge themselves, as they feel so strongly that the law should be struck down.

As the article points out, collecting DNA is hardly likely to be a very effective way of deterring would-be terrorists from entering the country. Equally, finding someone's DNA at the site of a terrorist explosion tells you little: by their very nature, such attacks cause tissues from bombers and victims alike to be scattered widely, making forensic DNA analysis difficult. On the other hand, there is considerable scope for abuse:

DNA samples could be used for other purposes, such as identifying illegal immigrants, or determining paternity in country where adultery is a punishable offence.
The New Scientist article offers no views on how likely it is that the legal challenge will succeed. We can only hope that it does, because once such a system is successfully implemented in one country, others are sure to see it as an example that they can follow.

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  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 28 Sep 2016 @ 3:57am

    Opportunity

    I for one look forward to serving my new government overlords.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 28 Sep 2016 @ 3:59am

    Bad lawyers

    I think this law should be accomplished everywhere. Think of all the money saved by not having to do a paternity test and paying child support.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:23am

    I don't think I needed any more reasons to avoid Kuwait but let us add this one to the list near the top.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 28 Sep 2016 @ 4:52am

    notify potential visitors that they will be required to give a DNA sample upon arrival in the country

    Just like that, their booming tourism industry has been shut down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 5:27am

    Is DNA the panacea many claim it to be?

    In many cases DNA has been used to show the accused is not the person who left DNA at the crime scene. However, using DNA to prove someone committed a crime is a stretch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 6:52am

      Re:

      When DNA agrees with the police it's irrefutable. When it disagrees it's a damn lie. Kind of like video.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      1. Obtain random DNA sample from the pool of collected samples
      2. Commit Crime
      3. Plant DNA at crime scene
      4 ?????
      5. Profit


      You know darn well that one of the DNA collector employees making little money would be very happy for share some of the sample with people offering them money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 28 Sep 2016 @ 6:57am

    As an American, why aren't WE doing this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ron, 28 Sep 2016 @ 7:22am

    DNA

    Seems one more good reason to never go to Kuwait

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    An Apology to Saddam Right There, 28 Sep 2016 @ 2:08pm

    Isn't this the country we were upset Saddam was invading? Clearly they would have been more free under his benevolent guidance than to live under this insanity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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