A few weeks ago, we reported on a move by some public-spirited lawyers in Kuwait to challenge
an extraordinary new law that would require everyone in the country -- citizens and visitors like -- to provide their DNA for a huge new database
. It seemed like a quixotic move, since the Kuwaiti authorities were unlikely to be intimidated by a bunch of lawyers. And yet Kuwait has indeed backed down
, as reported by New Scientist:
Kuwait plans to scale down, and may ultimately revoke, a law forcing all its citizens and visitors to provide samples of their DNA.
As well as the legal moves, a request from the country's ruler, the Emir of Kuwait, that the law should be revised in a way that would "safeguard people's privacy" seems to have led to a massive scaling-back of the plans:
The Kuwait parliament has now agreed to change the law so that only suspected criminals will need to give their DNA.
Although taking DNA from "suspected" -- not convicted -- criminals is still problematic, overall, this is welcome news, especially for visitors to the country, who presumably won't now have their DNA sampled. It's also a reminder that public outcry, especially on a global scale, can occasionally succeed in getting really bad laws revoked, which is why it is always worth trying.
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