Privacy

by Glyn Moody


Filed Under:
databases, dna, kuwait, privacy, surveillance, tourists



Kuwait Backtracks On Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens And Visitors

from the this-is-why-it's-always-worth-protesting dept

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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2016 @ 11:55pm

    No-fly list

    Kuwait had no choice, they discovered it was on the No-fly-to lists of too many expats they need to implement the system.

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

  • identicon
    peter, 26 Oct 2016 @ 12:05am

    Kuwait just playing catch up.

    "taking DNA from "suspected" -- not convicted -- criminals is still problematic"

    Well for may years that was exactly the situation in the UK. If you got arrested, for any reason, you got your DNA taken, and the police felt entitled to keep that DNA even if your were completely innocent. Because apparently 'police policy' over-rides freedom. It took a European court ruling to force change to the law to make the police delete innocent person's DNA.

    The Kuwait are doing no more than copying the freedom loving, democratic west's example.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2016 @ 6:22am

      Re: Kuwait just playing catch up.

      It took a European court ruling to force change to the law to make the police delete innocent person's DNA.

      I bet they got right to that (wink wink, nod nod).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2016 @ 10:26am

      Re: Kuwait just playing catch up.

      ... How much money can ce made?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Oct 2016 @ 2:00am

    "... comes with a lifetime supply of cheddar for every crater purchased!"

    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.

    And if you believe that it will stay that 'limited' once the program is in place, I've got some absolutely breath-taking lunar real-estate that I'm sure you'd love.

    Funny thing about 'data collections'/surveillance programs, they never shrink in scope, they always get bigger, more inclusive and more intrusive, never the other way around.

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

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 26 Oct 2016 @ 3:49am

    Target

    Well, everyone visiting is a cyber bully suspect. And if you wear a watch or carry a phone you become a suspected bomb maker.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 26 Oct 2016 @ 5:25am

      Re: Target

      And if you wear a watch or carry a phone you become a suspected bomb maker.

      Nah, just avoid Samsung.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2016 @ 6:27am

        Re: Re: Target

        Carrying a Samsung is enough to move you from "suspected" to "confirmed".*

        *"convicted" would indicate some sort of legitimate judicial process.

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

  • identicon
    Sok Puppette, 26 Oct 2016 @ 6:02am

    I guess I'm too cynical to believe the Emir of Kuwait is really concerned about the average citizen's privacy.

    Given that many members of the ruling class in most of the countries around that neck of the woods are relatively relaxed about raping whoever they want, beating servants, and generally indulging in criminal behavior that lends itself to DNA-based investigation and proof, I have a different hypothesis about why the Emir might not want everybody's DNA profile in a database.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 26 Oct 2016 @ 7:19am

    "The Kuwait parliament has now agreed to change the law so that only suspected criminals will need to give their DNA."

    And EVERYONE is now a suspect.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2016 @ 4:45pm

    Kuwait has been added to my personal no-fly list. USA isn't alone now.

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

  • icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 27 Oct 2016 @ 4:39am

    It's the cost.

    The Emir saw little point in spending hundreds of his own
    dollars for every person in, or visiting, his country when
    he can just sample anyone his cops want to identify anyway.

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


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