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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  1. 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.

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