European Data Protection Digest

DNA Database Legislation Raises Concerns

GENETIC PRIVACY—IRELAND

January 22, 2010

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes is concerned that a bill allowing gardaí to take DNA samples from suspects could result in the retention of the DNA of innocent people for up to 10 years, the Irish Examiner reports. The legislation, which calls for a national database of genetic samples from individuals arrested in connection with serious crimes as well as convicted criminals and former offenders, indicates that DNA profiles collected from those cleared of criminal activity could be held for up to a decade unless they apply to have the data removed. Hawkes says samples gathered from people acquitted or not subsequently charged with a crime should be "immediately" destroyed.
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