Australian DNA database

August 4, 2007 at 3:00 am 1 comment

Thailand flowerI was waiting for this. I was wondering how soon before Australia would fall in line behind the UK and subject Australians to increased surveillance and invasion of privacy. (Skip this post if you’re unconcerned about your DNA potentially ending up on a national database).

In a previous post, I told you about the review of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act in the UK and the controversial plan to enter DNA details of convicted citizens into a national database. The fear is that people convicted of minor offences such as littering would be included. The deadline for the review was May 31, 2007.

But seems the NSW Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, is not going to wait around to read the consultation document. He is calling for tougher identification checks when people buy mobile phone SIM cards (knee-jerk reaction to Haneef case surely) and he confirmed that police might soon enjoy expanded powers to collect our DNA, regardless of whether you’re innocent, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. And Moroney wasn’t shy in owning up to the fact that a proposed DNA database could contain the data of innocent people when he said: “Well, that’s the purpose of a database … to keep within it issues that go to the identification of people.”

The NSW Cabinet has just approved an expansion of police powers. Police can now demand DNA from a hair sample or mouth swab from suspects arrested for any offence. And speaking of DNA sampling, Moroney said “…the possibilities are endless. It’s an important tool” – meaning the possibilities on how your DNA might be collected are only limited by the Government’s imagination. Moroney did not rule out a national Australian DNA database when he quipped that the policing of the future could not simply be police numbers and the visibility of police.

Thankfully, Moroney is retiring soon, so let’s hope the next NSW Police Commissioner considers the impact and consequences of such far-reaching powers.

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Entry filed under: DNA, Surveillance society.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Josh  |  September 13, 2007 at 2:23 am

    This is scary – just one more step toward total control of the population!

    -Josh

    Reply

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