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16.00 6 Jul 2015


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With a decision likely to raise serious ethical questions for advocates of privacy and personal identity, the middle-eastern state of Kuwait has introduced a new law insisting that every resident in the country submit a DNA sample to a database.

Anyone who refuses to donate their sample will, according to the AFP, face a fine of up to €30,000, as well as a prison sentence of up to one year.

Kuwaiti officials claim that establishing a universal database of the unique genetic sequences of every resident in the country will make it considerably easier to track down criminals using DNA evidence. The law comes into force just weeks after an ISIS suicide bombing claimed 26 lives and injured 227 others during a prayer service in the capital, Kuwait City.

“We have approved the DNA testing law and approved the additional funding,” local politician Jamal al-Omar said. “We are prepared to approve anything needed to boost security measures in the country.”

The move will affect every one of the gulf state’s 1.3m citizens and 2.9m foreign residents. It is expected that establishing the database will cost more than €360m.

While several countries, including the UK, the US, and Sweden, take and archive the DNA samples of convicted criminals, the Kuwaiti programme would the first obligatory DNA database for the entire population of a country, regardless of the criminal records of citizens.

Kuwaiti officials also revealed that the penalty for submitting a false DNA sample will be up to seven years in prison.


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