Belgian justice official demands universal police DNA database

by jeeg 19. November 2013 00:02

Belgium needs a universal DNA database to fight crime with samples to be taken from every newborn baby or foreigner who enters the country, a senior Belgian justice official has said.

Yves Liegeois, Antwerp's Attorney General, has called for the new database to be created as a tool for police and prosecutors investigating crimes.

"I suggest collecting DNA samples from every baby that's being born and from everyone that enters the country. This would be a big step forward in the battle against crime," he said.

At present in Belgium DNA samples are only taken from people who are convicted of serious crimes, such as murder or rape.

Mr Liegeois told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper that the need of law enforcers to track down criminals trumped the individual rights of people concerned about the use of DNA databases.

"We must dare to think how to protect the citizen. In return for protection, you have to make a sacrifice. Our privacy legislation goes too far," he argued.

"You have a personal file at your GP's? And soon, your electronic ID-card will include your fingerprint. That's the same thing. In some countries, it's already possible. A big DNA data base would make many investigations a lot easier."

Willem De Beuckelaere, Belgium's privacy commissioner, dismissed the call as illegal under existing Belgian legislation and reminiscent of dystopian novels about totalitarianism by George Orwell or Aldous Huxley.

"We already live in a society where a lot of things are being checked. If we want to go even further, this would bring us beyond big brother to a brave new world situation," he said.

Bruno Waterfiled, Telegraph


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