While the use of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing is an important tool in helping solve crime, it also has the potential to intrude into people’s privacy in many ways.
Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe, speaking on a motion to approve the Administration of Justice (DNA) regulations in the Lower House on Monday, said any individual with a record in a DNA data base may be vulnerable to malicious implication in a crime by the planting of evidence by corrupt police officers, powerful government agencies and even criminals who can infiltrate the system.
“If this happens it could result in the miscarriage of justice,” he said. Bodoe said this is where the question of what happened to a sample after the profile was created after being analysed and DNA was removed from the sample. “How is it destroyed after it is no longer required because it it falls into the wrong hands it could be used for the wrong reasons. If we have a transparent and understood process then that would relieve any kind of anxiety in the minds of the population,” he said.
He said if samples were not stored properly it could have impact on the results and that could have a disastrous effect. He said transporting the sample raised the issue of whether a sample could be tampered with or exchanged. He asked what safeguards would be put in place to ensure that samples were not tampered with.
“We have spoken about the accuracy and reliability of DNA, but one has to understand for us to get that kind of accuracy the conditions have to be right. DNA is a powerful tool, it can enhance the possibility of solving crime, the number of crimes that are solved, the speed at which crimes are solved, and police can spend time on other work with the time they can gain.
“The accuracy of the match depends on the quality of the test. There are certain standards. In some countries they take ten or 13 samples. The more you measure the more accurate the sample can be,” he explained. Regarding mixed profiles entered into the data base, Bodoe said there could be two or more people drinking from the same glass or smoked the same cigarette and therefore could be mixed DNA samples.
He also asked whether there would be match validation where when the results came in, whether they were going to confirm by a separate sample. He also said that there must be data integrity control measures where there was a system where there were regular back ups in case of a disaster.