Hyderabad: DNA Bill raises many questions on privacy

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Aug 13, 2018, 1:16 am IST
Updated Aug 13, 2018, 1:16 am IST
Despite safeguards, experts express apprehensions.
Union minister Harsha vardhan inaugurates the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics at Nagole on Sunday. Dr Renu Swarup, Union secretary for DBT, CDFD director Debashis Mitra, Malkajgiri MP Malla Reddy and Uppal MLA N.V.S.S. Prabhakar are also seen. (Image Dc)
 Union minister Harsha vardhan inaugurates the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics at Nagole on Sunday. Dr Renu Swarup, Union secretary for DBT, CDFD director Debashis Mitra, Malkajgiri MP Malla Reddy and Uppal MLA N.V.S.S. Prabhakar are also seen. (Image Dc)

Hyderabad: Infringement of privacy rights with the progression of technology and science has always been a sensitive issue. In the past, issues surrounding the bill took a backseat; however, with the inauguration of the country’s first Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad, a new era of DNA technology is upon us, opening up the forum for discussion.

“Various provisions within the regulation bill aim to address the privacy concerns that were raised. However, despite the efforts to announce a DNA bill that does not infringe on privacy rights, there could be multitudinous loopholes,” said Mr Harbans Malik, a concerned citizen.

 

How are privacy rights being infringed when DNA fingerprints or samples are being collected from the accused upon arrest? Well, new provisions in the DNA regulation bill now state that samples from arrestees and volunteers will not be collected without consent from the individual and upon collection the data samples will be stored anonymously. 

Nevertheless, there are still apprehensions that informed consent for collection may not be carried out, possibly due to arrestees and volunteers not being aware of their right to refuse such DNA collections.

Can the DNA samples be stored indefinitely and cross-examined with other government identifications? The provisions of the bill now ensure that all samples collected with consent cannot be stored for an extended period of time.

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Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad




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