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posted by cmn32480 on Sunday January 31 2016, @08:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-a-little-invasive-don't-cha-think dept.

Glyn Moody reports via TechDirt

Kuwait has the dubious honor of being the first nation to require everyone's DNA--including that of visitors to the country. The Kuwait Times has a frighteningly matter-of-fact article about the plan, which is currently being put into operation. Here's how the DNA will be gathered:

Collecting samples from citizens will be done by various mobile centers that will be moved according to a special plan amongst government establishments and bodies to collect samples from citizens in the offices they work in. In addition, fixed centers will be established at the interior ministry and citizen services centers to allow citizens [to] give samples while doing various transactions.

Those who are not citizens of Kuwait will be sampled when they apply for residence permits:

Collection will done on issuing or renewing residency visas through medical examinations done by the health ministry for new residency visas and through the criminal evidence department on renewing them.

As for common-or-garden[-variety] visitors to the country:

Collection will be done at a special center at Kuwait International Airport, where in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Department, airlines, and embassies, visitors will be advised on their rights and duties towards the DNA law.

[...] The DNA will not be used for medical purposes, such as checking for genetic markers of disease, which will avoid issues of whether people should be told about their predisposition to possibly serious illnesses. Nor will the DNA database be used for "lineage or genealogical reasons". That's an important point: a complete nation's DNA would throw up many unexpected paternity and maternity results, which could have massive negative effects on the families concerned. It's precisely those kinds of practical and ethical issues that advocates of wider DNA sampling and testing need to address, but rarely do.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Study Predicts Appearance From Genome Sequence Data 10 comments

Anonymity continues to die a little every day:

The physical traits predicted from genome sequence data may be sufficient to identify anonymous individuals in the absence of other information, according to a study set to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

After looking for links between physical phenotypes and whole-genome sequence data for more than 1,000 individuals from a range of ancestral groups, researchers from the US and Singapore took a crack at predicting biometric traits based on genetic data with the help of a newly developed algorithm. In a group of de-identified individuals, they reported, the algorithm made it possible to identify a significant proportion of individuals based on predictions of three-dimensional facial structure, ethnicity, height, weight, and other traits.

"By associating de-identified genomic data with phenotypic measurements of the contributor, this work challenges current conceptions of genomic privacy," senior author Craig Venter, of Human Longevity and the J. Craig Venter Institute, and his co-authors wrote. "It has significant ethical and legal implications on personal privacy, the adequacy of informed consent, the viability and value of de-identification of data, the potential for police profiling, and more."

[...] [Genome] sequences [...] are not currently protected as identifying data under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's Safe Harbor method for ensuring anonymous and de-identified patient information.

Also at Bio-IT World, PRNewswire, and San Diego Union Tribune.

Previously: Creating Wanted Posters from DNA Samples

Related: EFF to Supreme Court: The Fourth Amendment Covers DNA Collection
Kuwait Creating Mandatory DNA Database of All Citizens, Residents--and Visitors
Massive DNA Collection Campaign in Xinjiang, China
Routine Whole Genome Sequencing: Not Scary?


Original Submission

Politics: DNA Databases in the U.S. and China are Tools of Racial Oppression 166 comments

DNA Databases in the U.S. and China Are Tools of Racial Oppression

Two major world powers, the United States and China, have both collected an enormous number of DNA samples from their citizens, the premise being that these samples will help solve crimes that might have otherwise gone unsolved. While DNA evidence can often be crucial when it comes to determining who committed a crime, researchers argue these DNA databases also pose a major threat to human rights.

In the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a DNA database called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that currently contains over 14 million DNA profiles. This database has a disproportionately high number of profiles of black men, because black Americans are arrested five times as much as white Americans. You don't even have to be convicted of a crime for law enforcement to take and store your DNA; you simply have to have been arrested as a suspect.

[...] As for China, a report that was published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in mid-June claims that China is operating the "world's largest police-run DNA database" as part of its powerful surveillance state. Chinese authorities have collected DNA samples from possibly as many as 70 million men since 2017, and the total database is believed to contain as many as 140 million profiles. The country hopes to collect DNA from all of its male citizens, as it argues men are most likely to commit crimes.

DNA is reportedly often collected during what are represented as free physicals, and it's also being collected from children at schools. There are reports of Chinese citizens being threatened with punishment by government officials if they refuse to give a DNA sample. Much of the DNA that's been collected has been from Uighur Muslims that have been oppressed by the Chinese government and infamously forced into concentration camps in the Xinjiang province.

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @08:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @08:47AM (#297361)

    Kuwait is only doing what your favorite little nerd utopia story says to do.

    http://marshallbrain.com/manna5.htm [marshallbrain.com]

    Another core principle is that nothing is anonymous. Eric grew up during the rise of the Internet, and the rise of global terrorism, and one thing he realized is that anonymity allows incredible abuse. It does not matter if you are sending anonymous, untraceable emails that destroy someone's career, or if you are anonymously releasing computer viruses, or if you are anonymously blowing up buildings. Anonymity breeds abuse. In Australia, if you walk from your home to a park, your path is logged. You cannot anonymously pass by someone else's home. If someone looks up your path that day to see who walked by, that fact is also logged. So you know who knows your path. And so on. This system, of course, makes it completely impossible to commit an anonymous crime. So there is no anonymous crime. Anyone who commits a crime is immediately detained and disciplined.

    By nerd law, you will now approve of everything Kuwait does. You must comply.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by julian on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:20AM

      by julian (6003) on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:20AM (#297366)

      If someone looks up your path that day to see who walked by, that fact is also logged.

      Something tells me this bit, this most crucial and sadly under-emphasized caveat, won't be heeded. Will the Kuwaiti system allow me to have access to a log of all the times my genome was looked at and by whom? No? Then the social contract hasn't been upheld and I'm obligated to defect.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:26AM (#297367)

      -bad guy mode on -
      wolves and dogs never do anything anonymously, and yet they seem to be ok (minus intentional interference by humans).
      you CAN have a functional society with zero anonymity.
      - bad guy mode off -

      I'm not saying that something like this should happen, and if it did the problem would be with abuse.
      for wolves and dogs abuse is impossible, because when information is used for personal gain, everyone knows.
      with humans, abuse will be possible, because the scale is different, and the surveillance could be avoided by determined individuals/groups.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:18AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:18AM (#297374)

        Wolves are even refusing to have a name. Uncultural anonymous bastards!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:59AM (#297381)

      By nerd law, you will now approve of everything Kuwait does. You must comply.

      Wasn't sure whether to mod this parent post up, or post myself. You can see how I decided.

      "Nerd Law" as expressed above, really should apply here. Google and its once-terrifying invasive privacy policies have now been largely accepted by the tech community. (I remember reading posts like these: "So what? They're reading all my emails. Fine with me, as long as my targeted ads make more sense.")

      Really? No "Nerd" I knew in the 1990s would have ever countenanced such a perspective, but now it's the norm.

      So it's clear we like to throw in with the "technology above ethics" crowd, so we might as well go all-in and start submitting our own DNA and get it over with.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday January 31 2016, @07:55PM

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 31 2016, @07:55PM (#297504) Journal

        Just because one person writes something doesn't make it general consensus.

        OTOH, e-mail that was unencrypted should always have been thought of as being "as private as a postcard". This doesn't mean I'm OK with someone else reading it, it means I know I can't prevent it. And any "nerd" who is worthy of the name should also know that. This is why there have been periodic attempts to get encryption built into email programs. Kmail has it, but none of my contacts use Kmail. I could sign my emails, I guess, but imagine trying to sign this post. Public key, even when just used as signing, requires support by the applications.

        If I see the govenment heading towards dictatorship, this doesn't mean I'm ok with it. It may mean I don't see any reasonable way to stop it.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @11:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @11:32AM (#297386)

      That's just pro-feminist faggot law.

      Cunt is opposed to men marrying young girls too.

      >In the United States, as late as the 1880s most States set the minimum age at 10-12, (in Delaware it was 7 in 1895).[8] Inspired by the "Maiden Tribute" female reformers in the US initiated their own campaign[9] which petitioned legislators to raise the legal minimum age to at least 16, with the ultimate goal to raise the age to 18. The campaign was successful, with almost all states raising the minimum age to 16-18 years by 1920.

      Dueteronomy has a solution:

      Also: see: Deuteronomy chapter 22 verses 28-29, hebrew allows men to rape girl children and keep them: thus man + girl is obviously fine. Feminists are commanded to be killed as anyone enticing others to follow another ruler/judge/god is to be killed as-per Deuteronomy. It is wonderful when this happens from time to time: celebrate)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @07:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @07:39PM (#297497)

        Deuteronomy chapter 22 verses 28-29, hebrew [sic] allows men to rape girl children and keep them: thus man + girl is obviously fine.

        Not really. The text does not use the Hebrew words for "rape." Rather than treat the woman as property (or worse), this passage actually enforces a sense of responsibility: in the modern vernacular, it means that if you seduce an unmarried woman, you're paying the father a penalty, AND marrying her (monogamously) for life.

        It deters you from aggressive and casual sexual conduct and respects the rights of the woman and her family by automatically assuming your extramarital activity constitutes a marriage proposal.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:55PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:55PM (#297535)

          That's a joke post, right? If not, there's some serious brain-dead apologist nonsense and misogyny at work here.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01 2016, @07:08PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01 2016, @07:08PM (#297857)

            That's a joke post, right? If not, there's some serious brain-dead apologist nonsense and misogyny at work here.

            If you're referring to the reasoned explanation of Deuteronomy, then no, it wasn't a "joke post."

            The alternative (which I assuming is your worldview) is that Judasim (and by extension, I suppose, all mainline religious denominations are inherently misogynistic.)

            I'm sorry you feel that way, but, contrary to whatever you've been reading on the Internet, that is simply not true.

    • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:31PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:31PM (#297548) Homepage

      I think what's important is equality. I'm fine with having total anonymity and total information as long as it is balanced. NSA gets to see my junk? I get to see all of the NSA's junk. Fair is fair. As long as there isn't a skew in the power balance, everything is okay.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:43AM (#297369)

    Thank goodness a UN coalition, led by the indominable George H.W. Bush, freed Kuwait from the intolerable dictatorship of a Baathist regime, and allowed a benevolent monarchy, or at least Emirate, (close, but Emirs are kind of low ranking, unless they have oil, but higher than Shareffs, lower than Kaliphs) to restore freedom for all by taking mandatory DNA samples. Actually, probably learned that one from the US military, along with the "pee in a cup" test for being a good Muslim.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @10:48AM (#297379)

    Random DNA ID verification - check
    CRISPR designer babies - coming soon
    Manned missions to Saturn - oh ... never mind

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @11:29AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @11:29AM (#297385)

    Bomb them.

  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Sunday January 31 2016, @12:49PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Sunday January 31 2016, @12:49PM (#297395)

    Nor will the DNA database be used for "lineage or genealogical reasons". That's an important point: a complete nation's DNA would throw up many unexpected paternity and maternity results, which could have massive negative effects on the families concerned.

    in Kuwait adultery is illegal and subject to severe punishment, so why the hell wouldn't you be testing for "lineage or genealogical reasons"?! sounds like hypocritical bullshit if you ask me. this could also be used to locate abducted children and return them to their families! this is horseshit!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @05:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @05:15PM (#297450)

      Obviously because the people in charge have sired many bastards and want to keep it hidden for the very reason you gave.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @01:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @01:35PM (#297401)

    When you reach the front of the line you must masturbate into a tea cup while standing within the taped off square on the floor in front of everyone. They only provide an old worn out picture of a goat to help you, and the old woman taking the specimen will keep looking at you impatiently and disgustedly telling you to hurry.

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Sunday January 31 2016, @06:30PM

      by isostatic (365) on Sunday January 31 2016, @06:30PM (#297473) Journal

      When you reach the front of the line you must masturbate into a tea cup while standing within the taped off square on the floor in front of everyone. They only provide an old worn out picture of a goat to help you, and the old woman taking the specimen will keep looking at you impatiently and disgustedly telling you to hurry.

      Rule 41, which is subtlety different to rule 34.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by inertnet on Sunday January 31 2016, @01:49PM

    by inertnet (4071) on Sunday January 31 2016, @01:49PM (#297404) Journal

    My opinion is that this is an unfortunate but ultimately inevitable development in human society. I expect this to be the norm for the developed world someday in the far future. Which leads me to a theory I've been thinking about.

    Purely theoretically I've been wondering if it would be possible to reconstruct the DNA of previous generations if you have the DNA of a whole population. And then step by step go back generation by generation, so you'll end up with a DNA database of people who have been dead for centuries. You could even match that data up with wars, massacres and environmental disasters in the past. I'm wondering how far back you could go, provided you have the computing power to do this reconstruction work on that scale.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @03:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @03:00PM (#297410)

      Purely theoretically I've been wondering if it would be possible to reconstruct the DNA of previous generations if you have the DNA of a whole population. And then step by step go back generation by generation, so you'll end up with a DNA database of people who have been dead for centuries. You could even match that data up with wars, massacres and environmental disasters in the past. I'm wondering how far back you could go, provided you have the computing power to do this reconstruction work on that scale.

      This is not possible. You only contain half the genetic material of each of your parents, so 50% of the genetic information is discarded. If you have a brother of sister, you could reconstruct about 75% of both of your parent's genetic information... but you will never reach 100% with more brothers or sisters. If you have a generation with only girls, the Y chromosome of the father can't be recovered. This is not even taking into discount lethal factors or mutations that happenbetween generations.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by inertnet on Sunday January 31 2016, @07:52PM

        by inertnet (4071) on Sunday January 31 2016, @07:52PM (#297500) Journal

        Indeed you can't seem to do this with the information of just one generation. But you have to imagine the whole tree with many branches. Every family has its own tree and all these trees are interconnected in many ways and into themselves even. So while you can't calculate parents from children straight away, it might be possible if you consider all possible connections over many generations. In the end there's (hopefully) just one set of connections that would fit. You start with almost an infinite number of equations with an almost infinite number of variables, but it should be possible to reduce those, based on the data set you start with. Which is the DNA of the current population, enhanced with any DNA of previous generations that is available.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday January 31 2016, @08:06PM

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 31 2016, @08:06PM (#297509) Journal

        It *is* impossible, but the problem is slightly less intractable than you are predicting for those who left descendents-at-the-current-time. The reason it's less intractable is that a large amount of the DNA is common to all people. You still couldn't reach 100%, but the rate of decrease is significantly slower than you are suggesting.

        OTOH, the majority of people in most generations died without surviving offspring. Just consider, if you go back two generations families of 5 or 6 children were not unusual. Back a bit further and they try to get even larger. If most of those had survived then the population explosion would have happened a LOT earlier. As it is it waited until the development of sanitation and other public health measures. (And anti-biotics helped, I'd be dead without them, but public health was more significant.) So reconstructing them would be a task for either a time-machine, or an IMMENSE archeological dig, followed by and IMMENSE amount of DNA extraction. And some of them still wouldn't have surviving DNA molecules.

        Thinking a bit more deeply, I think the time-machine is the most plausible solution.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @03:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @03:31PM (#297416)

    And another place in the world on my "don't want to ever visit... too bad because there is quite some ancient culture to be enjoyed there"-list

    • (Score: 2) by mmcmonster on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:03PM

      by mmcmonster (401) on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:03PM (#297425)

      No. I'm quite sure I would never intentionally go to Kuwait.

      That being said, planes fly over the country, and I could imagine that it is a hub for some airlines to the far east. I wonder if the DNA mandate includes people who are in transit and never leave the airport? What if the plane is delayed and the airline gives you a night in the local hotel?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:28PM (#297434)

        Then you and your fellow passengers do whatever you can to contaminate each others' samples.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:30PM (#297435)

        So that would be people staying in the country on a visa or similiar.

        Besides which: The US has already been doing this for years to foreigners entering the country, and additionally has had a surrepitous dna collection program in hospitals for at least 10-15 years (it was posted on the green site way back when. In regards to a hospital in texas.)

        So while they may be the first publicly disclosing this fact, they are not actually among the first attempting it.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @04:53PM (#297442)

          Was curious about "surrepitous dna collection", found this posting with some references to follow:

          http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2012/11/18/the-ethics-of-dna-testing/ [legalgenealogist.com]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:13PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31 2016, @09:13PM (#297520)

          America demands ID and credit card information of people flying *near* the US. Flying from France to Canada? Right. Hand over your personal information to the US or be refused to be boarded onto your flight.

          I am never going near the US.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01 2016, @03:29AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01 2016, @03:29AM (#297613)

            Hillary Clinton herself ordered her staff to collect DNA samples from foreign diplomats.