Yoga Burn CEO Zoe Bray-Cotton expresses concerns for the inclusion of personal DNA data in national databases.

ID: DHS-2019-0042-0001
October 23, 2019

Attention: Jonathan R. Cantor
Acting Chief Privacy Officer
Department of Homeland Security.

Dear Jonathan,

In some countries, National DNA Data sources have shown to be essential devices in the battle versus criminal activity. However, lots of people are worried regarding exactly how it has progressed from a data source consisting of genetic information on founded guilty wrongdoers to one that has information from a much broader group of individuals.

For instance, the UK National DNA Database holds the DNA profiles and relevant DNA samples from a select number of UK people. It is the largest database of its kind on the planet and is remaining to expand annually. Every account in the UK National DNA Database is derived from a sample of a human product, such as saliva or hair, accumulated from a criminal activity scene or police suspects.

However, lots of people protest against the idea of extending the DNA database as a result of the prospective threat it has to our personal privacy. While a DNA profile offers little info about someone, their DNA example has info that can disclose their ethnic background or how vulnerable they are to illness. The danger of data abuse is as a result potentially high.

In 2012, the UK Protection of Freedoms Expense intended to restore the equilibrium between the State’s obligation to secure the general public and a person’s right to privacy. As a result of the expense, 1,766,000 DNA profiles taken from innocent adults as well as kids were removed from the database, as well as 1,672,000 fingerprint documents. In addition to this, 7,753,000 DNA examples (480,000 from kids) consisting of the sensitive personal biological product were ruined.

Nonetheless, two controversial concerns still stay; exactly how the database is put to use as well as how this is made a decision. The database can currently be used for some genetic research studies and to recognize partial matches, where close genetic family members can be determined from the DNA profiles of relatives on the data source.

As hereditary data sources become increasingly common in various other nations (over 60 countries are now running one) the sharing of information between international police forces is most likely to grow. This might boost the susceptibility of databases to misuse and also hacking. It likewise presents the difficulty of differences in the rules for holding information which differs significantly in between different nations. Although one criterion may apply in the UK, it might not apply somewhere else.

Below are several of the benefits and drawbacks of having a national DNA data source. These inquiries should be seriously thought about before implementing changes.

Yoga Burn concerns about national DNA database(1) Is a national DNA database useful for cops checking out criminal activities?
(2) Does having a national DNA database help eliminate discrimination?
(3) Is maintaining a nationwide DNA data source monetarily practical?
(4) Do national DNA databases take into account a person’s civil rights?

(1) Is a national DNA database useful for cops checking out criminal activities?


The information derived from each DNA profile can be an effective tool in the battle against criminal offense. If a match is made between a DNA account at a crime scene and a DNA profile on the data source, it can help authorities to determine a possible suspicious rapidly. They can then use this info as solid proof to demonstrate a person is guilty of a criminal offense.

Searching the database to discover a DNA account match aids determine a suspect in about 60 percent of instances in the UK for example.

Details can be shared between databases held in different countries to help determine offenders who commit crimes in greater than one nation.

It is much easier to travel internationally, enabling possible wrongdoers to get away authorities and sentence. A DNA database might help to keep track of bad guys around the globe.

Large data gathering can assist identify serial wrongdoers.

A DNA data source of everybody might make it much easier for cops to recognize missing individuals and also unknown remains.


There is little proof to support that more criminal offenses would be resolved if a nationwide DNA database is reached, having samples from individuals who have actually not previously been convicted of a criminal offense.

If a nationwide DNA database contains extra samples, it may enhance the opportunity of false matches being made as well as innocent individuals being apprehended.

Because samples are stored and compared versus DNA gathered at crime scenes, the police may be more probable to go after criminal activities committed by members of overrepresented teams. This may cause discrimination while underrepresented teams might extra quickly avert discovery.

If the police can’t locate a data source match for DNA drawn from a criminal activity scene, they may then look at partial DNA matches. This might lead to innocent loved ones of lawbreakers being wrongfully pursued for a crime.

(2) Does having a national DNA database help eliminate discrimination?


The 2012 UK Defense of Freedoms Expense addressed the truth that the details of several innocent people were held on the database. This caused 1,766,000 DNA profiles from innocent individuals being removed from the UK nationwide DNA data source.

Prolonging a nationwide DNA database to consist of the entire populace could remove present ethnic and also sex prejudice, for instance, in the direction of young, black guys.

It would make resolving crimes quicker and a lot more precise as forensic material from a criminal activity scene could be immediately evaluated to determine prospective suspects.


At one time, the UK National DNA Database had hereditary details from around one million people that had actually not been convicted of a criminal offense, as well as concerning half a million from juveniles. Therefore, specific groups, such as young people as well as black men, comprised an unequal number of those in the UK National DNA Database.

People on the DNA database may be viewed as potential wrongdoers rather than righteous citizens. If the database is expanded past guilty bad guys, every person would be seen as possible suspects.

DNA records are linked to other computer records such as documents of apprehension, which can be utilized to refuse somebody a visa or task. This opens up the capacity for discrimination.

(3) Is maintaining a nationwide DNA data source monetarily practical?


The time, as well as money conserved with recognizing suspects promptly through DNA evidence considerably. It surpasses the monetary expense of maintaining a DNA data source.

Having a bigger data source that covers the whole population is much more valuable as well as cost-effective than a smaller one that just covers a handful of individuals.


Keeping a DNA data source is extremely expensive. The personnel, facilities and also equipment used to refine as well as handle DNA samples cost huge amounts of money.

Increasing the DNA database to consist of a DNA sample from every person in the country would require a great deal of extra financial investment of taxpayers money.

(4) Do national DNA databases take into account a person’s civil rights?


The Forensic Genetics Policy Campaign seeks to set international criteria for DNA data sources that regard as well as secure the civil rights.

We all can reside in a society devoid of a criminal offense.


Maintaining a DNA data source is seen by many as an additional violation of personal privacy and also human rights.

It is debatable whether the advantages of having a national DNA database surpasses an individual’s right to privacy.


Yoga Burn