CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Erbas on DNA Databases

Rahime Erbaş (Istanbul University, Faculty of Law) has posted The Tension between Genome Privacy and Criminal Justice in the Wake of DNA Databases (Journal of Penal Law and Criminology 2017; 5 (2):163-178) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Using DNA databases has a significant role in finding truths in criminal law; therefore, national DNA databases are becoming common worldwide. Consequently, their size is increasing every year. However, do we actually need a DNA database for the sake of criminal justice? Within this context, this study first demonstrates how common it is to create DNA databases today and how much information is retained in these databases. Then, the key question emerges: how do we find the balance between the competing interests of ensuring the right to privacy while facilitating the state’s interest in solving crimes? This is where the main implementation criteria for data entry, storage and destruction become significant. More concretely, we examine the criteria that should be adopted around whether DNA samples for particular criminals should be included. For example, should DNA samples be included in the case of serious crimes, e.g., crimes against life, sexual abuse, and robbery, as well as crimes requiring punishment of more than a certain time period, such as more than one year? Further, is it possible to remove DNA information from the database? This study is based on the proposal that these criteria play a significant role in softening the tension between breaching privacy and the State's interest in fighting and solving crimes. This study will focus on these criteria, summarized as data entry, storage and destruction by considering comparative law including the EU, the ECHR and the USA analysis.

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