Renewed bid for central DNA database

Renewed bid for central DNA database

Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) director Songsak Raksaksakul (Photo taken from @CentralInstituteofForensicScience Facebook page)
Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) director Songsak Raksaksakul (Photo taken from @CentralInstituteofForensicScience Facebook page)

The Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) is maintaining its push for a law that would require DNA samples collected from criminal suspects to be stored on a central database.

A central database system would aid investigations targeting criminal suspects in security cases and serious crimes, it says.

The Genetic Data Bill, a legal mechanism necessary for a plan to establish  a national DNA centre, has already gone through public hearings,  CIFS director Songsak Raksaksakul said on Tuesday.

The bill, drafted primarily to support criminal investigations and judicial processes, has been adjusted in response to opinions raised over the possibility of it breaching human rights and to bring it in line with a 2019 law on protecting personal information, he said.

He said the draft has been knocked back six times previously over such concerns.

However, personal information about certain individuals are already being collected by some, such as the Interior Ministry (IM), the Department of Consular Affairs (DCA), the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Royal Thai Police, he said.

These organisations work separately, but the new law is aimed at consolidating their work concerning DNA and personal information collecting and sharing through the proposed national DNA centre, he said.

The IM and the DCA, for instance, collect fingerprints when people apply for an ID card or passport, while the DSI and the police collect the prints of suspects in criminal investigations, he said.

“Thailand still lacks a central identity information database, while other countries such as in Europe and the US use highly advanced technologies in collecting identity data,” he said.

The CIFS is collecting DNA samples, mainly from oral swabs and objects found at crime scenes, when investigating security cases in the far South, he said.

Conducted with the consent of the subjects, DNA collecting has been completed in about 20% of all security cases in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and on about 350,000 people convicted of serious crimes, he said.

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