In a world where Western countries are running from the tide of DNA data that is washing over them, the United Arab Emirates seems to be taking a totally different stance. At the moment, the UAE only collects samples from suspects or convicted criminals. What they are looking at doing is expanding the DNA database to include every citizen (and I use the term in a colloquial sense, not a Border Control sense) – so that’s the entire population, both local and expatriate. The thinking behind this is to assist with victim identification following mass disasters (natural and, presumably, man-made) and also to assist in missing persons cases. They also apparently consider that it will drastically control crime, reduce the number of unnecessary suspects and innocent suspects and reveal the real criminal in a case faster than at present.
The samples will start being collected within the next year, starting with the youngest end of the population, taking 1 million samples per year (that’s more than 2,700 each day). Rather than write new legislation, the population could just be issued with a Security Directive to give a sample.
In a country with a population around the 4 and a half million mark and expanding rapidly, that’s a lot of DNA data, given that they currently have only 5,000 profiles on the current database . I just hope their statistical interpretation software is up to the job.