Proposals Fair For All New Zealanders

Proposals Fair For All New Zealanders

Forensic DNA analysis is a powerful proposals tool for solving crimes. It can help identify the perpetrators as well as the remains of victims. It has huge implications for privacy, fairness, and privacy. The law may not be able to keep up with the pace of science and society changes.

It has been 25 years since New Zealand’s Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995. The New Zealand Law Commission recommend that the law completely rewritten last year. The government is currently reviewing the report entitled The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations. It contains 193 recommendations but fails to address some of the most complex issues related to DNA databanks.

The issue’s core is the offender database, which the commission proposes restricting to DNA from those convicted of serious offenses. Although this may seem to be a sensible compromise between law enforcement and privacy, it ignores some difficult philosophical questions.

  • Why do we only store DNA from criminals when DNA analysis is so crucial for identifying missing persons, identifying guilty parties, and eliminating innocents?
  • Are databanks use to regulate more efficient and precise resolutions of crimes or is it a punishment?
  • How is DNA banking allow to include in sentencing?
  • Even if a databank is only an investigative tool, why not include all New Zealanders’ DNA from birth?

Which DNA Should We Bank On Proposals?

The argument for DNA databanks has always been at a difficult intersection. They claim that databanks do not punish but also seek to restrict the databanks’ inclusion to criminal record-holders.

The Law Commission recommends seperating the databank categories proposals elimination samples the innocent as well as the missing and unidentified victims and investigations suspects from the offenders guilty. Most index profiles can delete as soon as they no longer serve their purpose. However, profiles of offenders would only be erase if there is evidence that the offender has been rehabilitate.

This distinction between offender profiles and other profiles in the database is problematic because it reinforces the dichotomy of those who deserve their DNA to be store and those whose privacy warrants protection.

Although DNA banking seems to be a privacy invasion intuitively, it is hard to explain why. The US Supreme Court struggled to determine the privacy interest in not having one’s DNA collected and stored when it compared DNA banks that were created for convicted criminals to those who had been arrested.

The court stated that DNA profiles are no different from fingerprints and mug shots. However, the court stress that DNA collection was restricted to those in valid police custody and who were being held for serious offenses, and not the general public

Maori Are Highly Represent

New Zealand’s primary database contains only the DNA of offenders, and DNA profiles can have hereditary components. This means that ethnicity is a factor in who ends up at the databank. DNA databank also includes over-represented communities in the criminal justice system.

The over-representation Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand databanks was acknowledge by the commission. It didn’t address the issue of possible entrenching this disparity through filtering DNA profiles through criminal justice. The commission recommends databanks be restrict to criminal justice system personnel. This helps to perpetuate the over-representation Maori in databanks in first place.

Databanks created from a small (and relatively powerless segment of society, convicted criminals) avoids more political scrutiny. We should include DNA profiles of the powerful and wealthy to ensure adequate political protections against databank abuse.

However, this is not to advocate for universal DNA databanks. The sound scientific and philosophical arguments supporting a broadening of databanks proposals better identification and elimination, elimination of ethnic disparities suggest that political justifications rather than philosophical or pragmatic ones underlie the decision of the commission to bank DNA only for serious offenders.