The German advocacy group Gen-ethische Netzwerk (Gene-ethical Network) has launched an English-language version of its website about its campaign to stop Germany's DNA database expansion. The new site features a translation of the group's open letter to the German Minister of Justice and a call for concerned citizens across the globe to sign the petition.
Warning of the German state's current "surveillance mania" and curtailment of basic rights, Gene-ethical Network cautions that the situation will soon become much worse as authorities plan to link DNA databases maintained by separate, national police forces all across Europe by the end of August 2011. By 2014, Germany plans to link its databases with those maintained in the United States. To this end, authorities have already constructed a "transatlantic catalog of 'traveling violent offenders'" -- a group that Gene-ethical Network has revealed to include political protestors.
Gene-ethical Network's primary goals are to strengthen existing regulations governing police DNA analysis, to prevent DNA profiles from being stored indefinitely, to guarantee independent oversight of the databases, and to immediately withdraw from international DNA data exchange agreements. To advertise these efforts, Gene-ethical Network has treated German citizens to the sight of protestors dressed as giant Q-tips (a common tool for collecting DNA from cheek cells) marching through their streets.
It is unclear whether the cotton swabs will soon be boarding a transatlantic flight, but we can only hope for such a visit as American states and our federal government similarly push for expanded police databases.
Previously on Biopolitical Times:
Posted in DNA Forensics, Emily Stehr's Blog Posts, Media Coverage, Other Countries, Public Opinion, Sequencing & Genomics
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