Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Privacy protection authority criticizes proposed DNA registry

Mass surveillance

Published 29 October 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Chief Legal Officer Eric Leijonram will hand over the biometrics inquiry to Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer (M) in June.

The Swedish Data Protection Authority (IMY) has criticized the proposal to give the police access to a passport register combined with DNA. Among other things, the authority points to the risk that the register could be misused or accessed by unauthorized persons.

This summer, the government presented an investigation proposing expanded powers for the police to use biometrics in investigations, such as registries with fingerprints, DNA, facial images, and voice recordings. One of the suggestions was to link this type of information with the passport registry.

IMY believes that this type of biometric data is highly sensitive to personal privacy and has strong criticisms against the government’s proposal.

“The data is also permanent; for instance, it’s not possible to change fingerprints. If this information falls into the wrong hands, the loss of privacy is difficult to remedy. Therefore, in data protection legislation, biometric data has particularly strong protection”, the authority stated in a press release.

Furthermore, IMY specifically points out the risks of creating a passport registry with accompanying biometric data since it might be accessed by unauthorized individuals and be misused.

– Turning the passport registry into a biometric registry for use in crime prevention would be a significant and fundamental change. The data protection regulations do not allow for this type of sensitive information to be used so broadly and undifferentiated in crime prevention for individuals who are neither suspected nor convicted of a crime, says Lisa Zettervall, a lawyer at IMY.

– We assess that this proposal is against both Swedish constitutional law and EU law, and therefore recommend against its implementation, she adds.

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