25th May 2022

France tops mass DNA-collection in EU

  • Of all EU member states, France has collected the most DNA profiles (Photo: Reuters)
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France has amassed more DNA profiles than any other EU state, according to an internal EU document dated 25 March and obtained by EUobserver.

As of the end of last year, the security-centric French state has a database of over six million DNA profiles.

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By comparison, Germany comes in at a distant second with 1.2 million, followed by Spain at 460,000 and the Netherlands at almost 400,000.

Out of the six million DNA profiles in France, some 800,000 are classified as not having been matched to any person.

The DNA datasets are used to help investigate criminal offences and are compared in an automated form with available DNA profiles from other EU states, says the document.

The United Kingdom has benefited the most from the French database, with almost 12,000 DNA matches last year. It is not immediately clear if these matches led to any arrests.

With the exception of Germany and Malta, the DNA datasets continue to increase among all other EU member states.

This includes France, which added another 200,000 profiles to its database over the past year alone.

The mass collection of DNA profiles in France also follows years of legislative manoeuvres that advocacy groups say pose a fundamental risk to civil liberties.

A so-called global security bill adopted last year sought to expand state surveillance and prevent people from sharing images of police officers.

Amnesty International, ahead of its adoption, said the law risked creating a dystopian surveillance state.

The civil rights groups last month, in an annual global report, again highlighted the global security law as ripe for abuse by authorities who have since cracked down on peaceful protesters.

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