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14th Apr 2024

France tops EU police list for DNA collection

  • Of all EU member states, France has collected the most DNA profiles (Photo: Reuters)
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France has collected more DNA profiles for police use than any other member state. As of the end of last year, it had amassed almost 6.5m profiles, up from around 6m at the start of 2022.

The figure is cited in an internal EU document dated 4 May and seen by this website. France is followed by Germany with 1.2m, Spain (477,834) and the Netherlands (417,834).

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The profiles come under the 'Prüm' framework, which aims to make it easy for police to automate the exchange of DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data.

France also led the EU-27 list last year and had proposed, under its EU presidency, to allow for mass DNA searches through the creation of a central router.

The central router would manage interconnections between different national databases as part of the European Commission's overhaul of the Prum regulation.

The EU is now working on expanding it to also include police facial recognition databases, following a European Commission proposal to overhaul the rules in late 2021.

The proposal also gives access to the EU's police agency Europol.

Critics say the reforms are steering the EU towards the creation of a mass biometric surveillance system.

Ella Jakubowska, a policy advisor at the Brussels-based European Digital Rights, an NGO, has in the past equated the reforms to "pouring petrol on the fire that is the state of data collection, processing and cross-border exchange by law enforcement in Europe."

Others also held doubts including the European Data Protection Supervisor, who warned against the automated searching of DNA profiles and facial images.

Talks on the reforms are still underway with the council, representing member states, having adopted its position last summer.

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