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)
Listen to article

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).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.


Racist algorithms and AI can't determine EU migration policy

Artificial Intelligence in migration is increasingly used to make predictions, assessments, and evaluations based on racist assumptions it is programmed with. But with upcoming AI Act, the EU has a chance to draw red lines on the most harmful technologies.

France tops mass DNA-collection in EU

France has amassed millions of DNA profiles used for criminal probes. The collection comes amid criticism of state led surveillance and heavy handed police.

MEPs back EU facial-recognition ban for police

The European Parliament has backed a moratorium on facial recognition for law-enforcement purposes - bypassing attempts to torpedo the ban on potential mass surveillance.


Why your data might already be on a Europol list

Police forces around Europe seem hooked on the habit of collecting information on a massive scale and forwarding it to the EU's police agency, Europol. This undermines privacy, fair trial rights and the presumption of innocence.


Potential legal avenues to prosecute Navalny's killers

The UN could launch an independent international investigation into Navalny's killing, akin to investigation I conducted on Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, or on Navalny's Novichok poisoning, in my role as special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, writes the secretary-general of Amnesty International.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us