Congress says DNA profiling bill will violate autonomy, privacy of citizens; claims 'big brother syndrome' embedded in govt

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday accused the government of attempting to carry out "360-degree profiling" of citizens, and claimed that the DNA profiling bill was violative of the privacy and autonomy of people.

Accusing the government of repeatedly displaying "intrusive and nosy behaviour", Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the BJP-led government wants "an India that is defined by them". "This government...has repeatedly made attempts at doing 360- degree profiling of its citizens. Surveillance breeds conformity...," Singhvi said.

File image of Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi. AFP

File image of Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi. AFP

The DNA profiling bill, based on the one prepared by the Law Commission recently, states that national and regional DNA databanks will be set up for maintaining a national database for identification of victims, accused, suspects, under-trials, missing persons and unidentified human remains. Noting that the "big brother syndrome" is deeply embedded in this government, Singhvi gave examples where the government tried to intrude into the privacy of its citizens.

"The example of Aadhaar misuse.... A perfectly valid comprehensive structure was brought by us, but the government distorted it and made it a snooping device," Singhvi claimed. Moreover, the collection of data through "tainted global firms" such as Cambridge Analytica is another example of the government trying to attack the privacy of its citizens.

"The government introduced the bill in Rajya Sabha and quickly sensing the opposition cross political spectrum in different states they withdrew it and then introduced it in Lok Sabha late night..., clearly trying to go by strength," he said. He also raised the question of protection of data under the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill or the DNA profiling bill.

"This huge DNA laboratory to collect is it safeguarded in the laboratory. No provision has been made to safeguard, protect it. There is also no provision in the bill of how long would the government get to store this sensitive data," he claimed. "The government of India must respond and give us answers as to why it is not able to wait for data protection act. The country should be told of all the details for the basic objective behind this bill. Ample safeguard of comprehensive nature must be added," the Congress leader said.

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Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 10:54:09 IST

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