Since the mid-1990s most EU Member States have established a national forensic DNA database. These mass repositories of DNA profiles enable the police to identify DNA stains which are found at crime scenes and are invaluable in criminal investigation. Governments have always brushed aside privacy objections by stressing that the stored DNA profiles do not contain sensitive genetic information on the included individuals and that they reside under the statutory privacy protection regulations. However, it has been generally overlooked that the police also store the DNA samples from which the DNA profiles are derived. Although these DNA samples are actually a potential source of genetic information, they have so far scarcely been the subject of discussion. In this article we will show that both European and national regulations offer inadequate protection to completely prevent function creep, that is, the use of these forensic DNA samples for purposes beyond those envisaged at the time of collection.
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