8 Biggest Fears Over Government DNA Collection

  • Fears have emerged about the government's plan to collect DNA information of all citizens. 

    The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Government Pathologist are among those who have cautioned the policy. 

    KHCR Executive Director George Kegoro has protested that "Without a data protection law, collecting information is like gathering water into a dam without safeguards if the water escapes."

    One of the key concerns is that with access to DNA and lack of a proper framework to safeguard the use of such information, opens up Kenyans to a myriad of privacy violations. 

    Rogue state officials or agencies may use the information as a basis to target specific individuals or groups. 

    The data may be used by political organisations to manipulate elections or tamper with the voter register. DNA may also be manipulated in childrens' paternity cases. 

    Chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor has explained that such information is obtained by insurance firms, could influence decisions on whether or not to insure a client. 

    Criminals may also use DNA data for various crimes such as kidnapping or blackmail. 

    Such personal data could also be sold to commercially to corporates for purposes of advertisement and research. 

    In the case of a trial, a mismatch of DNA and other sensitive information may lead to the wrongful jailing of a person. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018 which allows the government to collect a wide range of personal information. 

    Through amendments to the Registration of Persons Act, Kenyans will be required to provide their DNA samples to be used for identification of people in the wake of the 14 Riverside terror attack.