Russia introduces bill to extend scope of biometric data collection for crime suspects

Categories Biometrics News  |  Law Enforcement

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A bill has been tabled in the lower house (State Duma) of Russia’s federal assembly aimed at making it possible for a much bigger number of people involved in crime and legal suits – such as crime suspects and defendants – to have their biometric data collected.

The bill, which seeks to make changes to existing federal laws on genomic registration in the country, is drafted to extend the list of persons who are supposed to undergo the process. Genomics is the study of all of a person’s genes including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person’s environment, and is used in forensics through DNA collection.

Other categories of people to be included to the list include convicts who are serving prison sentences and crime suspects who are placed in administrative detention. The bill is also seen as a positive step towards facilitating criminal investigation processes in the country.

In the draft piece of legislation, the term “genomic information” is defined to mean any personal biometric data that represents a person’s biological characteristics through which their individual identities can be established.

The bill also outlines a number of conditions under which registration of genomic information should be done in order not to undermine the privacy and integrity of those whose biometric data will be collected.

The document states that the genomic registration process shall be conducted with regard for the right of equality of all citizens, their constitutional rights to freedom and personal integrity, the dignity of the individual, personal and family privacy and secrecy, as well as their freedoms and legitimate interests in line with general accepted precepts of international law and the country’s constitution.

The bill also empowers expert units of the Investigative Committee of the Russian federation with the ability to pursue mandatory genomic registration in states.

The explanatory note of the bill highlights the importance of genomic technologies, saying they facilitate modern methods of DNA research which significantly reduce the time needed for DNA identification in the context of forensic examinations.

Sponsors of the bill further argue that getting genomic data and developing search algorithms based on it is one of the most promising developments in the domain of crime detection and investigation.

It is not clear how much time the bill, which has already been sent to the State Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption, will be in parliament. However, for it to become law, it must scale through the first, second and third readings in the lower house of parliament, and pass the federation council, before the Russian president assents to it.

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