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Recent expansions in databases containing clinical, research, or genetic information have created opportunities for other uses which differ from their original purposes. Legislative changes in some jurisdictions broadening the powers of law enforcement agencies to access these databases for criminal investigations have renewed concerns regarding protecting public safety through DNA profiling for criminal investigations and defending individuals’ interests in protecting their personal information. This article addresses the ethical and legal considerations around the widening of law enforcement agencies’ powers to collect DNA information and potential access to DNA databases for criminal investigations, focusing on the recent developments in Singapore in comparison with selected jurisdictions. It advocates for a tiered access approach to third-party research databases for specific crimes only. A tiered access approach facilitates the aims of safeguarding public interests through appropriate exercise of access powers, protecting individuals’ expectations of privacy of their personal information contained in these databases and supporting the continued sustainability of third-party research databases.

Original publication




Journal article


Medical Law International

Publication Date