Kuwait is about to become the first country in the world to require DNA samples from all citizens and visitors.
According to Newsweek, the test will be used to match DNA against suspects in criminal and terrorism cases, or identify bodies in case of disasters. The Kuwait government has promised not to use the test for genealogical or lineage reasons.
If you’re curious how the DNA samples (via a few drops of blood or more likely, a cheek swab) will be collected, Kuwait Times reports –
Collection will be done at a special center at Kuwait International Airport, where in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Department, airlines and embassies, visitors will be advised on their rights and duties towards the DNA law.
As the DNA test will be mandatory for all visitors, no opt-out is available and if you refuse it is punishable under law.
The question that is weighing heavily on minds everywhere is that of security and privacy. How do we know that the DNA data Kuwait collects will be safe from other governments, hackers, and those with ulterior motives? Can we trust their government with such sensitive data, and will it actually make a difference in terrorism cases?
Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East & North Africa Division cut right to the chase –
The DNA testing areas at airport immigration will be in place later this year, so if you’re thinking of taking a trip to Kuwait and don’t like the idea of submitting your DNA to authorities, go now.
Will the mandated DNA sample make you less motivated to visit Kuwait? What do you think of the new requirement?