Australia considers DNA theft laws

Nov. 10, 2008 at 5:49 PM

MELBOURNE, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Australian authorities say proposed privacy restrictions on DNA use would not interfere with DNA testing by the police or courts.

The proposed changes to the Australian criminal code would make it illegal to test a DNA sample obtained without consent and to disclose the results of the test, The Australian reported Monday.

The proposed DNA theft laws aim to prevent the misuse of personal genetic information by insurers, employers, estranged spouses and reporters seeking "famous DNA," said David Weisbrot of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

The proposed changes would not interfere with police or court cases, or cases where lawful access has been used for paternity tests by parents and guardians, said Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus.

The changes are opposed by groups such as the Men's Rights Agency, which believes non-consensual genetic testing should not be criminalized, said Sue Price, the agency's co-director.

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