My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: DNA Evidence Act 2015 tabled in Lower House - Why National DNA Registry is Minority Report for Anonymous Hacker

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

DNA Evidence Act 2015 tabled in Lower House - Why National DNA Registry is Minority Report for Anonymous Hacker

“Jamaica stands to benefit from the use of DNA technology to aid in police investigations and prosecutions. This is just one element of the multifaceted approach this administration is taking to tackle crime. We need the legislative foundation provided by this critical bill to address the scourge of crime that has been affecting Jamaica”

Minister of Security Peter Bunting commenting on the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Evidence Act, 2015 on Tuesday June 16th 2015 during a debate in the House of Representatives

DNA and Ballistic Evidence in lieu of Witness testimony is coming to Jamaica!

Jamaica is currently in the early stages of considering passing a Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Evidence Act 2015 into law as reported in the article “Gov't Won't Procrastinate With DNA Bill”, published Thursday June 18, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

In addition to the DNA Bill, the Ministry of National Security recently put forward plans to link the IBIS (Jamaica Integrated Ballistics Identification System) with the INTERPOL IBIN (Ballistic Information Network).

This will make it possible to track guns that have been sold illegally on the International Black Market as pointed out in the article “DNA Legislation Tabled, Gov't Links Ballistics Data To INTERPOL”, published Thursday April 30, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner

These plans was recently tabled on Tuesday June 16th 2015 in the House of Representatives by Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, who argued for its necessity as a crime fighting tool; quote: “When this bill is passed, investigators will have a powerful tool to provide conclusive evidence of the rape of these children. These perpetrators must be brought to justice, and I feel the passage of this bill by itself will have a chilling effect on their criminal activity”.

It's good to note here I'm not much of an expert on Parliamentary proceedings. But based on what's been presented thus far, it appears that this bill makes the taking of DNA samples in crimes such as rapes and Carnal Abuse possible. This evidence can be used to determine if the accused was present at a location during a crime.

A DNA Evidence Act 2015 would come in handy to solve the backlog of cases involving carnal abuse where girls become pregnant. With this new law, it would be possible to clear up the backlog of two hundred (200) carnal abuse and rape cases each year.

But is this a good idea to replace Witness Statements?

DNA Evidence Act, 2015 tabled in Lower House – Initial reactions to DNA Bill

Personally, I don't like the way this bill, officially called the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Evidence Act, 2015 is structured.

My dislike has been registered ever since it was tabled by Minister of National Security Peter Bunting on Wednesday April 29th 2015 as reported in the article “DNA Bill tabled in Parliament”, published Wednesday, April 29, 2015, The Jamaica Observer and “DNA Legislation Tabled By Bunting Today”, published Wednesday April 29, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Opposition Spokespersons on National Security seemed pleased like puss that his suggestion from a similar debate in 2014 was finally seeing the light of day as noted in the article “DNA Bill had an elephantine gestation — Bunting”, published Thursday, April 30, 2015 By Balford Henry, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Observer

To quote Opposition Spokespersons on National Security in an interview with the Jamaica Observer expressed what sounded like enthusiasm for the DNA Evidence Act 2015, making this yet another bi-partisan supported bill, quote: “This legislation has been outstanding for almost a decade, and where we left it in 2011, we are surprised that it has taken the Government over three years to complete that process. It is long overdue; it is certainly an important crime-fighting tool and we are happy that it has finally reached the House”.

The Road to political infighting is paved with good intentions!

How the DNA Law can be corrupted - National DNA Registry will be hacked  

The bill intends to replace witness testimony in some cases where no witness can be located.

It allows for DNA samples to be taken without your consent once a Court Order is given as detailed in “DNA Evidence Bill and Jamaica”, published May 19, 2015 by Emily Crooks, The Crooks of the Matter, basically trampling on Section 3 of the Constitution.

It also lays out provisions for the storage of samples and how they are to be stored and kept by the National DNA Registry, the executive agency that'll be created to maintain and store the DNA records as reported in the article “Security minister confident DNA Bill will withstand any challenge”, published Friday, May 01, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

The samples collected are to be of two (2) types:

1.      Intimate
2.      Non-Intimate

Intimate samples are sperm, vaginal excretion and other bodily fluids such as blood to be matched to DNA evidence at the crime scene. Non-Intimate sample as basically saliva swabs inside of the mouth to quote Minister of National Security Peter Bunting: “In most cases it will be what is referred to as a non-intimate sample, which is essentially a cotton swab that is rubbed on the inside of a suspect’s cheek and that is used to obtain the sample”.

The video below explains exactly how DNA Evidence works and its advantages.

This implies that if a sample is found at a crime scene to prove or disprove the fact that they were at the location and hence establish their alibi. This implies that in order to maintain that alibi, the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) would have to keep a copy of your DNA evidence indefinitely as proof or your innocence or guilt as argued in “State To Take DNA Of Non-Convicted Persons”, Published Tuesday June 23, 2015 by Daraine Luton, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

After all, by logic, if you were found guilty, not only would you be fingerprinted, but your DNA sample would be stored as it also helps to identify you. In the reverse logic, keeping your DNA evidence helps establish your innocence in the form of a sample or even a database file of your DNA Sequence stored in a Server.

Members of Anonymous reading this, why does this sound like an invitation to hack the National DNA Registry, Mission Impossible Style!?

DNA Evidence and the Rights of Jamaicans – Section 3 and DNA evidence tampering

It is this fear as well as DNA Tampering that has prompted some journalists to question the Minister of National Security Peter Bunting afterwards.

They wanted to know whether or not such a database would result in the abuse of the constitutional rights of Jamaican citizens as reported in the article “Citizens' Rights Safe With DNA Act, Says Bunting”, published May 1 2015 by Corey Robinson, The Jamaica Gleaner and “No need to worry, DNA has it locked!”, published Tuesday, May 05, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

The Minister of National Security Peter Bunting words were those of a snake charmer speaking to a pack of Cobras, ready to pounce, as he sought to charm them, quote: “One of the challenges that we grappled with in developing the bill and in making the provisions for the taking of samples, particularly without the consent of the suspect, was to put provisions in place that would ensure that the rights of the individual were observed, and that only reasonable force was used to extract the sample from a non-consenting suspect”.

One clever reader, Colonel Allan Douglas, wrote a letter expressing concern that DNA Evidence tampering could result in the evidence being fabricated to convict persons who are innocent as argued in the article “DNA laws must not expose public”, published Saturday, May 16, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

He echoed the sentiments of Attorney-at-Law Bert Samuels, who days prior in on Sunday May 10th, 2015 expressed a similar fear of the Police being able to plant DNA evidence in a manner no different from planting a gun at a crime scene to gain a conviction as noted in the article “Why I Oppose DNA Law”, published Sunday May 10, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner

The numerous examples of cases cited in this article echoes the words of caution he's previously echoed as far back as Sunday December 8, 2013.

Back then, former Police Crime Chief, Mark Shields, had recommended the formation of a DNA Database as reported in the article “DNA Database, Law Risky – Attorney”, published Sunday December 8, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until the JIS (Jamaica Information Service) was hacked on Monday June 22nd, 2015!

Why National DNA Registry is like Minority Report that Hacker's cannot resist

So not only is the GOJ risking your identity being stolen by hackers by keeping copies of your DNA, both in sample or in a Database in much the same way the JIS (Jamaica Information Service) was hacked, but the Police can get away with DNA Tampering.

As for hacking, that’s already possible, especially with supposedly secure smartphones now being demonstrated as hackable!

Already, it had been demonstrated by FireEye researchers Tao Wei and Yulong Zhang at the Black Hat Hacking Conference that fingerprints stored in a HTC smartphone can be stolen remotely as they're stored as an unencrypted image file as reported in the article “Hackers can remotely steal your identity using Android fingerprint scanners”, published Aug. 7, 2015, by Alastair Stevenson, Business Insider

They made their research known during a keynote at the Black Hat Hacking Conference in Las Vegas and is a very scary hack as you can't change your fingerprints as noted in “Hackers could steal Android users’ fingerprints: HTC and Samsung comment”, published August 12, 2015 By Robert Nazarian, Digitaltrends.

If a Google Android Smartphone can be hacked and the fingerprint, a form of biometric data, was stolen remotely, then hacking and stealing unencrypted DNA files from the National DNA Registry won’t be too hard!

The National DNA Registry will be hacked for sure, Minority Report style!

Expect us............... 

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