Monday, October 26, 2009

Australian DNA Database Nearing Max Capacity After Just Six Months

Via -

The nation's controversial DNA database is two-thirds full just six months after it was finally connected to all police jurisdictions, and will require a substantial technology upgrade, CrimTrac says.

A strategic review found the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database, used by police to cross-check the genetic signatures of known criminals or suspects, already holds almost 500,000 profiles while the system has a functional capacity of around 750,000.

CrimTrac's biometrics manager Andrew Paterson said the review "identified the need to look at larger systems" to accommodate expansion.

Originally mooted around 10 years ago, it took eight years to resolve legal differences and link all police criminal investigation systems into a uniform database that allows DNA sample matching across borders.

The final linkages were switched on in April.

Mr Paterson said the agency, which maintains the database, would look at commercial software packages such as CODIS, a US product used by the FBI, and Psylon, a local offering.

At the same time, the review recommended expanding local DNA profiling measures to include a greater number of matching points, or loci. Searches of the database are based on nine loci, while US technology searches use 12 loci and New Zealand searches are based on 15 loci.

"Increasing the number of loci uploaded would minimise the chance of irrelevant matches," Mr Paterson said. "Australia would also be well positioned to match with other countries."

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