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Public Perception of a Criminal DNA Database in Korea


Ji Hyun Lee(, Republic of Korea)

Sohee Cho(, Republic of Korea)

Moon Young Kim(, Republic of Korea)

Seung Hwan Lee(, Republic of Korea)

Hwan Young Lee(, Republic of Korea)

Soong Deok Lee(, Republic of Korea)

Sarah LoCascio(, Republic of Korea)

Kyu Won Jung(, Republic of Korea)


Background: Since 2010, Korea has maintained a DNA database of those convicted of or awaiting trial for certain crimes. There have been proposals to expand the list of crimes included in this database, or conversely, omit certain crimes if they are committed during protests. An understanding of the feelings of the public as we consider the ethical, legal, and social aspects of a DNA database and as revisions to laws are made is required. Methodology: Questions related to the DNA database were included in the nationally representative Korean Academic Multimode Open Survey (KAMOS) panel (June-August 2016). Results: Of 2,000 randomly selected panel members, 1,013 respondents participated in this survey, including 89.2% who supported the existence of a criminal DNA database. The current system of storing DNA profiles until a suspect’s acquittal or a convict’s death was supported by 79.5% of respondents. In addition, 70.8% of respondents agreed with the expansion of crime categories included in the criminal database. Many (93.4%) respondents favored genetic testing and data storage to determine the identity and cause of death for people who die of unnatural causes. Some differences in attitude related to social class were noted, with those who self-identified as members of the upper class more likely to support the database and its expansion to include additional crimes than those who self-identified as middle or lower class.


Criminal DNA database, Korea, KAMOS, public opinion

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