The Portuguese law regarding the DNA profile database for civil identification and criminal investigation (2008) makes provision for the creation of a body to control the database.
The organisational law governing the organisation and workings of the DNA profiles Supervisory Committee (Law no. 40/2013) was published on 25th June this year.
The Supervisory Committee, which has three members appointed by the Assembly of the Republic, is an independent administrative body with state powers, with which all public and private bodies are required to co-operate.
The powers and duties of the Supervisory Committee in the control of the DNA profiles database include:
  • Authorisation of access by the data subject (or his/her heirs) to his/her data;
  • Issue of opinions with regard to legislation concerning the use of genetic data for the purposes of criminal investigation or civil identification;
  • Issue of binding opinions regarding the release of data for statistical purposes or scientific research and with regard to data interconnections not envisaged in the Law;
  • Issue of opinions regarding proposed legislation, EU or international legislation regarding DNA profile databases;
  • Conduct on-site inspections of the operation of the DNA profiles database;
  • Order the deletion of DNA profiles and the destruction of samples and of unauthorised DNA profile databases and the corresponding samples;
  • Authorise the release of DNA profiles during a stage prior to the investigation stage, within the remit of Framework Decision no. 2006/960/JAI, of the Council of 18th December 2006, regarding the exchange of penal data and information between the authorities of the Member States of the European Union.
The Supervisory Committee, its members and duly authorised monitored officials are entitled to access the documentation, information systems and manual or digital files which are the support for the processing and transmission of DNA profiles.
The Supervisory Committee shall promote and support the preparation of a code of conduct intended to contribute to the proper implementation of the DNA profiles database Law.
All claims, complaints and applications shall be made to the Supervisory Committee in writing.
Law no. 40/2013, also introduces a new criminal offence of “creation of an unauthorised DNA profile database”, which punishes those who create a DNA profile database other than in the circumstances authorised by the law, with a term of imprisonment of up to 2 years, or by a fine of up to 240 days.
The following are administrative offences punishable by the imposition of administrative fines of between €1,500.00 and €15,000.00:
  • Violation of the access right;
  • Violation of the duty to collaborate;
  • Failure to destroy samples, or failure to delete DNA profiles within 30 days of notice so to do;
  • Release of DNA profiles and the corresponding personal data other than in the circumstances provided in the Law.
  • Keeping of samples other than in the circumstances permitted by the Law.
According to the new Law, DNA profiles may, by Ministerial authorisation, now be analysed by other laboratories in Portugal, in addition to the INMLCF (Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal e Ciências Forenses) [National Institute of Forensic Medicine and Sciences] and the Laboratório de Polícia Científica da Polícia Judiciária [Scientific Police Laboratory of the Judicial Police].

The said changes will however only come into force with the Budget following the publication thereof.