Law Updates

The new Omani Biometrics Law

Oman’s first Biometrics Law was promulgated last week and published in the Official Gazette yesterday. This new law establishes the regulatory framework for the collection, use, and protection of biometric data primarily for use in forensics.

The Law of Biometrics establishes a biometrics database under the supervision of the Directorate General of Inquiries and Criminal Investigation in the Royal Oman Police that will store biometric data collected by the police such as fingerprints, face scans, palm prints, iris scans, and DNA profiles to use in the identification of perpetrators of crimes or any other cases approved by the Inspector General of Police and Customs.

The law outlines the sources from which the biometric samples are collected, which include biometric traces lifted from crime scenes, corpses and unidentified body parts, and samples taken from those accused of committing crimes as well as actual convicts. Samples might also be taken from the relatives of missing persons or missing persons themselves after they are found.

In addition to the use for the identification of criminals, the law permits the use of biometric data to determine ancestry in certain cases such as cases involving the misidentification of births in hospitals, the loss of children in disasters, and certain cases of rape.

The law imposes several fines and prison punishments for those who commit offences such as forging biometrics, disclosing biometrics without authorisation, destroying biometric samples, or refusing to give a biometric sample requested by the authorities punishable by a fine of up to 5,000 Rial Omani and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The Biometric Law enters into force today. You can read it in full in English on the link below: