Feeds

Home Office defends DNA practice

They're keeping your data but not using it...honest

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The Home Office has insisted that details from the National DNA Database are not being misused by commercial companies.

This follows a report in The Observer that LGC, a company that analyses DNA samples to help populate the database, has been retaining the details. This includes names, ages, skin colour and address.

In response, the Home Office issued a statement saying: "Forensic science companies do not have their own 'DNA database'. The companies who provide forensic services to the police do store forensic samples and retain records on completion of analysis, in case the samples need to be re-examined in future. All of this stored information remains the property of the police.

"Companies have been issued with strict guidance that instructs providers that this information cannot be used for any purpose other than for populating the National DNA Database or in response to a specific and formal request by the police.

"The National DNA strategy board would not approve research unless there were clear potential operational benefits to the police in terms of detecting and/or solving crime."

The details are only made available to the police or for research approved by the Home Office. This has prompted the pressure group Genewatch to claim the management of the database is "out of control".

Its deputy director, Dr Helen Wallace, said: "It is deeply disturbing that companies conducting DNA analysis for the police can keep copies of this sensitive information. This makes a mockery of claims that access to and uses of the database are tightly restricted and controlled.

"At least 19 projects have been approved since 2000. Most of the research was conducted by the Forensic Science Service (FSS), which the government plans to partially privatise. However, despite numerous requests for information, the list of research projects is still incomplete and, in addition, the decision making process is inadequate and unclear."

The DNA database is the largest is the world with almost 3m samples. Police are allowed to retain DNA from anyone arrested in England and Wales whether or not they are convicted of a crime.

Genewatch has called for changes in the law, claiming that it goes much further than in any other country, and pointing out that the Scottish Parliament recently rejected proposals to retain the details of people who were not convicted.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.