Feeds

Home Office defends DNA practice

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.