Feeds

Home Office defends DNA practice

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

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention
Cameron: 'The consequences of not acting are grave'
Judge says there's no such thing as a 'Patent Troll'
Apple banned from calling litigant a 'Bounty hunter', 'corporate shell' or 'Troll'
German government orders local CIA station chief to pack his bags
Sour Krauts arrest second local in domestic spy ring probe
NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic
Latest Snowden leak suggests indiscriminate retention
'The writing is TOO SMALL': MPs row over Parliamentary move to Office 365
It's all jolly fiddly. And why aren't there more WOMEN in tech support? Eh?
Siri, did we just take a hit in that voice-recog patent fight?
Yes, Apple, you did, says this Beijing court
Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election
Ministerial alarm sets in over EU court's data retention ruling
Russian law will force citizens' personal data to be stored locally
Won't someone think of the software-as-a-service startups?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem
Building your ideal BladeSystem infrastructure solution begins with eight simple steps, outlined in this whitepaper.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Build a Business Case: Developing Custom Apps
In this whitepaper learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.