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.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
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
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
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
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.