Feeds

UK government tunes out debate on DNA database

Pressure mounts on records of innocents

High performance access to file storage

The government has responded to an e-petition on the burgeoning DNA database but rebuffed its main complaint that the world's largest criminological genetic store has been built "by stealth" and without Parliamentary and public consent.

750 people had endorsed the e-petition, "StopDNAbystealth", which complained that DNA policy constituted "unjustified accumulation of private data by the State, which erodes the presumption of innocence and feeds a culture of authoritarianism."

The government's response to the petition yesterday said that DNA policy had been given its due Parliamentary test when it was passed as part of the Criminal Evidence Act. Amendments that had since 2001 increased police powers to store and use DNA had all required Parliamentary consent, it said.

Yet both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition parties have long been calling for a dedicated debate on how civil rights will be effected by a criminological DNA database consisting mostly of details collected from innocent people.

Their request was repeated after the Libdems complained yesterday that the DNA database had captured the genetic markers of over 100 children below the age of 10.

Terri Dowty, director of Action on Rights for Children, has complained previously that the database could stigmatise children.

"These children will be on the database for the rest of their lives. This means that whenever their DNA is found at a crime scene, they will have to be prepared to justify themselves. We are turning thousands of innocent children into lifelong suspects," she said on the publication of a report on the matter last month.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Clegg MP, yesterday echoed wider concerns about the retention of genetic records taken from people who had not been charged with any offence.

The government was adamant that the scores the DNA database had given police outweighed any infringement the store might have on civil liberties.

"While the Government understands that some people are concerned by these powers it firmly believes that they are justified by the additional crimes solved," said its petition response.

By trawling for genetic matches against lists of people arrested but not charged, the government said it had "yielded a match with a crime scene" more than 3,000 times. It did not say how many of these had led to convictions or even charges. It did, however, say that of those leads, 37 were for murders and 90 for rapes.

The outgoing Home Secretary said last month that one quarter of people on the DNA database had neither been convicted nor cautioned, though this could be for a variety of reasons including that they were still being investigated prior to a decision to charge, as well as having been cleared.®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
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
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.