Feeds

UK government tunes out debate on DNA database

Pressure mounts on records of innocents

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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.®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
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
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
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.
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.