Feeds

Police want DNA collection superpowers

All your genes are belong to us, sonny Jim

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Police in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales are seeking to extend their already world-beating powers to collect and store DNA samples from the general population.

Current powers allow the coppers to collect samples, which are digitised and stored permanently, from anyone arrested on suspicion of, but not neccesarily charged with, a recordable offence. This is normally an offence that would qualify for a custodial sentence.

But now they want to be able to snoop the genetic make-up of those arrested for non-recordable offences, such as dropping litter or speeding.

Speaking in support of the request for expanded powers, Inspector Thomas Huntley from the Ministry of Defence Police said the change would allow the plods to collect samples from people before they had committed a serious offence, a situation he considered preferable to "allowing a serious offender to walk from custody, following arrest for a non-recordable offence, and if they go on to commit a further offence".

Reading this carefully, we think he is saying that we need everyone on the database in case they commit a crime at some point in the future.

But despite some support for the police's request to massively expand the database, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) warned that granting such powers could contribute to the increasing "criminalisation of generally law-abiding public".

The call from the boys in blue comes as the government launches a new consultation on the existing powers, to be held by the government's advisory body, the Human Genetics Commission (HGC).

The so-called Citizen's Inquiry "will be involving a small, group of ordinary people who will consider social and ethical issues involved in the current and future use of DNA for forensic purposes", according to the HGC announcement.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, the HGC's chair, said the inquiry would cover things like whether or not it is justified to retain data from people who are either not charged or subsequently acquitted.

She added: "It is likely that the use of DNA information by police authorities for criminal intelligence purposes will grow.  It is therefore vital that the public are able to voice their views having had the opportunity to consider all the relevant issues."

The inquiry was welcomed by campaign group GeneWatch. Spokeswoman Dr Helen Wallace said the consultation with the public on powers "unprecedented" in British history was long overdue. "Your DNA can reveal where you have been, who you are related to, and sensitive information about your health. There is a real danger of abuse by Governments, or by anyone who might infiltrate the system and obtain access to people's DNA or computer records."

The national DNA database already holds four million records, among them almost 900,000 relating to children between the age of 10 and 17. There are also 100 records relating to children under 10, according to reports. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.