Feeds

Citizens's panel demands policing for DNA database

But not by the police

Top three mobile application threats

A "Citizens' Inquiry" into the Forensic Use of DNA and National DNA Database is calling for proper public debate into the issues raised by the database, education of the public about their rights and an independent body to oversee the development of the database.

The Citizens' Inquiry was made up of 30 people drafted in to help the Human Genetics Commission find out what the public thinks about the database.

The 30 people were not just quizzed on their views - they met various "experts" to learn more and discussed the issues over a period of weeks. The panel produced some unanimous recommendations but also split on some key issues.

Among the unanimous recommendations were a public awareness campaign, specific information for suspects who have their DNA taken, better information for juries dealing with DNA evidence and a commission to oversee the database and publish an annual report.

Panel members were drawn from Birmingham and Glasgow. There are some differences between the regulation of DNA databases in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Children as young as 8 can have samples taken by Scottish police and entered on the database. For England and Wales kids must be over 10.

The panel generally favoured the Scottish system - which does not record the ethnicity of people who have samples taken and also deletes profiles for people not charged with a crime or acquitted. It was noted that if England and Wales did not record ethnicity we would not know how skewed the figures are - one third of young black British men are now on the database. A majority of people believed Scottish, English and Welsh regulations should be brought together.

But the group also showed how divided opinion is on these issues. A minority argued that a universal database was preferable to the existing system - that way no one could claim to be "criminalised" by being on it. A minority supported DNA testing every child at birth.

Some argued that samples should be kept for ever while a majority believed the length of time samples are kept should be proportionate to the crime committed.

A majority supported the deletion of records and samples of people once they're found innocent or not charged with an offence. But a minority believed such records should be kept regardless of guilt or innocence - some even believed they should be kept up to five years after death in case a crime comes to light.

The HGC will now run a consultation exercise until 7 November. It will then present its final report in early 2009. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
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
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.