Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/23/dna_databases/
Police store DNA records of 24,000 innocent kids
You never know when they might come in handy
The British newspapers have been getting in a tizz over a Police database of DNA samples.
Already the largest DNA database in the world by far, with samples from five per cent of the population, it contains DNA samples that were pinched from 24,000 youths who have never been cautioned, charged or convicted of any criminal offence.
Grant Shapps, MP conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield, is launching a campaign to have the innocent young bairns' records removed.
The campaign against DNA profiling has been a little slow to get off the ground. Even then, it is limited to only those innocent young lambs who have never put a foot wrong. It fails to realise that most people are already resigned to the whole population having its DNA held in police and government databases.
But there is more, much more to make libertarians anxious.
Britain already has the largest network of CCTV cameras in the world. Road cameras are being hosed through a number plate recognition system that will store the details of every car journey anybody makes.
Government scientists are developing a face recognition system of a similar ilk.
Before long, there will be barely a slip that goes unobserved. Few indiscretions, gaffes, jokes or secrets will be able to rest undisturbed in anonymity.
In fact, it might become much harder to be human.
The police have also beaten the Information Commissioner in court to bolster their databases further.
Their records of minor cautions and convictions will now be kept for life.
Shortly after it won these new powers, the Home Office published a report into the advantages that police get from DNA profiling. ®