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Compulsory universal national DNA database "debate"

Lord Justice Stephen Sedley , quoted by the BBC: All UK 'must be on DNA database' is correct when he says that the current policies regarding data retention on the National DNA Database are very wrong.

However his proposed solution to remove the alleged discrimination against some ethnic minorities, by extending the database to compulsorily take samples from the entire population of the UK and of visitors and tourists, is utterly wrong.

He said the only option was to expand the database to cover the whole population and all those who visited the UK, even for a weekend.

"Going forwards has very serious but manageable implications," he insisted. It means that everybody, guilty or innocent, should expect their DNA to be on file for the absolutely rigorously restricted purpose of crime detection and prevention."

In what way could such a system, which would be at least 15 times larger than the current system, which is already the largest such database in the world, be "manageable" ?

The cross party NO2ID Campaign have spoken out against this suggestion:

Phil Booth, NO2ID national coordinator, said:

"You can't make an "indefensible" system better by expanding it. The only way to tackle the unfairness of the DNA database and restore trust in the system is to remove the records of every innocent person currently held. Anything else is a perversion of justice."

As usual, the level of analysis offered by the mainstream media on this vitally important topic is quite poor:

When reporting Gordon Brown's spin doctors carefully chosen weasel words:

...there were no plans to introduce a universal, compulsory or voluntary national DNA database.

Where were the critical questions regarding Familial DNA speculative database trawling ? Even with today's technology it is not necessary to have every person in the UK on the DNA database for it to be a hugely powerful tool of oppression and discrimination and harassment, in the hands of unchecked bureaucratic apparatchiki or political commissars.

Nothing has changed for the better since our previous blog posting from last year:

ACPO publishes "The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5"

in which we questioned Familial DNA database trawling and the fact that the Forensic Science Service, which runs the National DNA Database is busy conducting commercial research on the tissue samples and data which it has in its power, in order to sell its consultancy services and to develop commercial DNA testing kits and equipment for sale around the world, since the FSS is in the process of being privatised.

They are refusing to obtain the individual prior consent of people whose samples and data they hold, and presumably will also refuse to give them a cut of the profits from sales of DNA kits or software which has been developed from such personal data which was collected for an entirely different purpose, thereby showing contempt for the main Principles of Data Protection and of people's Intellectual Property Rights.

Remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have not been even been charged, let alone convicted of a crime, but whose tissue samples and data are being retained indefinitely.

Have the mainstream media already forgotten that the notorious former Home Secretary David Blunkett used his inside knowledge of NuLabour's plans and of civil service contacts, to try to invest in a DNA testing laboratory company, which lead to his second resignation as a Cabinet Minister ?

Yet again, the mainstream media seem to have been baffled by the statistics about the processed DNA "fingerprint" database entries, and to have forgotten about the retention of actual human tissue samples as well, which could easily be re-tested with more sophisticated DNA techniques in the future, to reveal paternity or medical data

Such retained tissue samples could also be analysed using other genetic techniques which yield essentially similar information, i.e.enough to distinguish one individual from another or to prove their familial links, e.g. RNA analysis or Chromosome analysis. None of these other existing or future genetic techniques are regulated by the Human Tissue Act 2004 which only mentions DNA

LGC, one of the main privatised forensic laboratory subcontractors to the Forensic Science Service were caught retaining human tissue samples which should have been destroyed.

More National DNA Database controversy - is the Human Tissue Agency investigating ?

Incredibly, this evil expansion of the DNA database idea has been praised by Conor Gearty, a supposedly distinguished human rights law academic, who seems to have been nobbled by the unelected Prime Minister Gordon Brown's vague promises that he is not exactly like Tony Blair, but without the charisma.
A police state? Crying wolf won't protect civil liberties

There is no evidence whatsoever that "civil libertarians" have any more influence with Gordon Brown than with Tony Blair.

All, of the Labour government's repressive laws and bureaucratic restrictions on our freedom are still in place, under Gordon Brown, and even more freedom destroying legislation has been promised.

We welcome proper, technically informed public and parliamentary debate on these issues, but so far, there has been very little of it.


There is no more comprehensive piece of information about a person than their DNA sequence, and as you've pointed out information collected for one purpose is often used for others. One big worry would be that DNA profiles would be sold to insurance companies or employers, giving them unprecedented access to the genetic indicators of a person's likely present and future state of health. In that case you would soon end up in a society divided along genetic lines, as depicted in films such as GATTACA.

@ Bob - genetic data, of which DNA analysis is only one of several possible techniques has privacy and security issues not just for individuals, but for their brothers and sisters, with whom they at least share 50% of their genetic data (more if they are identical twins).

This Government has already arrested and prosecuted people for "thought crimes", involving the relatives of terrorist suspects, forcing them to hand over DNA samples, which were then sent to a foreign country.

Are you your Brother's Keeper ? DNA and email guilt by association

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