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Judge Says, Record DNA of Everyone In the UK 403

Posted by kdawson
from the all-in-it-together dept.
Many readers informed us about the opinion of Lord Justice Sedley, a senior UK Appeal Court judge, who said that everyone in the UK should have their DNA recorded in the national database — including visitors. Reader ChiefGeneralManager writes, "Sedley calls the current database 'indefensible' because it contains a hodge-podge mix of people, including children and those who have been in contact with the police. His view is that we should make it compulsory for all DNA to be recorded to remove this anomaly. The UK Information Commissioner has expressed some concerns, but not dismissed the idea outright." And reader john.wingfield adds, "Just under two weeks ago, the Independent reported that the Government has admitted that an eighth of all records on the DNA database are false, misspelled, or incorrect — over half a million records. This raises the possibility of a breach of the 4th data protection principle of the Data Protection Act 1998: 'Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.'"
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Judge Says, Record DNA of Everyone In the UK

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  • by javilon (99157) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:47AM (#20477745) Homepage
    You don't need an identity card when you have stored a sample of everyone's dna and dna analysis becomes very cheap, a la Gattacca.

    This is what expects us.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ComradeSnarky (900400)
      I doubt extracting DNA and comparing it against a central database will become as fast as examining an identity card anytime in the near future.
      • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:01AM (#20477907) Homepage Journal
        Then compare core samples through the brain.

        Nothing wrong with that, and if you use a bore small enough people won't notice.
      • by Potor (658520) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {1rekraf}> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:57AM (#20478741) Journal

        I doubt extracting DNA and comparing it against a central database will become as fast as examining an identity card anytime in the near future.

        That does not matter. If these loose words of the judge are ever put into law (unlikely, but given surveillance-mad Britain, who know...), this proposal would force every Briton - and visitor - to prove his or her innocence for every crime in the future. That will take time, but UK authorities don't care about that. Their abstract view of justice (catching criminals) has blinded them to the liberality upon which Western justice is based.

        Speed be damned. This is about the slow constriction of society.

        I already avoid traveling to America; now, perhaps I will need to avoid the UK as well. Although not perfect, at the least the EU has its privacy directive [google.com].

        • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @10:11AM (#20479833) Homepage
          this proposal would force every Briton - and visitor - to prove his or her innocence for every crime in the future

          I apologize, I haven't had my morning coffee yet, but I don't understand. DNA samples tend to clear innocent suspects, not falsely implicate them. In the US numerous people suffering from false imprisonment, DNA tests were not available at the time of their trial, have been released as they managed to get DNA tests performed. Thank goodness for long term preservation of evidence.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I live across the pond, but my main grief with something like this is the way it would be used/abused. Once the data is somewhere, it's only a small step to expand its uses. Yes, DNA evidence is great for crime fighting and with it you can help exclude suspects or arrest criminals. But fortunately only a small percentage of the population has been arrested, so the current data storage isn't so massive. But what happens when this goes from 2% of the population to 100%?

            Unlike fingerprints, which serve as
            • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:30AM (#20481109) Homepage
              Once everyone's DNA is indexed somewhere then it opens up a can of worms. It's inevitable that at some point it will be misused. Perhaps it's opened up for other uses (Insurance companies, public domain, etc) or maybe someone just gets access to the data.

              In the US, since the 1970s, government agencies have been restricted in terms of what information they can collect and what they can share even amongst each other and subcontractors. Since then privacy rules have become even more restrictive, in particular with respect to medical information.

              The insurance company screening argument is a red herring to a degree. They could collect a DNA sample as part of a mandatory physical. Unless such profiling is outlawed, it will happen regardless of whether or not there is a national DNA database.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by ASBands (1087159)

                It didn't matter how much I lied on my resumè. My real resumè was in my cells. Of course, it's illegal to discriminate based on genetics - it's called genoism, but nobody follows the laws. They could take a sample from the doorknob, hair or even the saliva on my envelope. If in doubt, a legal drug test can easily turn into an illegal peek at my future in the company.
                -Gattaca (not 100% exact, but the idea is there)
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              IANAMG (I am not a molecular geneticist) but I've taken an undergraduate module in genetics. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the identifying information used in police databases of DNA does not contain the complete genetic code of the individual, only samples of where it tends to vary the most between individuals. Because of this, I don't THINK the data would be kept in such a way that would allow it to be analyzed to find anything except for a genetic match with a sample or to determine
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by rtb61 (674572)
                The biggest problem with the whole concept is a excessive reliance on DNA evidence. When will they start supplying airtight suits so that you can ensure none of your cells are pilfered to be planted and then used in evidence against you or even transported accidentally by random contact with the true perpetrator. Every dead skin cell, every lost hair, every spit, each time you blow your nose, every stool and even taking a leak, all represent a moment where others can gain access to evidence that in the curr
          • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @10:46AM (#20480365)
            Like all other evidence DNA can either convict people unfairly or free innocent people. It's all down to interpretation. First off not all DNA testing is done to the level where a specific individual can be positively identified, they generally pick N locations and compare the suspect to the sample and state that this combination of markers at these location are likely to occur in X percent of the population. The main reason this kind of testing is done is that it is MUCH quicker and quite a bit cheaper than a full genome workup. Second, just because your DNA is present does not mean you committed a crime, simply that it is likely you were present (your DNA can be planted or incidentally transfered). Also lack of DNA evidence does not mean you are innocent, only that you did not leave any detectable evidence behind.
    • by Aokubidaikon (942336) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:02AM (#20477939) Homepage
      This is what expects us.

      What you say !!
      You have no chance to survive make your time.
  • Pennies (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:47AM (#20477747) Homepage
    I thought this was done already. Which is why they keep pennies in circulation...
  • Oh, sure. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:48AM (#20477765) Homepage Journal
    Why not? In the U.S., don't we already record fingerprints at birth? Let's just all do this.

    If you're against this, you probably have something to hide and you should be prosecuted anyway. If you didn't do anything wrong, you have nothing to hide, so why you should care? After all, we need to be protected from the terrorists!

    You can't be against this, because it will protect the children. After all, if we have their DNA and they're kidnapped, we'll be able to find them quicker. Will someone please think of the children?

    *sigh*

    I'm moving to a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific to start my own country. Anyone care to join me?
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:53AM (#20477821) Journal
      I'm moving to a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific to start my own country. Anyone care to join me?

      Only if your country has mandatory DNA recordings. I want to be protected from the terrorists.
    • I'm moving to a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific to start my own country. Anyone care to join me?

      As a Englishman, that sounds like a good idea.

      Regards
      elFarto
    • I'm moving to a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific to start my own country. Anyone care to join me?

      What are your breasts like?
      • "I'm moving to a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific to start my own country. Anyone care to join me?"

        What are your breasts like?


        I'd add are you a woman? I really don't care about a man's c-cups.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sandbags (964742)
      For all the people who scream "This is an invasion of privacy!" this is only one field in a database they ALREADY keep about you.

      The government (in the USA anyway) has at LEAST the following: Your full name, birth record, race, eye color, hair color, parents names and IDs, your social security number, address, drivers license number, license plate, vehicle VIN number, vehicle registration number, insurance information, bank account numbers, credit account history, mortgage information, phone number (if you
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @09:32AM (#20479293) Homepage Journal

        The government (in the USA anyway) has at LEAST the following: Your full name, birth record, race, eye color, hair color, parents names and IDs, your social security number, address, drivers license number, license plate, vehicle VIN number, vehicle registration number, insurance information, bank account numbers, credit account history, mortgage information, phone number (if you have ever included it on a form or called them from home, but they can get it on request anyway if you haven't), tax history, employer name(s), payroll information, fingerprints (from birth, typically elementary school age in most states, and adulthood if you've ever been to a police station or filed them voluntarily), your dental records and medical records (by request of a judge or coroner), military ID and rank (if any), and the list goes on.
        You act as if the government is a single, monolithic entity. It's not.

        "The Government" is a hodgepodge of agencies with mutually contradictory goals and aims, most of whom would sooner throw rocks at each other than cooperate. This is, perversely, a good thing.

        Why? Because although "the government" may know a lot about you, it doesn't know all of that in any one place. There's no single database -- yet -- where you can sit down, CSI-style, and bring up any citizen's dossier. Your local police department knows your name, address, and how many parking tickets you've gotten this year, but they don't have access to your tax information from the IRS. (And the IRS is actually pretty snarky about not sharing information casually; if I had a dime for every time one of my LEO buddies bitched about the IRS making them jump through hoops, I'd be a rich man. I guess there's honor among thieves or something.)

        This is the way the system is supposed to work. (Well, I'd like to see the size of the bureaucracy cut down dramatically, but that's a different topic.) In order for the bureaucracy to function, it needs to know a certain amount about you. But different agencies need to know different things. As long as the data is kept compartmentalized -- as it is, in large part, today; owing less to design than simply because it's a really hard problem to correlate it all -- it's not a mortal threat to privacy.

        It's when you start to get all that information put into a single database, and where there's a natural primary key that allows the database to be easily searched and information to be linked (why do people get paranoid about SSNs? Because they're the obvious choice for a primary key), that you start to get really Orwellian. With minor exceptions, we don't have anything like that in the U.S., although there are a lot of people trying.
      • Re:Oh, sure. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Chatterton (228704) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @09:42AM (#20479395) Homepage
        'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

        Abstract:
        In this short essay, written for a symposium in the San Diego Law Review, Professor Daniel Solove examines the nothing to hide argument. When asked about government surveillance and data mining, many people respond by declaring: I've got nothing to hide. According to the nothing to hide argument, there is no threat to privacy unless the government uncovers unlawful activity, in which case a person has no legitimate justification to claim that it remain private. The nothing to hide argument and its variants are quite prevalent, and thus are worth addressing. In this essay, Solove critiques the nothing to hide argument and exposes its faulty underpinnings.

        I've Got Nothing to Hide [ssrn.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by VJ42 (860241) *

        F The government (in the USA anyway) has at LEAST the following: Your full name, birth record, race, eye color, hair color, parents names and IDs, your social security number, address, drivers license number, license plate, vehicle VIN number, vehicle registration number, insurance information, bank account numbers, credit account history, mortgage information, phone number (if you have ever included it on a form or called them from home, but they can get it on request anyway if you haven't), tax history, employer name(s), payroll information, fingerprints (from birth, typically elementary school age in most states, and adulthood if you've ever been to a police station or filed them voluntarily), your dental records and medical records (by request of a judge or coroner), military ID and rank (if any), and the list goes on.

        Fingerprints are not kept by the UK government unless you've ever been suspected of a crime, and taken down to the local cop shop (I live in the UK, one reason I'm boycotting travel to the USA is because they want my prints; my own government doesn't even have them, why should I give it to a foreign one). Well that was true until this year anyway now they also take them if you want a new passport (aledgely to harmonise biometrics with other countries; in reality the only country demanding this is the USA,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Horus1664 (692411)
      I'm sorry, why is this post mod'd up to '4' 'Interesting' ???

      The possible problems with this idea are many and varied. We must trust our government to both record the data properly and use it wisely.

      Who has not had some simple error made by our devoted public servants cause them hassle ? It may only be a minor problem regarding non-payment of some local government bill, or perhaps some misunderstanding over refuse collection. Once such sensitive information as DNA is regarded as 'routine' it will be tre

    • Re:Oh, sure. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dausha (546002) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @09:06AM (#20478861) Homepage
      "Why not? In the U.S., don't we already record fingerprints at birth?"

      Nope. Having had a few kids, I have never seen them fingerprinted at birth. The Hospital takes a footprint at birth to make sure the mother walks out with the same baby she walked in with. However, that information is not transmitted to law enforcement. The US of A does not record fingerprints at birth like you think.
  • by stevedcc (1000313) * on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:51AM (#20477793)

    "We have a situation where if you happen to have been in the hands of the police then your DNA is on permanent record. If you haven't, it isn't. It means where there is ethnic profiling going on disproportionate numbers of ethnic minorities get onto the database."

    I interpret this as 'because the police are arresting a disproprtionately high proportion of ethnic minorities and the contents of the DNA database reveals this, we should just profile everybody so that the apparent discrimination disappears'. Maybe they should try dealing with the apparent racism and/or social inequality rather than brushing it under the carpet?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PinkyDead (862370)
      To paraphrase a common /. paradigm:

      1. Identify social inequality
      2. ??
      3. Social inequality resolved
      • by srmalloy (263556) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @09:24AM (#20479169) Homepage
        I am reminded of the offhand reference in Robert Heinlein's novel Friday that the California Republic, having determined that citizens with a bachelor's degree earned, on average, 40% more than citizens without such a degree, passed legislation awarding each citizen a bachelor's degree when they reached 18, thereby eliminating this shocking social inequity.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      Maybe they should look into the cause of the disproportionate numbers?
      • by starrsoft (745524) * on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:19AM (#20478151) Homepage

        Maybe they should look into the cause of the disproportionate numbers?


        Yeah, like maybe more ethnic minorities are committing more crimes?

        All races have equal worth. All cultures/socioeconomic structures do not. Call me politically incorrect, but Thai culture is far better than Cannibal culture.

        The crime disparity is not racial, it's cultural/socioeconomic. Whites who follow an inner-city culture have just as high crime rates.
    • by faloi (738831)
      Maybe they should try dealing with the apparent racism and/or social inequality rather than brushing it under the carpet?

      But this is the UK. I'm constantly told there is no racial inequality, and there is no gun crime. The only logical solution is to force everyone to give DNA samples!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iainl (136759)
      The current status is that there are all manner of ways to get on the database without actually committing a crime. You can be arrested but not charged, you can be charged but subsequently found innocent, you can have your DNA "voluntarily" taken for all sorts of wide-sweeping investigations and so on. You can even have your DNA taken for elimination purposes as the victim of a crime.

      The law, and indeed common sense, says that if you're not convicted of a crime, you shouldn't be treated like you've performe
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Or perhaps its not "disproportionate" and ethnic minorities really do have a higher percentage of criminals.

      Just because you feel guilty for the acts of your ancestors doesn't make your biased assumptions accurate.
  • Not only does this help the UK achieve zero population growth, it also keeps meddling foreigners out of the country...
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:53AM (#20477815) Journal
    WHO'S ON THE DATABASE?

    5.2% of UK population
    Nearly 40% of black men
    13% of Asian men
    9% of white men
    Source: Home Office and Census


    Enuff said. When the remaining 91% are going to be DNA recorded, they start squirming. Majority of ethnic minorities kept quiet and bore it all....
    • by CKW (409971)
      How the HELL do you get over 10% of the entire male population "criminalized" enough that they are forced to give up a DNA sample?

      Do they take dna in the UK for speeding tickets and late library books?

      WTF?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:56AM (#20477855)
    Delete the database.
  • I suggest, why bother keeping names at all if mispellings are such a hardship...

    let me walk into the "******" ministry and identify my self with a cell sample.. it's just so much easier then!

    • by bhima (46039)
      As long as I can walk into the ministry of whatever and identify myself with a freshly produced stool sample I down with it
  • 'visitors DNA' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:00AM (#20477897)
    A lot of people stated they would refuse to vacation in the States anymore because of the fingerprinting at Customs. This is far, far worse.
    • It's already far, far more painful to simply change planes at Heathrow than it is to fly domestically in the US - which isn't any picnic, either.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by locokamil (850008)
        That's because Heathrow is a dog's breakfast at the moment. Changing terminals is painful because it's congested, not because of customs impediments thrown up by the government. I regularly fly between the US and the UK, and it's hilarious how different customs experiences are in the different countries:

        US: I have a sketchy muslim name, so I invariably get corralled into a side room, fingerprinted, "registered" and interviewed. If it takes less than 2 hours to complete this process, I consider myself fortu
    • You'd also have to consider there could be a lot of good reasons to spend some vacation in the USA (national parks, good beaches, Disneyworld, Graceland... the list goes on and nearly anyone could find something he likes), but since the british prefer to spend their vacation in France or Spain, why should go there in the first place?
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Who the hell vacations in the US, anyway?

      We are known for the abundance of wealth, belligerence, and fat people, not so much things to see and nice places to relax.
  • Backwards Logic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:00AM (#20477899) Journal
    Okay, I can see that the current situation of including people who aren't convicted of a crime is unfair, but to suggest that the only possible solution is to treat everyone as if they have convicted a crime?!
    How about we stop adding people to the database so easily in the first place.

    I also love that for once, it's a judge proposing authoritarian measures, and Labour who are opposing it: A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said to expand the database would create "huge logistical and bureaucratic issues" and civil liberty concerns.

    (For non-UK readers, Labour being the Government that have repeatedly brought in authoritarian measures, and plan bureaucratic nightmares like the national ID card scheme, ignoring any civil liberty concerns...)

    Only a tiny sample of saliva, blood, semen

    Hmm, if we are forced to all turn up to have our DNA taken, can we choose to spit, bleed or er ... at them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by David Off (101038)
      > A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said to expand the database would create "huge logistical and bureaucratic issues" and civil liberty concerns.

      To translate this for you "we only plan to introduce compulsory DNA testing after we have won the next general election"
    • It's more likely that Labour have put this judge up to saying this so they can then say:

      "Oh no, what a horrible plan - we stand firmly against such draconian measures which undermine civil liberties to such an extent. Which is why our marvellous ID card scheme, and the strictly limited and carefully controlled extensions we will propose to the current DNA scheme have none of those problems."
      • by Nimey (114278)
        You can't out-cynical reality.

        Your supposition wouldn't surprise me in the least.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      the only possible solution is to treat everyone as if they have convicted a crime?!

            Everyone HAS committed some form of crime at some time or other. Just not everyone has been caught.
  • I hope someone else can adequately express my incredulity and disgust with this. Words are failing me right now. Hopefully Shami from Liberty and any decent MPs will have a few things to say about this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Chrisq (894406)
      I think that the biggest affect would be the social changes. It is well known that for £50 you can get a car license plate traced, even though only the police are supposed to have access. How many people will be tempted to "just check" their paternity and get a surprise? We already have a principle that adopted children have the right to know and contact their natural parents. It won't be long before this right is extended to children of mothers who "don't know" who the father is, plus those discovere
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RegularFry (137639)
      This guy's not an idiot. He must know that if a universal DNA database was brought online, not only would it cost a *huge* amount to implement, but convictions would skyrocket. We're already out of prison space, so I think he's putting this forward as an option purely for the backlash it will cause. In the light of this suggestion, it becomes politically feasible to legislate for fewer imprisonable offences (for example), and it shows the people who already are arguing for more sensible management of the
  • England & Wales only (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In Scotland, DNA is only kept on record if you are convicted. If not, any DNA taken must be destroyed. This new (and insanely stupid) idea has already been rejected http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6979451.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      In Scotland, DNA is only kept on record if you are convicted. If not, any DNA taken must be destroyed. This new (and insanely stupid) idea has already been rejected

      Scotland should finally do what it's been talking about for a long time and secede. Maybe even join with Ireland for a mutual protection pact against the British aggression that has been practiced over the last 500+ years. I don't like where the UK is heading, and it's finally time for the K to no longer be U.

      -b.

  • And when everyone is a potential criminal.... NO ONE WILL BE! muhahaha. (sto.. adapted from Syndrome in the Incredibles)

    I wonder how you would check whether the record of your DNA is up-to-date and correct. I certainly can't remember all my chromosomes.

    Imagine "others" (read: companies) getting their hands on this database. Insurance companies will be thrilled to correlate the chromosomes to your likelihood of requiring said insurance.

    B.
  • by Loosifur (954968) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:06AM (#20477983)
    I'm not real familiar with the way the British courts work, but I know that in the US a tactic sometimes used by judges that want a law overturned is to simply enforce the letter of the law. The idea is that the law itself is so flawed that by enforcing it strictly and literally it becomes evident that the law should be changed. Similar thing happened recently where some congressmen tried to reinstitute the draft, the reasoning being that if it's important enough for US soldiers to fight and die in Iraq, then it's important enough for every eligible US citizen to join up. Of course, and this was their point, if it's not that important, then we shouldn't be there. Maybe this judge is making the same point about DNA profiling: either everyone has to be on record, which would raise some serious privacy and legal issues, or no DNA records are kept at all because there isn't a fair way to do it.
    • by bhima (46039)
      Given that 1/8th is wrong in some way I was thinkng the same thing.

      And I think it does point out how stupid it is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Znork (31774)
      "The idea is that the law itself is so flawed that by enforcing it strictly and literally it becomes evident that the law should be changed."

      Indeed. The value and accuracy of a DNA database decreases with size as the number of false hits and prevalence of simply mislabeled and misidentified samples increases. With a whole-population database you'd start dragging provably innocent people into court in the range of thousands or tens of thousands per year. This already happens; in the UK, a man with advanced P
  • This will be a bonanza for lawyers, when people like me fight it every step of the way.

    I'm sure this Sedley bloke hasn't been influenced by the prospect of ££££s for his chums.
    • Assuming UKG do this, I'm offering a prize of £10,000 for the first person to liberate a significant proportion of the data stored in this database, so I can give it to the press. I'll repeat this offer using my real name if it happens.

      This offer won't make any hacker break the law, because they will be able to get 100 times as much from insurance companies and credit reference agencies, but hopefully it will make it more likely that leaks become public.
  • Human rights court (Score:3, Informative)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:15AM (#20478085)
    If they do try to put this motion in place then it is time to appeal to the European court of human rights. They have bitch-slapped governments for authoritarian crap before and they can do it again. If that doesn't work then it is time to take to the streets. Identity cards, detentions without trial, and now this, things have gone too far...
  • DNA from visitors? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fotbr (855184) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:15AM (#20478095) Journal
    Fine. Just don't expect me to visit.

    Besides, Paris has better airshows, and Germany, Spain, and Italy all have better F1 races. Guess I'll take my tourist dollars there instead.
    • Exactly the reason I won't visit the US now - fingerprinting us at the border, passing all my details to the US .gov while I'm flying there.... no way.
  • So what do they do if you decline to provide a DNA sample?
  • Chimeras (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kilonad (157396) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:17AM (#20478131)
    What about chimeras - people who have two different sets of DNA in the same body? They allegedly make up a small but not insignificant fraction of the population. How will the system deal with them?
    • by Laebshade (643478)
      Surely you jest, but your question brings to mind another one: what about two people with identical DNA (identical twins)?
  • The British Institute of Human Rights should be lobbying the government to reject this proposal, I suggest contacting their president, Sir Stephen Sedley [bihr.org] to point this out.
  • by chill (34294) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:22AM (#20478193) Journal
    If they could get some of the Page 3 Girls [wikipedia.org] to creatively accept "DNA samples", this might work.

    If not, could someone please post when this is actually put into force? It'll make my future travel plans easier if I can strike one more country off my list of places to visit.
  • Tourism in England (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fallen1 (230220) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:32AM (#20478327) Homepage
    will vanish, for the most part, if it requires giving a DNA sample to visit the country. This is not only intrusive, it is vile and disturbing on more levels than I care to go into this early in the morning. I, for one, would never visit the country if DNA sampling was required to enter.

    And let's go ahead and give a rest to that tired old bullshit about "If you have nothing to hide then..." Everyone has something they want hidden, even if they won't admit it. My argument is that, regardless of if I have something to hide or not, I _DO NOT TRUST ANY GOVERNMENT IN THIS WORLD_ with my DNA on file and for them to "protect" it while "only using it to solve crimes". Virtually all things that have been expressed in this manner are then perverted for some other use, above and beyond what the stated intent was. Someone in power will eventually decide they can use the database for other "good" and seek to extend their reach further and further into the homes and lives of all people - the criminal AND, especially, the INNOCENT.

    I, for one, hope that the people of the United Kingdom will stand up against this complete and utter invasion of their lives and take back some control of the information that is connected to them. I also hope that the people of the United States and other countries (Australia, Canada, and many others) also stand up and take back control, because those so-called free countries many of us are living in are looking more and more like they're creeping into fascism and/or totalitarian or police states.

    We must dissent.

    (Kudos to all those who get the reference in my last line :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by a.ameri (665846)
      Nope, tourism in Britain won't die because, even if this madness came to pass as law (which it wouldn't), the European Court of Justice will throw it right out of the window as it runs against a fundamental EU notion of free movement of people and goods.

      Now, go on you eurosceptics Brits and hate the EU some more...while all it does is create more checks and balances so that crazy stuff like this happen less often.
  • by nurb432 (527695)
    I feel so much safer now!

    Phfft. You can forget me ever visiting the UK and spending my vacation dollars.
  • ... you pretty much give DNA samples for free anywhere you go in public... Hair loss, epithelials, urine, feces, etc.... If you go through customs and touch anything your already giving them a sample. This is more about a database that can assist in retrieving records to quickly assist those that need information with it.

    DNA has also been used to clear individuals as well. In the case of the criminal justice system, many individuals (with criminal records) are cleared already due to DNA samples on hand
    • DNA has also been used to clear individuals as well. In the case of the criminal justice system, many individuals (with criminal records) are cleared already due to DNA samples on hand not matching a particular case.

      It is very good that DNA can be used to help clear innocent people accused of being criminals. However, if the police already has a DNA sample from the crime scene and a person is accused of being the criminal, and such person can always give their DNA to the police for testing. A database of DNA samples for helping clearing innocents is not needed at all, I think. You have the DNA sample from the crime scene, you have the accused person in front of you, what else do you need? How could a database help

    • DNA has also been used to clear individuals as well. In the case of the criminal justice system, many individuals (with criminal records) are cleared already due to DNA samples on hand not matching a particular case.

      In the event that I am arrested and a DNA sample is needed to prove my innocence, the authorities and my legal representation may take the sample at that time. In any other circumstance, anyone requesting a DNA sample from me will get a resounding go fuck yourself!
  • Tell you what judge...if you believe this is necessary, how about having you and your family be the first to submit their DNA to the database?
  • by wikinerd (809585) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @08:41AM (#20478453) Journal

    Unfortunately a criminal can very easily hide their DNA by injecting foreign blood into their circulatory system. It has been done, according to Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org]: Dr. John Schneeberger of Canada raped one of his sedated patients in 1992 and left semen on her underwear. Police drew Schneeberger's blood and compared its DNA against the crime scene semen DNA on three occasions, never showing a match. It turned out that he had surgically inserted a Penrose drain into his arm and filled it with foreign blood and anticoagulants.

    This means that criminals have a way to bypass DNA checks and hide their identity. It's harder than making a fake ID card, but it's still relatively easy. Therefore, a national universal DNA database would not help to catch the smartest (and probably most dangerous) of the criminals. It could help to catch a few stupid or clueless criminals, but these are not too dangerous compared to the smarter ones.

    Therefore DNA evidence is not the final answer to whether a person is guilty. It can contribute to an investigation, but no one must base a decision solely on DNA identification. With this in mind, the ROI of a massive universal national DNA database may be much lower than this judge thinks.

  • As a citizen of the US, I am already displeased with the erosion of civil liberties for the sake of security.

    Two of our greatest statesmen (Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, respectively) have said the following:

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. ... I believe that banking instituti
  • Make sure to engage in oral sex with a member of the appropriate gender on the flight over (for visitors). Fight the power, corrupt the samples, have fun while doing so!

    -b.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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