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Human Rights Court Calls UK DNA Database a 'Breach of Rights'

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the could-have-saved-them-some-time dept.

Privacy 206

psmears writes "Describing a judgment that is likely to rein in the scope of the UK DNA database, where at present the DNA of those arrested by the police is kept permanently (even if the people concerned are never convicted, or even charged), the BBC reports that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that keeping such people's DNA in the database 'could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.'" Reader megla adds a link to the full text of the judgement.

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Figures... (5, Insightful)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993889)

where at present the DNA of those arrested by the police is kept permanently (even if the people concerned are never convicted, or even charged)

I'm pretty sure they already do this in the US with fingerprints. No conviction? Well, if we find your fingerprints at any crime scene in the future, you're gonna get it.

Re:Figures... (5, Insightful)

BearGrylls (1388063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993957)

Unlike fingerprints your DNA can also be used to partially identify relatives as well. Law enforcement could use this to make partial dna matches to a person that would otherwise not be in the system if a relative already was.

Re:Figures... (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994165)

When did the ability to obfuscate the truth about things and operate from the shadows become an important part of democracy?

Democracy relies on people having access to as much information as possible so they can make wise decisions. Privacy is contrary to democracy.

Re:Figures... (2, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994263)

Its an important part of "maintaining democracy" rather than so much of a part of it. The forces of power and greed will always migrate towards a fascist dictator or ruling class. The US is on it's way to being a democratically elected Social-Fascist society. Operating in the shadows is the only way to avoid this.

Re:Figures... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994265)

So you'll happily post your bank account number and PIN code, then? How about your Social Security number and real name (and if not a US Citizen, similar ID)?

Privacy may or may not be "contrary to democracy", but it is essential to any civilized society. I seriously do not want or need to know how often you do anything sexual and in what ways. I also have zero interest or need to know your bank account access details, what kind of food you eat or may be allergic to, or any other detail that is usually private for that matter.

That's the thing - there's a huge difference between information that is in the Public Interest (e.g. criminal records, court proceedings, Deeds and property abstracts, etc), and stuff that only you know about and would prefer to not spread around.

/P

Re:Figures... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994665)

You and I may not want to know these things ... but someone with an axe to grind might find that information very "useful"...

Re:Figures... (4, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994273)

Democracy relies on people having access to as much information as possible so they can make wise decisions. Privacy is contrary to democracy.

A bold but vague statement.

Access to information is good, but it should be relevant information. A lot of private information is irrelevant to participation in a democracy.

Re:Figures... (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994509)

Democracy relies on people having access to as much information as possible so they can make wise decisions.

I think you're confusing democracy with capitalism. Capitalism requires the public to have as much information as possible about products and organizations. Democracy requires the government to have only as much information about its citizens as are necessary. As others are pointing out, privacy is necessary to avoid tyranny.

Not quite. (0)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994993)

Capitalism requires the public to have as much information as possible about products and organizations.

Not really, because a free market also requires competition, which often requires that organizations keep trade secrets. In a free market economy, the cost of developing new techniques to bring superior goods or services to the market, or reducing the cost of existing ones, can only be justified if the resulting information can either be kept from would-be competitors (trade secrets), or the competitors barred from using it (patents, copyrights).

Basically, for a given good or service, there is a lot of information that's not relevant to the potential buyer's choice, and a lot of this information is of enormous value to the producer.

Re:Figures... (3, Insightful)

joewhyit (1311009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994561)

Sorry, thought you got the memo. Apathy and complacency on the part of the masses has allowed for the replacement of true democracy with a hollow, farcical version of the same.

Note to self: trademark the term "Democracy Theatre".

Re:Figures... (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994571)

When did the ability to obfuscate the truth about things and operate from the shadows become an important part of democracy?

At, or at least not later than, the time the secret ballot became an important part of democracy.

Democrats attempting to repeal secret ballot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25995601)

How do square this with the Democrats attempt to repeal the use of the secret ballot for union organizing (a.k.a. card check).
Under a plan Democrats plan to pass in the next Congress, you will no longer have a right to a secret ballot when determining if your workplace should unionize.
The union organizers will be able to come up to your door (of your house, where your family lives) and badger you to sign the union documents. No private pressure free deliberations for you.

So, explain to me how Democrats respect democracy.

Re:Figures... (4, Insightful)

Smauler (915644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994765)

I'm not sure where you live, but Secret Ballots [wikipedia.org] are part of just about every western democracy. That's right, privacy is pretty much integral to all modern democracies.

Re:Figures... (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995201)

When did the ability to obfuscate the truth about things and operate from the shadows become an important part of democracy?
Democracy relies on people having access to as much information as possible so they can make wise decisions. Privacy is contrary to democracy.

Why is parent marked as Flamebait? I think people may be misinterpreting what he says. I think by people having access to information he means the people of the nation, not the public servants. As in the government being transparent to the people - not the retard overloards knowing everything they can about their subjects.

I just want to say real quickly, thank whomever! This decision is hopefully one of many that can try to correct the bad decisions we the people have been enduring under our respective governments. The costs we bear for these programs is not justifiable.

Re:Figures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994779)

s/could/do

Re:Figures... (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995275)

In fact this has been tried by law enforcement here in the United States at least once and just recently. They were attempting to identify a suspect in a recent string of serial murders by analyzing partial dna matches to possible relatives. They were unsuccessful this time for technical reasons, but that does not dismiss the possibility that they can and will use this technique again in the future so the ethical questions remain. The article (Los Angeles Times) is here [latimes.com] for those interested in the details.

Re:Figures... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994047)

Of course they do it -- if it calls for spending, it's good for the business of government. It doesn't matter that most arrests in such "civilized" nations are for victimless crimes like drug offenses. If it pulls more revenue through the business of government, it makes the business of government more lucrative for those at the top of the power pyramid.

If history is any indication, the goal of government is revenue, not justice. Control and power over the people isn't necessarily a goal in itself, but more of a stepping stone to more revenue.

Re:Figures... (4, Interesting)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995507)

I've been told that in Michigan if you are not convicted you can file to have your fingerprints pulled from the database. I don't know how it works elsewhere.

Re:Figures... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995589)

I'm pretty sure they already do this in the US with fingerprints. No conviction? Well, if we find your fingerprints at any crime scene in the future, you're gonna get it.

In California at least, they get your thumbprint at the DMV (the DMV is also used to provide California Identification Cards to non-drivers). And this reasoning kind of makes sense, by the time you're finished waiting in line at the DMV, you already feel like a criminal, so they might as well get your thumbprint while they're at it.

This self-booking requirement just seems like a good preemptive move to me. After all, I may trust myself, but I don't trust any of you guys.

Privacy (3, Insightful)

Justin Hopewell (1260242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993905)

As bad as privacy rights get trampled here in the states, I'm so very glad I don't live in the UK.

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25995629)

Yes, but you'll hate the British people as if they have any real control over the State that produces laws like this.

Read the US Declaration of Independence again in light of this. You might be surprised.

My complaint about the committee that approves all (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993907)

I feel compelled to preface my remarks with the following: Phlegmatic cockalorums thrive on hatred rather than love. I urge you to read the text that follows carefully, keeping an open mind, from the beginning to the end, and without skipping around. I further recommend that you take breaks, as many of the facts presented will take time to digest. The biggest supporters of the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's rebarbative wisecracks are irascible miscreants and grotesque tightwads. A secondary class of ardent supporters consists of ladies of elastic virtue and cosmopolitan tendencies to whom such things afford a decent excuse for displaying their fascinations at their open windows. The committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's whole existence is a succession of shifts, excuses, and expedients. Yet I've never bothered the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot. Yet the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot wants to consign most of us to the role of its servants or slaves. Whatever happened to "live and let live"?

Once people obtain the critical skills that enable them to think and reflect and speculate independently, they'll realize that while the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot insists that its pranks provide a liberating insight into life, the universe, and everything, reality dictates otherwise. Actually, if you want a real dose of reality, look at how it's doubtlessly a tragedy that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's goal in life is apparently to muzzle its critics. Here, I use the word "tragedy" as the philosopher Whitehead used it. Whitehead stated that "the essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things," which I interpret as saying that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's plan is to make empty promises. The committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's adulators are moving at a frightening pace toward the total implementation of that agenda, which includes giving rise to horny leeches.

We must learn to celebrate our diversity, not because it is the politically correct thing to do but because if I am correctly informed, most of what it says is pure gibberish. In any case, according to the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot, its diatribes will spread enlightenment to the masses, nurture democracy, reestablish the bonds of community, bring us closer to God, and generally work to the betterment of Man and society. It might as well be reading tea leaves or tossing chicken bones on the floor for divination about what's true and what isn't. Maybe then the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot would realize that if you think about it you'll see that its impulsive, paltry musings are merely a distraction. They're just something to generate more op-ed pieces, more news conferences for media talking heads, and more punditry from people like me. Meanwhile, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's co-conspirators are continuing their quiet work of advancing the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's real goal, which is to ensure that all of the news we receive is filtered through a narrow ideological prism. My message is clear: The committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot is firmly convinced that the Universe belongs to it by right. Its belief is controverted, however, by the weight of the evidence indicating that if the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot had even a shred of intellectual integrity, it'd admit that some people aver that I am annoyed by the unconscionable and sometimes uncompanionable manifestations of rebelliousness against an inherited civilization of which the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's spokesmen do not have the slightest understanding. Others profess that the path down which the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot wants to lead us is empty and bleak. In the interest of clearing up the confusion I'll make the following observation: It's a pity that two thousand years after Christ, the voices of malicious, mendacious rotters like the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot can still be heard, worse still that they're listened to, and worst of all that anyone believes them.

Although the moral absolutist position is well represented by social and political activists and indeed influences legislators and policy makers, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's method (or school, or ideology -- it is hard to know exactly what to call it) goes by the name of "the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot-ism". It is an ill-natured and avowedly pompous philosophy that aims to place wild, foul goofballs at the head of a nationwide kakistocracy. When a friend wants to drive inebriated, you try to stop him. Well, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot is drunk with power, which is why we must even the score.

Trapped by the cognitive dissonance engendered by hard evidence and common sense, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot feels obligated to crush people to the earth and then claim the right to trample on them forever because they are prostrate in a conceited, morally crippled attempt to justify its jeremiads. As sure as you're born, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot likes sound bites that erect a shrine of poststructuralism. Could there be a conflict of interest there? If you were to ask me, I'd say that it claims to have read somewhere that it is a master of precognition, psychokinesis, remote viewing, and other undeveloped human capabilities. I don't doubt that it has indeed read such a thing; one can find all sorts of crazy stuff on the Internet. More reliable sources, however, tend to agree that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's paroxysms are destructive. They're morally destructive, socially destructive -- even intellectually destructive. And, as if that weren't enough, I know some incompetent, hideous energumens who actually believe that stinking, irritable schmucks aren't ever vexatious. Incredible? Those same people have told me that society is supposed to be lenient towards the worst classes of sniffish prophets of Bulverism there are. With such people roaming about, it should come as no surprise to you that the term "idiot savant" comes to mind when thinking of the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot. Admittedly, that term applies only halfway to it, which is why I maintain that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot accuses me of being narrow-minded. Does it warrant I'm narrow-minded because I refuse to accept its claim that neocolonialism is a viable and vital objective for our nation's educational institutions? If so, then I guess I'm as narrow-minded as I could possibly be.

If there is one truth in this world, it's that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot is a proponent of "fetishism" -- a term it uses catachrestically in place of "Maoism". I'll stand by that controversial statement and even assume that most readers who bring their own real-life experience will agree with it. At a bare minimum, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot is locked into its present course of destruction. It does not have the interest or the will to change its fundamentally addlepated activities.

Do you understand the implications of what I have been telling you? Are you awake? Then you probably realize that as long as the beer keeps flowing and the paychecks keep coming, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's attendants don't really care that you may be worried that it will create a the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot-centric society in which ugly misers dictate the populace's values and myths, its traditions and archetypes, in a lustrum or two. If so, then I share your misgivings. But let's not worry about that now. Instead, let's discuss my observation that I fully intend to shed the light of truth on the evil that is the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot. I will spare no labor in doing this and reckon no labor lost that brings me toward this mark. Even so, no one has a higher opinion of the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot than I, and I think the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's a longiloquent scapegrace.

There are few certainties in life. I have counted only three: death, taxes, and the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot announcing some malodorous thing every few weeks. We can quibble about many of the details but we can't quibble about the fundamental fact that we must do what comes naturally. Let's start by informing people that I'm not very conversant with the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's background. To be quite frank, I don't care to be. I already know enough to state with confidence that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's primary goal is to destroy that which is the envy of -- and model for -- the entire civilized world. All of its other objectives are secondary to this one supreme purpose. That's why you must always remember that it is easy to see faults in others. But it takes perseverance to balkanize the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's dastardly terrorist organization into an etiolated and sapless agglomeration.

Sure, the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot talks the talk but does it walk the walk? Any honest person who takes the time to think about that question will be forced to conclude that the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot takes philistinism to bed with it at night and snuggles up to it as if it were a big, fuzzy teddy bear. It vehemently denies that, of course. But it obviously would because it wants to enact new laws forcing anyone who's not one of its apple-polishers to live in an environment that can, at best, be described as contemptuously tolerant. You know what groups have historically wanted to do the same thing? Fascists and Nazis.

The committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot trumpets negligent nativism laced with shallow mysticism. Equally important is the fact that the issues surrounding exhibitionism are more complex and embedded than the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot will admit. That's clear. But the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot alleges that every featherless biped, regardless of intelligence, personal achievement, moral character, sense of responsibility, or sanity, should be given the power to undermine the intellectual purpose of higher education. Naturally, this is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Let me end this letter by challenging my readers to reveal the constant tension between centripetal and centrifugal forces of dialogized heteroglossia resulting from the committee that approves all the AJAX on Slashdot's campaigns of malice and malignity. Are you with me, or with the forces of militarism and oppression?

Re:My complaint about the committee that approves (4, Funny)

potscott (539666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993999)

You lost me at "Phlegmatic cockalorums". Allow me to retort - Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. Then you'll be a mile away, and have his shoes.

The terrorists have won! (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993923)

Well, now whenever someone gets off, they'll bemoan those "damn bleeding heart liberals who let another one get away over their preeeeciiious rights". What nobody on either side of the debate wants to admit is -- you can't have a perfect justice system. No matter how much technology, funding, profiling, science, and everything else you throw at it, it will be flawed. Innocent people will be found guilty, guilty people will get away, and there will always be doubt and speculation.

As a society we have to decide what's more important: Catching as many criminals as possible, or providing a system that is as fair as possible. The two are mutually exclusive -- you either bias towards letting the guilty get away so the innocent are not needlessly punished, or you sacrifice some innocents to "protect the greater good".

The Court here has basically told the UK -- The rights of the many outweigh the sins of the few.

Re:The terrorists have won! (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994135)

Err, you do realize that DNA matching can still be done if someone is still in the process of being tried for a crime, right? You can also keep the lab results of such matching forever... just not the DNA itself.

The ruling only says that you can't keep it forever, not that you can't use whatever DNA you find/get during the process.

/P

Re:The terrorists have won! (2, Insightful)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994183)

Indeed true. Also, terrorists don't win unless you allow them to influence your policymaking process. So stop telling us to give up rights.

(I got my views on terrorism from Laura Roslin)

Re:The terrorists have won! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994319)

I'm not telling you to give up anything.

You sure you didn't accidentally reply to the wrong post?

Re:The terrorists have won! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994315)

Well, if this ruling didn't stand, the following could take place: A person is arrested for sexual assault. As part of the standard procedure, the police take a DNA sample. It doesn't match the victim, and that person is released. Later, another victim comes forward and they run a test on the DNA taken from the assault. This time it does match, and although the victim didn't know the attacker, the attacker is thus arrested. With this ruling, what they're saying now is that this hypothetical person would walk, because the DNA sample would not be in the database.

Re:The terrorists have won! (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994455)

Well, if this ruling didn't stand, the following could take place: A person is arrested for sexual assault. As part of the standard procedure, the police take a DNA sample. It doesn't match the victim, and that person is released. Later, another victim comes forward and they run a test on the DNA taken from the assault. This time it does match, and although the victim didn't know the attacker, the attacker is thus arrested. With this ruling, what they're saying now is that this hypothetical person would walk, because the DNA sample would not be in the database.

Which is true.

Except I don't know (and I'd love to find out) - how many cases have there been where DNA evidence from people who've never been convicted or even charged have been used to successfully solve a crime?

Note I'm explicitly excluding DNA which was kept from people who were later convicted.

Re:The terrorists have won! (4, Insightful)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994821)

> With this ruling, what they're saying now is that this hypothetical person would walk, because the DNA sample would not be in the database.

Yes, the same way his DNA wouldn't be in the database, when he hadn't have been arrested for a crime he didn't commited in the first place.
Or the same way, this hypothetical person walks free, because not all persons are DNA sampled from birth, or have to wear a GPS tagged collar the whole day around.

The point is, a person being arrested, but not convicted, is not guilty. The same way everyone else is.

What does the HR Court say about UK Sharia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994387)

What does the Human Rights Court say about the UK's adoption of Sharia Law as an alternate legal system?
.
.
.
Nothing? Is that silence I hear?
Well, I guess some human rights violations are more equal than others.

Re:What does the HR Court say about UK Sharia? (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994789)

What does the Human Rights Court say about the UK's adoption of Sharia Law as an alternate legal system?

No one has asked them to look at it, so nothing. In fact I can't think of why they would need to look at it since AFAIK it's not part of the law of any signatory to the ECHR

Nothing? Is that silence I hear? Well, I guess some human rights violations are more equal than others.

Nope, the silence you hear is because courts need someone to ask them to pass judgement. If you're so concerned bout this issue, take the relevant parties to court.

Re:The terrorists have won! (3, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994757)

A major problem starting to crop up is that some areas can't afford to keep the people incarcerated as tax income drops and municipalities go bankrupt.

Having 2% of your population incarcerated starts to be a financial drain. Especially as federal laws are enforced regarding their living conditions and medical care.

Our dumb (tm) drug laws are largely responsible or this. However, large privately run prison corporations are starting to be self perpetuating (even backing new laws that require prison time with lobby money - and yup-- large contributors to keep drugs illegal). (e.g.) http://slingshot.tao.ca/displaybi.php?0059032 [slingshot.tao.ca]

Oh.. and I'd bet dollars to donuts that the DNA database will not be flushed. They'll find some way to keep it- including just ignoring the ruling.

Hold on a moment. Wacky Jackie might not agree (3, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993935)

The Home Sec (aka Wacky Jackie Smith. You know the one who says 'I knew nothing' about the police raiding an Opposition MP's office like they do every week in Zimbabwe) is reviewing the implications of the Judgement.

From that I read 'Ok Chaps how can we get out of this fine mess you have got me into?'
And an underling pipes up
'Just DNA Test Everyone. That way there can be no discrimination'

However the Court is getting wise to the tricks of NuStasi (sorry New Labour) and is going to monitor the compliance with their ruling closely.

Re:Hold on a moment. Wacky Jackie might not agree (5, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994061)

The police have really overstepped the mark these past few years and it's showing with their latest search of the MPs office.

They think their above the law and I'm sick of these policemen that never get charged with doing anything wrong.

Off the top of my head the police have been caught speeding, killing people because their visa expired, racial abuse, searching without a warrent, etc. They're above the law and I am happy they have been bought down a peg, even though it's a pretty small victory.

They still no to be more responsible for what they do.

Re:Hold on a moment. Wacky Jackie might not agree (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994677)

"...and it's showing with their latest search of the MPs office."

What is a MP? I know in the US armed forces it means Military Police, but, I'm guessing from context, in the UK it means something else.

MP (2, Informative)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994723)

MP = Member of Parliament (in other words, one of the UK's elected representatives in Parliament - much like a Senator in the US)

MP = Member of Parliament (2, Informative)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994783)

That'd be Member of Parliament [wikipedia.org] to all those not familiar with parliamentary nomenclature. So the Home Secretary siccing the police to raid an opposition party member's offices might be vaguely analogous to the Bush Administration abusing its official powers to bully US Attorneys into resigning [washingtonpost.com] for not kowtowing to the party line. I.e., a power freak seeing how far they can stretch their authority and get away with it.

Cheers,

Re:Wacky Jacqui might not agree (0, Flamebait)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994603)

Why has someone modded this Flamebait? - it perfectly well sums up how completely distanced from reality the Home Secretary is.

Only true NuLabour sheeple would think otherwise

Re:Wacky Jacqui might not agree (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994691)

Why has someone modded this Flamebait?

Probably because of the unnecessarily incendiary language in GP like "NuStasi" for New Labour.

Only true NuLabour sheeple would think otherwise.

...And here you're doing (a lesser form of) the same thing that got the GP rightly modded as flamebait.

If you don't want to get posts tagged as flamebait, explain and justify your opinions without peppering your posts with gratuitous insults; in short, use arguments instead of epithets.

Re:Wacky Jacqui might not agree (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994861)

Why has someone modded this Flamebait?

Probably because of the unnecessarily incendiary language in GP like "NuStasi" for New Labour.

Only true NuLabour sheeple would think otherwise.

...And here you're doing (a lesser form of) the same thing that got the GP rightly modded as flamebait.

If you don't want to get posts tagged as flamebait, explain and justify your opinions without peppering your posts with gratuitous insults; in short, use arguments instead of epithets.

Interestingly I've been seeing more and more of this type of language around the internet; my favourites are "Jaquiboot Smith" for the home sectary as it sums up my opinion of her, and "NuLab" because of the obvious Orwellian comparisons to IngSoc. I don't think it's flamebait, just a concise way to sum up thoughs on the creeping authoritarianism of this new* Labour Goverment

*how long can they justifiably continue to style themselves as "new"?

Re:Wacky Jacqui might not agree (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995359)

Interestingly I've been seeing more and more of this type of language around the internet; my favourites are "Jaquiboot Smith" for the home sectary as it sums up my opinion of her, and "NuLab" because of the obvious Orwellian comparisons to IngSoc. I don't think it's flamebaitjust a concise way to sum up thoughs on the creeping authoritarianism of this new* Labour Goverment

*how long can they justifiably continue to style themselves as "new"?

Using incendiary epithets is flamebait.

The fact that the incendiary epithets happen to comport well with your personal feelings doesn't change that (in fact, it would be odd to use an epithet which didn't.)

If you want to make arguments about creeping authoritarianism without flamebait, then make the arguments without the epithets.

Re:Wacky Jacqui might not agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25995681)

It's flamebait if it's likely to attract flames. Given that even the Labour supporters I know think the current offering are a bunch of wasting, wannabe dictators, I can't say it's really going to be attracting flames from anyone...well, outside of the Labour party.

Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on file? (1, Interesting)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993991)

Not particularly, no. I don't really mind the government maintaining a DNA database.

I would like it if they shared the data with the NIH, and I think that work on mapping the human genome is so very important that we can't trust private enterprise to explore all of the possible directions in which it could be taken.

I mean, what is the government going to do with my DNA? Clone me? Invade my privacy by finding out what diseases I'm vulnerable to?

I reject arguments that innocent people have nothing to fear from invasions of privacy, but objections to this don't even seem to be based on one of those.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994137)

Watch...this movie.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/46029/gattaca [hulu.com]

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994143)

How about "selling your DNA to insurance companies"?

Or in case of Great Britain - losing a USB stick with all your private data _and_ DNA data.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994177)

I mean, what is the government going to do with my DNA? Clone me? Invade my privacy by finding out what diseases I'm vulnerable to?

Use it to drag you out of your house and charge you with a crime you may or may not have committed, just because a computer says that you might be the suspect based on that DNA (when in truth you may well not be). All it would take is for a small database corruption or some programmatic error, and suddenly you end up having a lot of explaining to do, even if you have nothing to explain.

There's also the 'what if' angle of if/when your government gets repressive. Easier to figure out where and who you are down the road when they have DNA to match you up against...

/P

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994663)

All it would take is for a small database corruption or some programmatic error

Actually, less than that. All it takes is a misunderstanding of statistics. If you have a large DNA database and a DNA sample from a crime-scene, then if you use it to find suspects - as many politicians would like to do - then you are bound to get a significant number of false positives, even when the tests are very accurate. The "1 in a billion" statistics that get thrown around regarding DNA matches estimate the chances of two random people matching. Once you expand your search to a country of 60m, the chances of a coincidental match is significant. Read up on the birthday paradox. And because people are told the "1 in a billion" statistic, whoever gets fingered for the crime is seen to have a massive chunk of evidence pointing to his guilt.

There's also the 'what if' angle of if/when your government gets repressive.

That argument has never really held weight with me. Do you also advocate gay people remaining in the closet? After all, if people know that they are gay, then if the government decides to execute gay people, they are fucked. How about atheists? People who wear glasses?

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (5, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994255)

Are you kidding me? This is the government that loses data left, right and centre and you don't mind them maintaining your DNA?

Then perhaps you'd like to hear about the case in the US where two men one white, one black both had the same genetic markers in the police database?

or how about when you are called in for a crime you didn't commit like Jill Dando case where they matched the wrong guy's DNA. The evidence was so strong there right? The amount of DNA evidence was almost nothing yet the court was in the mindset of DNA == foolproof.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (1)

glennpratt (1230636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994445)

Then perhaps you'd like to hear about the case in the US where two men one white, one black both had the same genetic markers in the police database?

Link?

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (4, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994645)

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/20/local/me-dna20 [latimes.com]

Google it yourself next time [letmegoogl...foryou.com] .. or is that too difficult for you?

Moderators can suck one (1)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994901)

Whoever modded that flamebait needs their karma reduced to zero and never given moderation points again.

/takes stand, doesn't click "AC".

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (1)

glennpratt (1230636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995297)

Well considering you said case, which I think a few people would assume to mean court case and the LATimes article didn't come up first with the query I used, nor did it refer to a specific case with a white and black man, I thought I'd ask for some clarification. Here's a link I found interesting after looking at that, though: http://leitermaninnocent.com/ [leitermaninnocent.com]

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994909)

Google finds it pretty quickly [latimes.com]

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25995345)

Google Knows All â

Going Godwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994323)

Sigh. If only this technology existed in the 1940's. \\:=(

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994357)

It is probably worth noting that DNA evidence can be wrong... There have been numerous cases in which a false positive led to someone being wrongly imprisoned. The probability of false positives is significantly higher than most people realize as well. This mostly has to do with the fact that they only sequence part of your DNA -- the parts most likely to differ from one person to the next. This introduces a statistical error rate.

It's a dirty little secret.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (1)

didroe84 (1324187) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994641)

Exactly. The probability of a suspect found through other means (eg. social links with the victim) being a false positive is far less than the probability of a false positive when you have the entire country on file (which is where they were headed before this ruling).

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (1)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994923)

That's what got O.J. off the hook.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (4, Insightful)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994371)

Not particularly, no. I don't really mind the government maintaining a DNA database.

This is the same UK government that is so expertly careful about protecting [scmagazineuk.com] personal [theregister.co.uk] information [securitypark.co.uk] . Any information you give them (and I mean anything... contact details, date of birth, NI number (=SSN for you Americans), medical history, tax returns, your library borrowing list that shows you have a penchant for lycanthropic porn, etc. etc.) you may as well cut out the middleman and post it on MySpace for the world to read, chances are it will become that public in short order anyway. And you're willing to trust them with your DNA?

In that case I have a bridge you may be interested in purchasing...

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994553)

Absolutely my sentiment! I don't mind government invading privacy at all as long as I have access to the data.

Actually, I think the same about all government activities. The greatest evil is secrecy when it comes to government.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (4, Insightful)

codegen (103601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994559)

You do realize that they don't store the entire sequence in the database. DNA identification is based on a set of marker pairs, which are considered to be among the most variable in the human genome. It is of no use in mapping the genome. Close pairs have been discovered between completely unrelated people in the existing databases. So a plausible scenario: DNA shows a close match with your brother who was detained but never charged nor convicted (protesting against new 3 strikes law). As a result the Police pull you in as a "person of interest" since a close match is usually interpreted as matching someone related. Your boss finds out you have been questioned for murder at the same time you are competing with another co-worker for a promotion. Guess who gets the promotion?

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (4, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995009)

Not particularly, no. I don't really mind the government maintaining a DNA database

...

I mean, what is the government going to do with my DNA? Clone me? Invade my privacy by finding out what diseases I'm vulnerable to?

How about convict you of crimes you didn't do? Here's how it goes down.

  1. Some criminal who is not you, and whose DNA is not on file, commits a crime, and carelessly leaves behind some DNA.
  2. Police get the DNA, and run it against the DNA database, looking for a match. Yours matches. And yes, this can happen. I'll cover why below.
  3. You are charged with the crime. The jury is mightily impressed with the DNA evidence, and your lack of an alibi. Welcome to jail!

It is a popular misconception that DNA tests uniquely identify people. That would be true (ignoring twins...) if they compared at enough positions. However, such tests are expensive. So what they actually do is compare at a few positions.

This is not enough to uniquely identify you. It is enough to narrow the possibilities down to, in a good case, a handful of people. When that is combined with non-DNA evidence, it is almost certain.

For instance, suppose you've got a woman raped, robbed, and murdered. Through traditional police methods, you find out that she was seen shortly before the crime arguing with her ex-boyfriend who was stalking her, and that she had a pizza delivered where the delivery man turned out to be a paroled serial rapist, and finally, a burglar had been known to be working the neighborhood at the time of the crime, and he had some of her jewelry when he was caught a few days later (but claims he found it on the ground and was never in her house).

Do a DNA test on those three suspects and get a match on one, and you've got your criminal. Sure, there might be a dozen (or even hundreds or thousands, depending on the test you do) people in the world that match, but the chances that someone would have been identified as a suspect through non-DNA traditional police methods AND be one of those dozens (or hundreds...) are low.

In other words, the proper way to use DNA testing is to use it in a Bayesian fashion with other evidence to seal the deal.

Without safeguards in place to prevent misuse of the database (such as using it to pick suspects in lieu of finding suspects the old fashioned way), an incomplete DNA database is a major risk to your rights, if your DNA is included.

Re:Do I mind if the government keeps my DNA on fil (1)

Oqnet (159295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995351)

I reject arguments that innocent people have nothing to fear from invasions of privacy, but objections to this don't even seem to be based on one of those.

Someone once said that you would be suprised how many people who think that their father is their father is really just their fathers friend. This database would be used to search for people with simular DNA as well as exact matches. Say you get a partial DNA hit on a crime only to find out that your father is not your father and that some one else commited the crime. It does target innocent people don't even think that for a second. Or that your brother and father are part of an investigation but you were somehow ruled out. It could break up a family it could tramatize a young adult. There is a reason we have privacy, sometimes it's the secrets of the parents that ruin the young but it shouldn't be up to the goverment to decide what secrets we should have or how they are told.

Cynical about the EU no longer. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993995)

Sometimes I'm cynical about the EU. To be sure, there is a lot of completely pointless and stupid busy work such as regulating the curvature of bananas and so on. On the other hand, the UK government seems capable of such outright maliciousness that the only thing we have left is the EU. I'll take bouts of stupid and useless over bouts of mindless repression any day.

The sad thing is, we neither elect the EU nor the house of lords. Yet I find myself agreeing with them much more often than with the elected government. Well, what do you expect? Despite getting only 37% of the votes cast, they act like they earned their large majority.

Re:Cynical about the EU no longer. (3, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994307)

The Europian court of human rights is part of the Council of Europe [wikipedia.org] , not the EU. They share a flag, and IIRC all EU members are also members of the Council, but there are a whole load of other countries in the council of Europe besides the 26 EU member states.

/pedant

Re:Cynical about the EU no longer. (1)

mrsmiggs (1013037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994313)

The sad thing is the right wing press in the UK will use this as a stick to beat the EU and call for our withdrawl and resulted isolation. The increasingly alarming path taken by the UK government has been sparked by the gutter press, who despite becoming less and less relevent to modern life are listened to more than ever by politicians hunting for the vote of the swing voters in a few small constituencies. The democratic deficit in the UK is reducing our freedoms, it's high time the system was reformed and politicans actually paid attention to what people want instead of relying on economic bubbles to keep the populace happy and reactionary policies like this one to keep the media on side.

Re:Cynical about the EU no longer. (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995573)

But then there's a conflict. My local MP, a conservative, voted against basically all of liberty-trampling ideas jacqui smith has come up with. While I hate the tories as any decent person would, they're miles better in this respect.

So on the one hand its the "european busybodies" interfering with our sovereign state, and on the other its them protecting us from big brother, an issue a lot of tories hold dear (and you can sort of see why)

Re:Cynical about the EU no longer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994369)

You don't elect "the EU", but you elect the European Parliament. The constitution would have given the parliament greater power. Beyond that the EU is run mostly by the governments which themselves are democratically elected.

To compare it to the House of Lords in terms of its democratic legitimization is completely bananas.

As is, BTW, rehashing UK scare stories about EU bureaucracy. The thing is, most of these kind of standardization requests come out of the industry itself for various reasons.

You're missing the point, I think (1)

mcalwell (669361) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995321)

Although I heartily agree with the EU on this, I don't see it as a vindication of our ongoing membership.

This (and many other matters), are deeply alarming developments in British democracy, but they have come about because of a constitutional failure, largely brought about by the dilution of our democracy and its compromise by our membership of the EU itself. There are many other factors, including the failure, malicious or otherwise, of our left-wing education system to educate people about their history and country.

Sadly, I think leaving the EU is the prerequisite to rebuilding a very broken and disordered Britain and restoring faith in democratic institutions.

Change of considerations (3, Interesting)

Huff (314296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994029)

Whereas most people in the UK consider the Euro court of human rights to be a bunch of interfering busy bodys or jobsworths, and in general most of the rulings they come up with do come across as 'annoying'.
Ruling like this however are the reason the court was set up. I do hope this ruling stands and that this court will continue to keep its eye on privacy issues like this and prove to the population in general that it does have a purpose.

NPE

Re:Change of considerations (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994497)

Whereas most people in the UK consider the Euro court of human rights to be a bunch of interfering busy bodys or jobsworths, and in general most of the rulings they come up with do come across as 'annoying'.
Ruling like this however are the reason the court was set up. I do hope this ruling stands and that this court will continue to keep its eye on privacy issues like this and prove to the population in general that it does have a purpose.

Unfortunately, when you've got a general public which is by and large fairly happy with the job the police are doing, places absolute faith in the science and knows little or nothing of miscarriages of justice, rulings like this tend to reinforce such views.

Got to love the Home Secretary (4, Insightful)

Peil (549875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994051)

"The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement "

Su-fucking-perb! If I ever get nicked and found guilty of an offence I'll be sure to use that one as I wave two fingers at the Judge.

As we have seen only this week over here the Police are out of control, the Government are scared of them and it is slowly dawning on people we have just sleep walked into a police state.

The cops turn up at your door, seize computer equipment, lets be honest you aren't going to get your kit back for a good year at least, even if your innocent. While they have it they can demand all passwords, failure to comply gets you up to two years. Then they get to take your DNA and fingerprints. If you match up at any crime scene you better have a decent alibi son, "cos the Database don't lie". (Just don't mention the Shirley McKee case)

Re:Got to love the Home Secretary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25995633)

Actually if you spend any time at all reading some of the Police blogs (I.e. Inspector Gadget [wordpress.com] or PC Bloggs [blogspot.com] ), or their respective books, you'll find that the Police aren't nearly well enough staffed, funded or equiped to turn the Isle of Man into a Police state, let alone the entire UK.

Are you aware that the Police no longer even make the decision over whether to charge a suspect, or what the charge should be? They've been reduced to glorified office workers with stab vests. They don't even get proper batons any more!

Quote continued (0, Flamebait)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994087)

Here's the full quote:

"could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society... fortunately for us, the UK could never be mistaken for a democratic society, so feel free to violate any and all rights."

Breach of rights until... (0)

kingsteve612 (1241114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994123)

...one of the people that got arrested and released does a crime against you or your family. Then the breach of rights complaint that the person made mysteriously disappears. Breach of rights? What rights? The right to NOT have your DNA stored in a government database if you were to get arrested for committing a crime? I didnt know that was a right. Isnt the crime more of a breach to my rights to live well than the government keeping a database of the people who actually commit the crime in the first place? Human rights fanatics never stop amazing me.

Re:Breach of rights until... (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994375)

Nice troll, but I'll bite. The one crucial aspect you're missing has to do with the word "arrested". It's justifiable to store somebody's DNA after he's been convicted. But an arrest is just an accusation. There is no due process, no judge, no jury, nothing of the sort. There ought to be no penalty for an arrest alone. That's what "due process" means.

Re:Breach of rights until... (2, Informative)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994609)

Quite. There were accusations that the Met made an unusually large number of uncharged arrests at Notting Hill this year so they could build up a profile of black Londoners.

(Notes for Americans and other foreigners; the Met=the London police force which has a history of racism and locking up opposition MPs. The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest Afro-Caribbean festival in the UK)

Re:Breach of rights until... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995399)

in the US, they call it "driving while black" and in some states, its an arrestible offense.

see, the US is much like the UK. common heritage, I guess.

Re:Breach of rights until... (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994679)

...one of the people that got arrested and released does a crime against you or your family. Then the breach of rights complaint that the person made mysteriously disappears.

Breach of rights? What rights? The right to NOT have your DNA stored in a government database if you were to get arrested for committing a crime?

Stop right there. As far as the law is concerned, the person who's accused of committing a crime against you may or may not have done so. It is up to the justice system to decide whether or not they did, and once that decision is reached, if the answer is "not guilty" (or, for that matter, "we aren't pressing charges"), they are entitled to receive exactly the same treatment by any member of society (or indeed society itself) as if the suspicion had never occurred.

That's the whole point of "innocent until proven guilty", it's been the whole point of British justice for centuries.

What you're effectively advocating is that a person who has ever been arrested for any reason, should be automatically considered "more likely a criminal" than the rest of the general public - even though the police may have kept them for no more than a couple of hours before realising they'd made a mistake and releasing them without charge.

The only fair way to deal with that - and, what I suspect, the home office may well advocate if they think they can get away with it - is to take DNA samples from the entire population.

Implications for US border control? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994281)

From the judgment:

the Court considered that fingerprints contain unique information about the individual concerned and their retention without his or her consent cannot be regarded as neutral or insignificant. The retention of fingerprints may thus in itself give rise to important private-life concerns and accordingly constituted an interference with the right to respect for private life.

Does that mean that the practice of taking the fingerprints of Europeans when they enter the USA should also be considered as a breach of the human right of privacy?!

Re:Implications for US border control? (3, Interesting)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994659)

A debatable question. Maybe the Europeans should take samples of visiting Americans DNA and see if they match any crime scene samples in Europe. After all we know that DNA matches are 100% proof of guilt. Well apart from the 1 in 200,000 random match rate of course. How many Americans are there? 200 Million did you say. Excellent, our crime clear up rates will be significantly improved once we start banging up foreign nationals! The human right of privacy is all we have left against bad science in the field of information technology based criminology. Lets match your IP address against my corrupt file of kiddy porn sites shall we and put your children in state care. Or better still lets put you in gitmo because some war driving suicide bomber had the tools to crack your pathetic wpa encryption. good luck you trusting soul.

Re:Implications for US border control? (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994953)

Most emphatically, yes.

Not a "UK" Database (2, Informative)

CodeArtisan (795142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994299)

The title of the article is a little misleading as it doesn't apply to all of the UK.

From TFA:

Scotland already destroys DNA samples taken during criminal investigations from people who are not charged or who are later acquitted of alleged offences.

Re:Not a "UK" Database (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994569)

I think it only applies to England and Wales, as Northern Ireland has devolved justice too. Does anyone know the situation re: NI?

Re:Not a "UK" Database (1)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995485)

They're still very, very drunk.

National soverignity? (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994331)

Would someone who knows please explain how the EU Court has jurisdiction over national laws? Has the UK (and other countries in the EU, for that matter) ceded its soverignity to the EU to such an extent that the EU acts as a Supreme Court? Is the EU as a whole like the Federal government is to the US states or Canadian provinces? I really do not know myself and am asking for a serious answer. Thanks.

Re:National soverignity? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994537)

The UK signed the European Human Rights convention and those accepted the authority of the European Court of Human Rights.

Re:National soverignity? (3, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995031)

Would someone who knows please explain how the EU Court has jurisdiction over national laws? Has the UK (and other countries in the EU, for that matter) ceded its soverignity to the EU to such an extent that the EU acts as a Supreme Court? Is the EU as a whole like the Federal government is to the US states or Canadian provinces? I really do not know myself and am asking for a serious answer. Thanks.

It's not an "EU court" it's part of the Council of Europe [wikipedia.org] , which whilst it share a flag with the EU is a separate body with different membership. When we signed the European charter of Human rights (this was soon after WW2 and IIRC it was largely written by British solicitors), we ceded any powers in that treaty to the ECoHR, after all that's how international treaties work.

Re:National soverignity? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995531)

Would someone who knows please explain how the EU Court has jurisdiction over national laws?

What power the EU Court has over the UK is the power that the UK gave it when it signed up for the EU in the first place. Basically, the court has jurisdictions in cases that involve EU law or the EU treaties.

the UK (and other countries in the EU, for that matter) ceded its soverignity to the EU to such an extent that the EU acts as a Supreme Court?

In some ways yes and in some ways no. The EU court has jurisdiction over many basic human rights issues especially where they apply to the EU charter. Of course, there are many points of law that have nothing to do with human rights or EU law, so those topics are still covered by each nations highest court. That being said, if a country fails to follow a judgement, there really isn't much the court can do except for fining the country. And if the country doesn't pay, there is even less they can do. It is unlikely that the EU would risk a major international incident over a member's failure to pay a court imposed fine.

Is the EU as a whole like the Federal government is to the US states or Canadian provinces? I really do not know myself and am asking for a serious answer.

It is really more like the Articles of the Confederation (The United State's 'first draft' government). While it has many of the functions of a sovereign nation, the EU is much more loosely united that the States in the US or Provinces in Canada. Remember that the EU began it's life as the European Economic Community, and managing the economy of the Union is still it's primary purpose.

About time too (4, Insightful)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994433)

As a British citizen I'd say that this practice was an absolute outrage. If someone has been officially charged and found guilty then fair enough, a DNA profile is justified as part of the price of doing the crime. But to do this merely on arrest is a gross affront to civil liberties and one that has left 1/12 of the population on this database.

The argument is often made that it is a handy tool for solving past crimes and if you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear. I beg to differ.

There have already been cases of criminals planting false DNA on crime scenes (Dr. John Schneeberger of Canada) and, while the technology is very useful, it is not the be all and end all of evidence.

6 gigs per? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994447)

What exactly is the data of the stored DNA sample? Surely not the whole thing gene sequence! 3 billion base pairs in a human genome means 6 billion gigs of data per person.

Re:6 gigs per? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994825)

Mathematics fail! 3 billion base pairs means 3 billion 2-bit pairs (e.g. A,C,G,T =>00,01,10,11) , or 6 billion bits. Or about a CD-ROM's worth of data. Actually, in practice, we know know you need to look at things like methylation to capture a fuller picture of what a gene will actually do, but still, your estimate is way, way off.

Easily fixed (5, Funny)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994463)

keeping such people's DNA in the database 'could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.'"

Jacqui Smith will just ensure we're no longer listed as a democratic society. That should side-step this issue.

No one said it better than old Ben Franklin (4, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994533)

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

The insight of those from hundreds of years ago still amazes me.

Wise men, no?

Let's sample everybody....Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994743)

The government already keeps all kinds of data on you, name, address, phone number, license plate, heck, they even take your picture...why not DNA? Just get yourself sampled when you sign up for your drivers license.

I tried so hard to think up an insightful comment (5, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994831)

I really did, I tried so hard to think up an insightful comment in response to this story but all that I could do was sit giggling to myself at how upset Jacqui Smith is over this and how she aint gonna sleep well tonight.

For those that don't know, Jacqui Smith has been involved in or is responsible for:
- UK ID card scheme where every citizen has a biometric ID card
- A national database of every single child's details
- 42 days of detention without trial for terror suspects
- This very DNA database of even innocent people
- Plans for a scheme to store all telephone call, text message and e-mail records
- Massive nationwide CCTV surveillance programs
- Silencing of political opponents by using heavy police force
- Allowing local councils to use terrorist laws to spy on citizens to catch them for such offences as trying to get their kids into a specific school outside their catchment area or letting their dog foul in a public place
- Creating a scheme for newspapers to put up wanted posters from CCTV images of people dropping litter

There are plenty more but simply too many for me to remember all of them right now. This woman is evil and must be stopped, period. We can't put the blame on just her however because people like Gordon Brown have the power to stop her but aren't and opposition parties could be far, far more vocal about how evil this woman actually is and yet they're not.

I'm pretty sure the lives of our grandparents here in the UK and the rest of the world weren't given on the beaches of Normandy, the fields of France and other places so that it would eventually be our own government that would rise up against us and begin to enforce the same level of dictatorship as seen in the many facist nations during World War II. The very fact Jacqui Smith is pushing for this kind of regime should make it the responsibility of everyone with the power to make a noise- politicians, media and so forth to stand up and refuse to accept this. It is the complacency and ignorance amongst the average joe on the street towards this type of thing that makes me understand now how over time evil totalitarian regimes can arise.

I do not believe Britain will every reach the point Jacqui Smith is hoping thanks to the EU injecting at least a little bit of common sense into the situation as per this article but the very fact that she has been allowed to get this far is simply unacceptable in a modern, free society.

Re:I tried so hard to think up an insightful comme (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995243)

I wonder, when we get someone like this in the US government, it is usually because the person (or someone close to them) has been the victim of a crime and this person feels an overwhelming sense of guilt and is trying to stop ALL crime (which is just silly, even if noble in some strange misguided way, since what they want is impossible). Does anyone know if this person is just a loon, or a loon that went through something traumatic? I'm actually curious about it.

Effective end to biometrics? (2, Informative)

billsf (34378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995037)

This indeed is one of the best decisions of the EU, particularly in that it ends the whole biometric scam, at least for here. Since DNA and fingerprints are the most 'stable' biometric measures, all other methods, disproved over 100 years ago, would seem to be included. The ramifications of this are great from ending (real)ID cards to George Bush's false "War on Terror".

This is real change. Funny it starts in Europe.
 

Not a question of security vs privacy (1)

A Pressbutton (252219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25995337)

I just do not want to pay for this database through my taxes - much like the optional id card that looks like it will be illegal not to have quite soon.
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