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UK Police Want DNA of 'Potential Offenders'

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the when-everyone-is-special-nobody-is dept.

Government 578

mrogers writes "British police want to collect DNA samples from children as young as five who 'exhibit behavior indicating they may become criminals in later life'. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers argued that since some schools already take pupils' fingerprints, the collection and permanent storage of DNA samples was the logical next step. And of course, if anyone argues that branding naughty five-year-olds as lifelong criminals will stigmatize them, the proposed solution will be to take samples from all children."

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And? (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768086)

If you've nothing to hide...


Parent needs remodding Insightful (2, Informative)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768280)

Which moron modded the parent Troll?? - The comment was probably intended as sarcasm. Should be Insightful imho. Oh and anyone with tag privileges, tag this one Nazism, beucase that's exactly what it is.

Re:Parent needs remodding Insightful (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768306)

Tag privileges? Supporting the GP? Not getting the following meme? You must be new here.

Re:Parent needs remodding Insightful (1)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768354)

Hmm - okay, here goes:

In Soviet Russia, DNA profiles you

In Britain, we aren't so lucky - we only get government agencies doing that sort of thing.

Re:And? (4, Informative)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768388)

Sure you have nothing to hide. You submitted a DNA sample of your neighbor and passed it along as your own. Instead of you have nothing to hide, you are non-existent. A nice prospect to keep below the radar.

Well, as Lewis Black would no doubt say ... (1, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768090)


Law & Order (2, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768104)

Hey, I'll be the first one who is a law & order type of person, but this one scares the crap out of me.

Re:Law & Order (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768436)

I'll be the first one who is a law & order type of person, but this one scares the crap out of me.

That's probably because this has nothing to do with law and order. This is about totalitarianism, which is a crime.


Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768096)


Thats it! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768098)

I'm moving to America! ... oh shit!

1984 is here and now. (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768108)

Tin foil helmet sales surge!

Re:1984 is here and now. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768228)

Oh come on, there's no market for tin foil helmets, mostly 'cause there's no way in hell I'm trusting a store bought model. It's got to be custom built, if I don't know everything that went into it, it ain't goin' on my head, end of story.

Re:1984 is here and now. (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768334)


Re:1984 is here and now. (4, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768338)

I make my own foil personally.

If they want my DNA... (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768110)

If they want my DNA, they can bend right over and I'll happily give it to them.

Re:If they want my DNA... (4, Funny)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768282)

I wouldn't if I were you, you might catch something nasty.

Will someone explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768112)

One thing I've never understood is why everyone's so jumpy about the idea of a DNA storage bank of people who have committed crimes (TFA is reprehensible for doing it to children, I get that bit) What is the government going to do with it besides waste space?

Re:Will someone explain? (2, Insightful)

thorndt (814642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768250)

You have it backwards. It shouldn't be "justify not letting us have your DNA." It should be "justify why I should give you my DNA." Remember, the theory goes that the Government is a servant of the people, not the other way around.

Servant of the people (2, Funny)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768500)

Remember, the theory goes that the Government is a servant of the people, not the other way around.

Whose theory? A bunch of rebels declaring their independence from the British government?

First they came for the ... (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768278)

For some, it's the slippery-slope:
First they collected DNA from sex criminals.
Then they collected DNA from felons.
Then they collected DNA from all criminals.
Then they collected DNA from people who get speeding tickets.
Then they collected DNA from people who drive.
Then they collected DNA from everyone else.

Most people have someone in their family who has a speeding ticket if they don't themselves.

People value their privacy. They want to know that if they get a speeding ticket today, and there is a crime at a restaurant next year, the cup they drank from won't be used as evidence that they were in the restaurant at the time of the crime. What if the guy on the videotape was seen drinking out of a similar glass and he happens to look just like you. You will have been framed by your own DNA.

Re:Will someone explain? (2, Informative)

bargainsale (1038112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768372)

That's a large part of the issue.

The UK database contains the DNA of people who've been arrested even when then they're later released uncharged or acquitted.
It is almost impossible to get your record deleted when you are acquitted in England and Wales (but not in Scotland).
So unless you believe that the police only ever arrest the guilty, perhaps you will begin to understand what's making people jumpy.

For fuck's sake (3, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768120)

Are they almost done with their 1984-like obsession in becoming a police state?

Ooh, look, little Johnny is acting a little weird! Quick, get a DNA sample from him, he could be a future criminal!

It doesn't even make sense!

Re:For fuck's sake (5, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768244)

No shit. What the fuck is up with the UK these days? The USA is a pit of right wing idiocy, but I always blame it on the fact they're morons from the gitgo. I mean really - that George Bush could be considered a viable candidate indicates that way too many knuckledragging retards live there. So you sort of have to spot the yanks a few right off.

But one would think that the UK, with THOUSANDS of years of experience, and having had their nation bombed and burned by fascists would be a good bit more on top of this kind of thing. But. no. It's like they're saying "Roights? Who needs roights? Cor Blimey - just gimme a pint there guvnah!" sheeesh. Between the jillions of cameras in London, which HAVEN'T really made the city safer, and the constant erosion of human rights and common sense, argh. It's a sad thing to watch.


Re:For fuck's sake (2, Insightful)

Zedekiah (1103333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768314)

you seem to think that we, the British people, have any sort of say in this sort of thing. It's our "left-wing" party doing this; the only (main) alternative is the conservatives, and I don't want to go into THAT kettle of fish. But really, that more people aren't actively (and literally) aren't up in arms over it is somewhat depressing -.-

Re:For fuck's sake (1)

niks42 (768188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768446)

We could vote with our feet, and leave the country for one of the former colonies. It couldn't be any worse than it is here.

Oh, wait ...

Re:For fuck's sake (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768396)

I see a -troll modifier here real quick for you.

that George Bush could be considered a viable candidate indicates that way too many knuckledragging retards live there

Speaking as one of the purported knuckledragging retards, I would like to point out just how many people in the US are fanatically against what is happening here. Even with speaking out and performing civil disobediance, we don't seem to be able to gain any traction, let alone actual forward motion against our government.

The astronomically high level of collusion, complicity, and corruption in the government, the military industrial complex, and special interests makes it nearly impossible to keep our rights from eroding faster and faster.

So you can insult us all you want, but we are just working off the example of the UK with its "thousands of years of experience". Not to compare "our pain", but you did have absolute monarchies in your past and have worked from the ground up for personal liberties. The US started out with the pretense of "liberty for all" and turned it to "power and property for the few".

Maybe instead of taking the time to drag the US in the mud with your name calling, you could use all that energy for some good ol' civil disobediance. Put a burning tire around one of those cameras, sabotage something, anything.

If anything, both of our systems of government are broken irreparably, and need to be tore down with something new put in its place. Of course, that will be awfully hard to do peacefully, which is my greatest fear.

Re:For fuck's sake (0, Offtopic)

Ranger96 (452365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768414)

Those "knuckledragging retards" were smart enough to leave the UK (by force) 230 years ago when they realized then how fucked-up the British government was.

OK, taking off my patriotic hat now...

Re:For fuck's sake (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768246)

Ooh, look, little Johnny is acting a little weird! Quick, get a DNA sample from him, he could be a future criminal!

Sure it makes sense:
Nobody thinks their precious little snowflake is going to be caught by that, so they want to defend their child against the evil little children.

Re:For fuck's sake (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768274)

It doesn't even make sense!

It's just a wafer-thin excuse to get people accustomed to yet another loss of privacy. I guess they feel that they owe it to the population to give some sort of rationale when they are required to bend over and take it up the ass again. I swear (and the U.S. is no better) these people must have miniscule penises .. sure seems like they're doing a lot of compensation for something.

Re:For fuck's sake (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768418)

Something tells me that some people saw 1984 [] , Brazil [] , Gattaca [] etc.. etc.. etc.. and interpreted them as blueprints for tomorrow rather than as hints that we should avoid the type of tomorrows depicted.

People suck :S

Re:For fuck's sake (5, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768300)

It makes sense alright. It's just nasty, and probably pointless.

Let me describe a parallel for you.

I used to be a nurse, years ago. After the first year of hospital work it got to the point where I had a very narrow view of society. I mostly saw sick people, so after a while I started to think of everyone outside the hospital in terms of how likely they were to appear in hospital as a result of their behavior or diet. This wasn't a particulerly useful viewpoint, but I still held it.

I realised this, and it took a long time to get past. Not all the nurses I knew managed this.

If your life revolves around dealing with people in a particular state, you tend to become very focused on it. To the police, everyone is viewed in terms of how likely they are to be criminals. They can't help it, our society demands it of them (yes indeed, it does, alas).

I'm more concerned with how much of our taxes this is going to waste before they realise it's pointless.

Re:For fuck's sake (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768474)

Oh i wish i had mod points for you. +1 Insightful.

Re:For fuck's sake (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768318)

Should we just start calling it "Airstrip One"?

Recipe for fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768350)

Step 1: Insist that since this is so important, nobody can be grandfathered out of it. I don't care if you're the head of Scotland Yard or the Queen herself: if you did something suspicious when you were 5, you're a "potential offender", and we need your DNA.

Step 2: Advertise a reward for any good dirt people can dig up on any public officials advocating DNA sampling of innocent people.

Step 3: Sit back and watch.

Workaround (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768122)

To avoid stigmatizing specific children, DNA samples at birth could be taken. All the benefits, none of the stigma.

Re:Workaround (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768166)

Of course, if you treat them all like criminals, then you won't inadvertantly leave one criminal out.

Re:Workaround (2, Insightful)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768308)

All the benefits, none of the stigma.

Umm, but then you don't get the satisfaction of nudging 'bad kids' towards a life of crime by demonstrating your lack of faith in them. After all, everyone knows that genes are fate-indicators, don't they? Of course, by 'bad kids' I mean 'anyone who may have an undiagnosed food allergy, teething pains, has been bullied, is having a hard time with puberty or indeed just offends our middle-class sensibilities' (clearly as deserving of preemptive punishment as any group has been).

Additionally, I'd be in favour of seeing the DNA of children who show a tendency towards judgemental, controlling and intrusive behaviour coupled with an enjoyment of free-lunches-courtesy-of-the-taxpayer, sampled so that they may be fast-tracked into the police force/political arena.

No longer able to tell where irony begins or ends :S

Orwell got the year wrong... (4, Insightful)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768126)

The UK has problems if anyone in power takes this police request seriously. God, I hope it isn't that bad. Five year olds? Do all five year olds who act out become criminals?

Re:Orwell got the year wrong... (4, Insightful)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768184)

Do all five year olds who act out become criminals?

There are five-year-olds who don't act out?

Re:Orwell got the year wrong... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768202)

Now, if we were talking two year olds here, I could see it. Most parents wish they could lock their two-year-olds up 'til they grow out of it.

Re:Orwell got the year wrong... (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768380)

Most parents wish they could lock their two-year-olds up 'til they grow out of it.

What, you mean we can't do that?

Shit, where'd I leave that key.....

Re:Orwell got the year wrong... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768468)

What, you mean we can't do that?

Well, you can ... but if they catch you they come take your DNA.

Re:Orwell got the year wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768510)

It isn't the technology that's the problem. It's what Orwell called "Ingsoc". The intent of cradle-to-grave socialism is to treat the entire population like it's a nursing school or a kindergarten class. The final stage of "free" healthcare, subsidized housing, welfare hand-outs, government pensions, along with stifling taxes on everything, unions becoming increasingly political, growing limits on free speech ("hate speech"), making self defense illegal, is what we're seeing now. A "classless" society where the government that decides who gets what and has the goods on everybody. It's also self sustaining. Policemen there can't subdue violent criminals or do anything about burglars, but they know how to keep themselves looking busy, drawing pay, and asserting their authority wherever and whenever they can, and it's easiest to prosecute everybody but the criminals. But don't blame them. They're only halfway up the pyramid.

more info for criminals to abuse. (2, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768130)

the fundamental problem with the collection and access to personal identifying information is twofold.

one is that it can start an unfair judgment on a person that can follow them unfairly thru their life.
Wasn't it Einstein whos teacher said he would never be any good at math?

If you don't fit what is considered the norm by the party making the judgement then its ok to abuse you?

And what of the information tied to the personal identifying data? We are human and fully capable of being corrupt or in error and using such information against a person, wrongly.

Meeting expectations (5, Insightful)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768136)

When you treat children as criminals, they'll be hard pressed to avoid meeting your expectations.

Re:Meeting expectations (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768340)

That's the first thing I thought, too. I remember reading about a study someone did on this once. I can't recall all the details, but it went something like this: The researcher went to a classroom of elementary school children and told their teacher that, based on some sort of test, certain children were predispositioned to be intellectual 'bloomers,' whereas others, well, weren't as bright.
Well, the test the kids were given to determine their potential was bogus. Who would bloom and who wouldn't were chosen at random. But, at the end of the year, the kids who were supposed to be smart were scoring higher than the others, despite the fact that they were chosen at random. Subtle social forces affected them that much.
Moral of the story is to beware of self fulfilling prophecies. If you treat someone like they might be a criminal, they most likely will. And, of course, people will just say that's proof of the program working.
Hey, wasn't Einstein a problem child? Didn't work out too bad for him.

Re:Meeting expectations (2, Insightful)

slyn (1111419) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768428)

I don't know who modded this down, but it is true. The details might not be exactly right, but effectively that is what happens. Kid's told they are smart do better, and kids told they are dumb do worse. It would be like if your first post on /. was modded +5 insightful or -1 troll. If you get modded highly chances are your going to continue to comment and read the website, but if your first post gets modded to oblivion and everyone flames you for it you might say "this is stupid, fuck those nerds" or something like that. Only in the case of TFA, the implications are a bit more serious.

Re:Meeting expectations (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768478)

So did the study show that the teacher was susceptible to the power-of-suggestion or the children? i.e. were the children told the results of the 'tests' ?

What's the big deal? (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768142)

What if this follows the same rules as most juvenile records? I know in the states, you get a "second chance" of sorts when you become an adult.

If they're truly criminals, you'd just recollect the sample when they commit another crime, but you still get the DNA and the scare-the-bad-out-of-them factor.

Now, if cloning is involved...

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768262)

Your missing the point, and I can see a lot of people modding you down for it too, even though your questions are fair.

You are relying on, and trusting the governments. They have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted. Reconcile that.

Furthermore, how does one judge the "potential" of a five-year old child? Scare-The-Bad-Out-Of-Them factor? Do you have kids? A five year old can be yelled at repeatedly for a minutes till they are crying and they will perform exactly the same act 10 minutes later. Bill Cosby said it best, "they are brain damaged!".

You are hoping that they will destroy the records at age 18, but I doubt that. It is far too valuable to have DNA records available on everybody. Why would they wait to identify a suspect in a crime, obtain his DNA information by force or trickery, and then compare it against the evidence?

It sounds way too much like the innocent-have-nothing-to-fear argument, IMO.

Inevitability (1)

tymbow (725036) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768156)

Face it, complete DNA sampling of the population is inevitable.

Mind you, I have to ask - if they are so worried about a 5 year old turning into a criminal, why not spend the money sorting the kid out while there 5 rather than dealing with their adult crime?

Re:Inevitability (3, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768234)

Because that is too much of a hippy attitude for this fascist type of thinking. Why bother rehabilitating when you can weed out the ones you think will do something illegal or challenge authority. Which also begs the question what other type of abuse could this DNA sampling be used for? This is one hell of a slippery slope that would be very easily abused. Just think if insurance companies ever got a chance to examine your DNA for diseases which you may be predispositioned for and charged you according to what you rank on their scale, or even refused to allow you to buy insurance. I'm just blown away that someone would even come out and say something like this, much less from someone in such a position of authority.

Re:Inevitability (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768284)

Only if it is allowed. Here in the US we obviously need a constitutional amendment to address this issue.

Well, the solution is obvious (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768158)

Find out everyone in an elected or police position that supports this. Sack them for abuse of their position.

Seriously. Criminal tendencies in pre-school and elementary kids? Considering the howling terrors all kids at that age are, what the fuck are they playing at?

Too early for April fools (4, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768164)

Is this guy serious?

Pugh admitted that the deeply controversial suggestion raised issues of parental consent, potential stigmatisation and the role of teachers in identifying future offenders, but said society needed an open, mature discussion on how best to tackle crime before it took place
So this guy wants basically wants thoughtcrimes to be illegal. This completely reeks of 1984 and I would hate to see this come true and create a terrible precedent where your DNA is taken at birth and your DNA is examined for "potential markers" of a criminal. I know that is a stretch but who ever thought that this would ever happen, and much less even be suggested? I seriously hope this man gets called out for being his nefarious attitude for society and this suggestion gets tossed into the shitter.

Re:Too early for April fools (4, Insightful)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768408)

If this guy wants to stop criminals before they commit crimes, my suggestion is that they take some money from their obviously over budgeted police force, and invest more into their school system.

Interesting idea in the wrong direction. (2, Interesting)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768410)

I think you are right, but since I have karma to burn, I'll provide a counter argument to the idea of collecting DNA for population studies. Profiling people for crime is a rotten idea because it may provide unintended negative outcomes. Profiling people in general, however, might be an interesting experiment into the roles of nature vs. nurture. Maybe there are biomarkers that promote aggressive, submissive, intelligent, funny, etc behaviors. Knowing what markers someone has might enable society to cultivate that person to their fullest potential. The argument about whether we should study these traits, and how to setup comprehensive outcomes measure, shouldn't be dismissed because it is such an emotionally charged issue. Maybe our focus shouldn't be on what makes us bad but what makes us better; you'll notice that there is less of an issue in dealing with genetic treatments for obesity. Sadly, this topic is ripe for abuse by even the most well-intentioned individual. I think that the first question must be, "Should we do this and what are the moral implications?" not "Can we do this?".

Who's the daddy? (2, Funny)

clare-ents (153285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768170)

Providing we do the parents too, the GCSE science project of 'how much dna do I share with my parents' should be awesome fun.

Re:Who's the daddy? (0, Redundant)

Leonard Fedorov (1139357) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768218)

Especially for the kid who doesn't know he's adopted...

We already brand criminals as unemployable (4, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768186)

I know someone who was in prison for a non-felony, got a job through a temp agency was a great worker for Amerigas that people enjoyed. When his temp agency stint was up, they were to consider him for an official hire. Problem? Oh he was a criminal once so even though he was a great worker, they fired him, and wouldn't rehire him through the temp agency.

Re:We already brand criminals as unemployable (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768266)

Same here!! I was remanded for sometime without conviction now getting a Job has proven extremely difficult this has been the case for over 4 years. So I say fuck'em all if you want my talents wasted then so be it I now enjoy the luxury of 4 state benefits and have applied for many more not to mention the other benefits of being unemployed free rent,dentist and where I live free electricity and heating all in all about 10% better off than being employed. Now don't get me wrong I also WORK! ha its great fucking them over but I regret fucking over the tax payers to an extent but hey its the system thats wrong not me!!

Re:We already brand criminals as unemployable (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768270)

You know someone who has a great future in sticking up gas stations.

Re:We already brand criminals as unemployable (1) (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768316)

I know a lot of people who have difficulty getting decent jobs because of past indiscretions. It doesn't necessarily make them bad people. Unfortunately, I have to side with the employers in most cases. If the government were to make it illegal to hire someone who's committed a crime (even a misdemeanor) of any sort, that would be unacceptable. However, I fully respect the right of an employer to base the hiring decision on criminal history (or the lack thereof). To expound upon my position, I believe that all drugs (yes, even crack cocaine, methamphetamine, etc) should be legalized, while allowing employers to conduct private drug testing at their discretion. Drug use, criminal activity, etc are personal choices, and the decision to hire a person is a choice completely at the discretion of employers.

You have to understand some of the deeper problems with hiring a person with a criminal history. Companies can be (and have been) held liable in civil suits for the damaging actions of a dishonest employee in situations where the employer "should have considered" the employee's criminal background. I'll go out on a limb and make the assertion that no company wants to risk costly litigation and damages when they can simply "play it safe" with a thorough background check. I have the additional benefit of being active duty military, and have some insight into the "reasons why" these background checks can be so critical to the hiring process (yes, the Navy is a job, just one with unique lifestyle requirements).

Re:We already brand criminals as unemployable (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768422)

Sometimes it's not a matter of having a criminal record, but whether or not it was disclosed on the application.. Lying on a app is the thing.

When I have done hiring, I have come across many apps with criminal records.. to me the offense was what I judged on.. for example violent crimes and spousal abuse immediately went to the trash., A drunk driving offense if several years old, was ok.. Sad thing is, you would be surprised how little checking is actually done on applications.,, you want honest people, but sometimes they screw themselves out of a job by listing their record, when it usually isn't even checked. (unless the position specifically requires such a check).. course down the road is immediate termination if it's found you lied on your application.

What "behavior" are they talking about? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768192)

One is compelled to wonder _exactly_ what sort of behavior they are talking about here that might indicate the kids will become criminals later in life.

Re:What "behavior" are they talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768404)

One is compelled to wonder _exactly_ what sort of behavior they are talking about here that might indicate the kids will become criminals later in life.

Asking about the constitution. Expressing an interest in voting for Democrats. Suggesting that companies shouldn't be able to pollute indiscriminately.

You know... stuff like that.

I like my solution better (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768198)

We should be allowed to abort the kid until it's 18. After that you got the death penalty. Win-win.

Re:I like my solution better (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768222)

One has to admit... with the death penalty, at least there are no repeat offenses.

Re:I like my solution better (2, Insightful)

thorndt (814642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768272)

Or in the case of the wrongly convicted...first offenses.

Not by the same person (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768332)

However, if you execute someone for a political crime, you might make him a martyr and encourage others to break the law in support of whatever it was he stood for.

The same goes if you execute him for a non-political crime but you do so for political reasons or people think you did so for political reasons.

Re:I like my solution better (1) (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768238)

Dad always said, "I bear half of the responsibility for bringing you into this world, and I can be 100% of the reason you leave it."

Life imitates Hollywood, badly. (2) (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768210)

So the police want to use this sort of system as a way of predicting future criminal activity, which may or may not happen, the interpretation of which is by necessity highly subjective, and would represent an open-ended means of "justifying" targeted monitoring of specific individuals before they're even legally considered responsible for themselves? What a fantastic idea! Let's be sure to include ways to hold the parents retroactively responsible for breeding in the first place, or not drugging their children since they were obviously criminals in the making, or not putting them through intensive "preventive" psychiatric treatment for their future wrongdoings. It's just like Minority Report [] , only they're not even bothering to claim definitive knowledge of future events. Outstanding work, gents!

oddly enough (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768212)

Taking DNA samples from all children is probably a better and more just solution than taking it only from some. That way, society as a whole has to face GATTACA-like issues. If you only take it from children that show "suspicious" behavior, you know that this is going to result in mostly minority children being stuck in databases, and it means that mostly those kids will be exposed to the risk of false DNA matches.

False positive problem? (2, Interesting)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768216)

Maybe someone more knowledgable about forensic genetics can help me here, but my understanding was that at the current level of sophistication, the main value of genetic fingerprinting (which is less specific than full sequencing, but also more robust in the face of contamination, degradation, etc.) was in excluding known suspects (i.e., ruling out the butler) rather than in identifying suspects prospectively (which would be the main reason to set up a database like this). In a country the size of the UK, wouldn't this produce false positives that could be used to argue against the validity of the system?

Re:False positive problem? (1)

DrMindWarp (663427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768470)

AFAIK, there have been two infamous false-positive cases in recent years. These are just the ones we hear about as they are the most egregious. Despite all the other contrary evidence, the DNA 'matches' led the inquiry and resulted in the investigation and arrest of individuals who could not possibly have been involved in the crimes. It is a major concern that the compelling evidence of innocence (like being 200 miles away at the time of the crime) will take a back-seat to the supposedly infallible "DNA match".

There are reports that 1 in 8 DNA records on the database are incorrectly filed. [] []

Yearbook photos (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768236)

Yearbook and school photos are already being used for targeted investigations.

How long before police start scanning in school yearbooks en masse into some giant database, then use data-mining and age-progression to match with crimes caught on video.

It's probably already happening on a small scale but in 20 years it will be the norm. Right now, cost and bang-for-your-buck, rather than privacy issues, is keeping this out of the police arsenal.

On a related note, within 20 years birth certificates and other official IDs will include biometric data. This will be to prevent identity theft, but the same data will be used to mark people from birth. Forget 1984: Revelations 13 anyone?

Re:Yearbook photos (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768484)

How long before police start scanning in school yearbooks en masse into some giant database, then use data-mining and age-progression to match with crimes caught on video.
Now I feel glad I skipped every school picture day in all four years of high school. I guess from now on anyone doing that will instantly be labelled as a future criminal and have their DNA recorded instead. Brilliant...

Life imitates Art (2, Interesting)

niks42 (768188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768242)

Did I read somewhere in the article about these five-year olds being evaluated for their future criminal propensity by three submerged psychic women?

When children are despised (4, Insightful)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768248)

Looking at the UK it's clear why so many of their youth have alcohol problems; hell, why so much of their society does. When a culture shows their young so much disdain and mistrust it's quite clear why this sort of thing happens.
If you grew up with people hating you simply because you're a kid how would you react?

Ever done something stupid ? (4, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768252)

I have. It doesn't mean that I am bad or have criminal tendancies.

If you say you have not then you are probably either: utterly boring; or lying.

All this ''record mistakes and label someone for life'' is stupid. It means that huge numbers are regarded as potential crims and becomes useless.

George Orewell was wrong - he chose a date 25 years too early.

People change (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768368)

Violent tendencies in males tend to peak in the late teens or early 20s.

Other criminal tendencies change over time also.

If someone committed a crime at age 19 and the "profile" says most people who commit that particular crime at age 19 and who go X years after release without committing any new crimes are no more likely than you or me to commit a new one, I say when he hits the "X years clean" mark, seal his record unless there's a darn good reason to think he's still at risk of re-offending.

Re:People change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768504)

In Canada at least, after a certain number of years (depending on the severity of the crime, but for an indictable offense I believe it's 5 years) you can apply for a pardon. By law, an employer may only ask the question "have you ever been convicted of a crime for which you have not been pardoned."

Re:Ever done something stupid ? (1)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768460)

Don't forget the zero-tolerance mania that has destroyed the futures of countless children and young adults. Most days, it seems, I can turn my laptop on and, within two minutes, be reading an article on some heavy-handed school administration suspending or expelling a student for total bullshit reasons--and that includes the time for Windows to boot.

And yes, this and zero-tolerance go hand in hand. Both are ways for people to appear to be "tough on crime" or some jargon like that without actually devoting the tiniest fraction of a thought to their jobs. Neither program will make any iota of difference in crime rates whatever else it is they think they're battling. Imagine, though, if this system came to pass, and someone with "criminal DNA" did something stupid in high school; what would have been "only" an suspension/expulsion turns to something far uglier. Amongst other things, it becomes justification for further expansion of programs like this. It becomes rationalization for the "all your DNA are belong to us" attitude that certain people who are in power, but shouldn't be, have.

Bottom line is that all this is good for is removing people from society in a way that intentionally-duped people will support, and, as others have pointed out, this is a very self-fulfilling prophecy. If Orwell was ahead of his time, what does that make Rene "I think, therefore, I am" Desartes?

There's a greater harm here (5, Insightful)

kentrel (526003) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768254)

This is an outrage. Apart from the obvious and genuine privacy concerns here this would do the very opposite to what the ignorant Gary Pugh is expecting. Hasn't he ever heard of a Self fulling prophecy?

There are many proven psychological reasons [] why this would cause a vast amount of harm to the development of these children This article [] especially illustrates published studies that showed the effect of positive and negative expectation has on children's academic performance

Stopping crime vs hurting "them" (1)

samweber (71605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768292)

Once again, we see the common pattern of people being targeted not because of anything that they've done, but because they are a "bad group". The proposers of things like this, and those people who make those "if you've nothing to hide..." arguments, always believe that THEY are GOOD people. Their plans are for BAD people, and will never affect them. Their kids will never be slightly ill and cranky, and throw a tantrum in kindergarten. Their kids will never be blamed for something that they've never done. Never!

Notice also that this plan is for identifying people -- who someone is. This is a good thing if you are trying to identify the evil "them". However, its not much use for stopping crime, is it? After all, the 9/11 conspirators had perfectly correct and valid visas, so its hardly the case that better means of identification would be useful.

Fucked up kids? (5, Insightful)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768320)

I'd like to get in before too many people start throwing around the term "1984" as if this had anything but the most tenuous connection to the book 1984. Have any of you actually read the book? Not every erosion of privacy is "1984", you know.

Sigh. Anyway. The matter at hand.

I am a former criminal myself, so this matter hits close to home. When I was in my adolescence, I was arrested for breaking and entering, and there was a lot more I did that I didn't get caught for, of course. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm quite successful now, if I say so myself. In my opinion, there are two major reasons why I'm not dead or in jail right now: the John Howard Society (prisoner's rights organization in the Commonwealth), and the Young Offender's Act (which helps keeps the under-18 out of jail).

Being branded as a "criminal" is a big deal. Through the two entities I just mentioned, I spent less than a day in jail and got mandatory counselling and restitution in lieu. I think one of the biggest factors in me turning my life around is that I wasn't branded for the rest of my life. I don't have a record; I don't have to report myself to neighbours. I'm just a regular citizen. It's quite empowering being a regular, fruitful citizen.

What I'm getting at is, even though I avoided it, I recognize the power of stigma. Even if there aren't any concrete restrictions on these kids, just knowing that you're one of the "bad kids" will fuck you up for life. There's no way these kids aren't going to find out they're one of the "bad kids", and once you're branded, it's a really hard uphill battle to get out of that stigma. Everyone looks at them differently; everyone treats them differently. I wouldn't envy them.

Please, won't somebody think of the children?!

Re:Fucked up kids? (1)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768402)

Woops. Please mod me -1, redundant. I missed the big about taking samples from all of them.

Other uses for every kids' DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768342)

You can also use this large DNA databank to help you solve crimes committed by relatives of the kids.

eg: you collect DNA at some crime scene, run it through the computers, and although you don't get a perfect match, you will get a near match from a cousin.

That's it, fuck England (1)

Ethanol (176321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768348)

Let's declare independence and have a separate country.

Come to think of it, I'm surprised no one's thought of that already.

Re:That's it, fuck England (1)

niks42 (768188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768406)

We have. Join us quick while there is still room ..

The Peoples' Independent Republic of Hayling Island

Beautiful (1)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768360)

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers argued that since some schools already take pupils' fingerprints, the collection and permanent storage of DNA samples was the logical next step.

Every time people complain about things like collecting fingerprints from innocent civilians, some idiot comes along and argues that it's perfectly fine and doesn't represent a slippery slope at all. The sad part is that now that it's spelled out (very nearly) entirely, most people are probably still just going to shrug and ignore it.

The boiling frog analogy kind of breaks down when the frog is quadriplegic.

Remember (1)

Gedvondur (40666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768382)

Get out your masks.

        Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
        The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
        I know of no reason
        Why Gunpowder Treason
        Should ever be forgot.
        Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
        To blow up King and Parli'ment.
        Three-score barrels of powder below
        To prove old England's overthrow;
        By God's providence he was catch'd
        With a dark lantern and burning match.
        Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
        Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

UK is already an Orwellian Society (4, Interesting)

elh_inny (557966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768386)

I currently working on my Masters Thesis, touching, among other things on issues related to totalitarian societies.
Even very quick research shows that Great Britain already resembles the grim visions of '1984', 'Brasil' or 'A Clockwork Orange'.
CCTV is widespread, despite showing little or no effect on stopping crime, its usage is spreading.
Old people are already testing the high-frequency buzzers, to annoy and scare teenagers (it's a prime example of being guilty by default).
A visit to any UK international airport terminal leaves no doubt either - you are a dangerous terrorist until proven otherwise.

And now this, which isn't really new either, just a development on what's been going on for some quite time already.

And worst of all, most UK (or US for that matter) citizens don't seem to mind or care. This is very much reminiscent of a pre-WWII Germany.

I don't mean to sound radical or anything, but remember:
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

America what now? (0, Flamebait)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768392)

For all the people claiming that the US is turning into a fascist state and we're losing all our rights and privacy etc... I, for one, am just damn glad I don't live in the UK.

What did your parents and grandparents fight for?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768400)

Might as well have let the bloody Nazis win the way things are going....

Keep it coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22768420)

Some of the new developments here (The Netherlands) since 2001:

-Mandatory ID with Biometric data and RFID chip for all people over 14 and the obligation to show it when asked
-Authority for the police to randomly search people and and ask for ID
-Not being able to travel abroad to or over the US without the US of A wanting to see our data

Some of the developments in the US and EU:

-Detainment without being accused, without trial, without your next of kin even knowing you've been arrested
-Being transported to other countries so they can torture you in hope that you will confess to something
-Phone taps without judicial oversight
-Anti-terrorism legislation being used against people who are not so much suspected of terrorism, but whom the police believe to be involved with something else, without having enough evidence to get a search warrant
-Obligation for ISP's to store email for years

What one might reasonably expect next, wherever you are:

-Secret trials, based on secret information
-Introduction of the "guilty until proven innocent" type of trial
-Powers for the police to arrest you for looking "funny" or "somewhat suspicious"
-Broad emergency powers for the current government, to be used at discretion
-Move of US constitution to Whitehouse bathroom for use as toilet paper

The more authority the police and intelligence services get, the fewer the protections for citizens (let alone people travelling) there are, the more likely the possibility becomes that ordinary citizens will become a victim of abuses of these powers, the more their privacy is at risk. Recently there was a news item about hospital personell being fired for looking at Britney Spears' medical records. Does anyone really believe people will care if -their- data is looked at by some bored police officer? Do they really think that all this data is "secure"? In the UK there have been several cases of very personal data just being -lost-, with all the consequences thereof. The more we move in this direction, the more I think people are naive. We should not allow ourselves to be cowed by fear mongerors. More people die in traffic accidents each year, than in terrorist attacks. Yet, do we outlaw cars or arrest car makers because automobiles aren't safe enough? Of course not, we've adjusted. Would I like to be blown up by terrorists? No, but the odds are good. Let the police and intelligence agencies keep doing what they're doing. Let judges decide if they should be granted more powers on a case-by-case basis, after careful scrutiny, and within the extents of existing law. Let us even repeal some of the now existing laws because they go way too far already, without any serious added benefits. However, once legislation like this is in place, people will find a use for it, even if that is different from what was intended and it will be hard to repeal such laws.

What do you mean it works? Several so-called terrorists have been caught because of all of these intrusive new laws? Yeah, like those people in Gitmo, who still are awaiting trial because we have so much evidence against them, several having been released already WITHOUT EVER HAVING HAD A TRIAL? Or the people the CIA sent abroad to be tortured, so maybe they'd confess to something? Or one of the dozens of other people we don't even know about?

Yes, soon we will all be able to live in fear of the state, the intelligence services and the police and then we will no longer have to fear the terrorists... we will welcome them or even join them. How sad is that?

Obligatory FDR quote: "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." Oh, and remember that FDR himself was the one who authorised imprisoning thousands of Japanese Americans, because of their ethnicity and without any other reason, during WW2. Even FDR, widely respected as one of the greatest American presidents, was not strong enough to rise above good, old, plain fear. Are we?

new discrimination (2, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768434)

genetic discrimination is near....sorry bob we cant hire you, your dna indicates you have a 70% chance of cancer...thats too expensive for our health care premiums

Petition the PM (1)

Zedekiah (1103333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768440)

In a possibly futile attempt to influence the government, I have created a petition (not up yet, pending approval), that shall be found here when it is accepted: []
If any British citizens/expats could sign, it'd do us all a whole lot of good

Write to your MP (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768494)

I've never seen anything good come from that site. It pretends to be useful, but a while ago I went through and signed about 300 petitions, and I've had responses from the PM's team for most of them by now -- all just make excuses!

Much more useful is writing to your MP: []
It need only take 10 minutes. I think a badly written letter to your MP would be worth much more than ticking a box on the petitions site.

Stop fucking around. (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22768492)

Demand DNA samples from the entire population or get a real fucking job. This fuckin' around isn't kidding anyone, except the people who want to be fooled, and it's annoying the hell out of anyone with a brain and basic reasoning ability.

As for the people in the States that actually believe the beloved Constitution prevents this sort of thing, remember that NatSec can supercede almost any damn thing. Yes, that includes your right to privacy.
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