In September 2007 the ICO made the following statement about the UK DNA database:
“Society needs to take a very long and very hard look at this issue before a universal database of everyone’s DNA is considered. I welcome a debate on the future of the database especially as there is unfairness with the current system and the issue has received little public debate to date. However, to extend the database further has serious implications for people’s privacy in this country.
There are significant risks associated with creating a universal database: it would be highly intrusive, and the more information collected about us, the greater the risk of false matches and other mistakes. The potential for technical and human error leading to serious consequences cannot be under estimated.
There are also significant practicalities to address, such as keeping track of people, and keeping the records up to date and accurate. A proper public debate is needed about whose DNA should be held, for how long and with what safeguards. The Data Protection Act provides the framework for protecting people’s personal information and balancing the need to prevent and detect crime. The ICO will engage constructively in the debate and expects to be fully involved in the consideration of any firm proposals that the government develops.”
Despite the ICO’s concerns about the DNA database and a call for a public debate, the UK government continues to push ahead with the plans to share DNA data, in a “genetics, database”.
Posts on this subject are available below
The full statement from the ICO can be downloaded here – ico-statment-about-dna