Select Committee Report into Privacy: GeneWatch

As part of the House of Lords select committee investigation into privacy, entitled “The Impact of Surveillance and Data Collection upon the Privacy of Citizens and their Relationship with the State”ne of these was GeneWatch UK. numerous bodies and individuals were asked to report on their areas of expertise. O

The GeneWatch report, submitted in June 2007, made several damming statements about the UK Governments policy on DNA retention. Including:

  • England and Wales are the only countries in the world which keep DNA from innocent people, for life
  • The permanent retention of all DNA profiles, samples and police records, significantly changes the relationship between the individual and the State.
  • The retention of a persons DNA profile also allows their movements to be tracked, or their relatives identified and tracked.
  • As a DNA match does not provide certainty that the individual committed the crime – e.g a DNA match could be from a passer-by, a witness, another victim,, etc. As a result this causes a subtle shift in the burden of proof and the presumed innocent of people on the DNA database.
  • Despite the huge increase in the DNA database this has not resulted in a huge increase in crime detection.
    • The report shows that collecting more DNA from more crime scene increase the probability of a result, however increasing the amount of people on the database does not significantly increase the probability of resolving crime via DNA.
    • Since April 2003, about 1.5 million extra people have been added to the Database (an increase of over 200%), but the chances of detecting a crime using DNA has remained roughly constant, at about 0.36%.

With the UK Government currently awaiting the results from ECHR for the Marper and S case, the EU writing letters for an explanation of Phorm, the House of Lords critiquing the Prum convention, and the House of Lords select committee publishing reports such as this, when will the government think that its the UK government out of step an not the “pinko liberals”?


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One Response to “Select Committee Report into Privacy: GeneWatch”

  1. Select Comitte Report into Privacy: ARCh « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] Data – Where is it? Where is your data? Who collects, controls, and searches it? « Select Comittee Report into Privacy: GeneWatch […]


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