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Thread: DNA database 'breach of rights'

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    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Default DNA database 'breach of rights'

    For the first time in history the Eurpean court of human rights has actually proved useful for something!

    Two men who had their fingerprints and DNA retained by the police, even though they had not committed ANY crime.


    "The judges said keeping the information "could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society". Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was "disappointed" by the European Court of Human Rights' decision. " - BBC News

    This puts a massive spanner in the works for Labour's big brother policies. One in five people apparently have their DNA and fingerprints retained by police, even though they have committed no crimes. This landmark case could mean that all those samples may have to be destroyed, brilliant!

    I think this also has impications for ID cards, as the same argument could quite easily be used against them.
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    I'm not a supporter of ID cards but the DNA database is of proven value. There should be adequate safeguards put in place and it should be a government department rather than a private company running it.By and large I'm in favour of everybody in the country being on it.

    How many rapists and murderers have been convicted purely by dna evidence alone. As far as I'm concerned if it saves lives then the case is made. All thats left is that proper procedures are put in place to manage it.

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    Hi Sarah,

    My problem with it, is that no government should have that much power over its people. It is also the assumption that everyone is guilty until proven innocent, which is what the argument of mandatory DNA samples inevitably leads to.

    We have to draw the line somewhere between protecting the people, and forcing people to obey the government, I think mandatory DNA samples cross that line. I don't think it's fantastical to consider the near future either, genetics is making huge leaps - take for instance, the women who recently had a new lung tube grown for her. How soon before DNA can be used to map out how your brain develops, and what kind of a person you may be, what your habits, sexuality, and preferred tastes might be. Even if not in the near future, this may well be a possibility. It could also be exploited in other ways, body parts and prints could be grown to fake someone's identity, not even science fiction now, but fact.

    If you like, our DNA is our biological ID card, do you trust this or any government to guard it safely?

    I do understand that it has been of huge benefit in fighting crime, and I have no problem with convicted criminals having their data stored, it's the price you pay for crime. But innocent people? I have a real problem with that. What happens when DNA is no longer enough, and ID cards are no longer enough? Chip implants maybe?

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm lecturing you know, these comments are aimed at the world in general. I believe you probably understand all this already, noted by your objection to ID cards. I just believe very passionately that surrendering everything about ourselves to the government is very dangerous, and that seems to be where we are slowly heading.

    Welcome to the forums.
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    The Friendly Ghost! Casper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah.rslp View Post
    I'm not a supporter of ID cards but the DNA database is of proven value. There should be adequate safeguards put in place and it should be a government department rather than a private company running it.By and large I'm in favour of everybody in the country being on it.

    How many rapists and murderers have been convicted purely by dna evidence alone. As far as I'm concerned if it saves lives then the case is made. All thats left is that proper procedures are put in place to manage it.

    Hi Sarah, good to see someone with an opposing view. I have some points and questions to put to you and others in favour of the DNA database.

    Firstly, what is to stop criminals from stealing your DNA and placing it in their crime scene?

    How would one prove that he wasn't at the scene of a crime if someone had rummaged through his waste for a tissue covered in snot or sperm and had wiped it across a crime scene?

    There is a recent case of a Scottish police woman who's finger print was found at the scene of the crime. The crime happened whilst she was on duty with the sergeant in a totally different part of town. She was however prosecuted, and lost her job. The verdict of the prosecution was "not proven", meaning she is still a suspect, even though 15 police men, including her Sergeant and Inspector can vouch for where she was at the time.

    In Britain finger print, and now DNA evidence, take precedence over all other evidence. DNA is regarded as the most full proof use of evidence. Unfortunately, DNA evidence could be used deviously once the DNA national Database of all citizens is established.

    Don't you see how the burden of proof is being reversed in a future of a DNA National Database so that the defence would have to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt? All it would take is a perpetrator to steal your DNA and plant it at the scene of the crime, and you're presumed guilty.

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    I am fully in favour of a DNA database. I think all new-born babies should be so registered.
    Of course there should be more common sense used than happened with the lady mentioned above. In other words, DNA should only be one factor to consider as to wether a person really did commit a crime.
    Generally, used properly, no law abiding citizen, has anything to fear from DNA use.

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    Senior Member Stephen H's Avatar
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    I have a great deal of scepticism for the DNA database.
    Dont get me wrong, I can see the need for it and the value of the information it contains. What does worry me is this, here in the UK we have had thousands of instances of women being wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer after screening.
    The vast majority of those mistakes were made simply by an operator/clerk, inputting the wrong data against the wrong patients name.

    Now if we cant control something like breast screening results, then how are we going to control a DNA database.?

    Yes Yes, I do realise that during the course of the investigation, it would probably materialise that yoour DNA code does not match that os the person they are looking for, but imagine this.
    It is 4 am in the morning, the police smash down your door and arrest you on suspicion of murder due to your supposed DNA match. Despite your protests and those of your screaming wife and kids, they cart you off down to London (where the crime was commited) for questioning.
    The same morning, the media report on your arrest and your hometowns street is swamped with reporters all trying to find out your background information.
    That same afternoon, the police do a DNA test and realise they have arrested the wrong person, it appears your name was placed against the wrong DNA sample on the database.

    So off you trot back home to try to explain to everyone that it was all a big mistake, the reporters are still in your street because now they want your story on the wrongfull arrest, your wife is on medication and the kids cant go to school, your employer wants some sort of guarantee that non of this involves you etc etc, you can see where I am going with this, all because someone managed to wrongly record the correct name against the correct DNA sample.

    There is too much at stake and too many innocent lives could be ruined by our haphazard way of doing things.

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    Yes Stephen, you are right that mistakes of the kind you cited, can happen. However; I suggest it is rare and that the odd mistalke is better than not apprehending the criminal, who goes on to kill others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronlizpatsimon View Post
    Yes Stephen, you are right that mistakes of the kind you cited, can happen. However; I suggest it is rare and that the odd mistalke is better than not apprehending the criminal, who goes on to kill others.
    Isn't that suggesting, it is better to convict one guilty man than let 1000 innocent men go free?
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

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    No, "eatmywords". It is not the same thing. If, on a remote island, with 1001 inhabitants, a murder is committed, and Evidence is found (DNA or Fingerprints or anything else) which incriminates one person; then, unless contradictory evidence is found; that person will be convicted and the other 1000 will go free.
    If you think that DNA, or Fingerprints, or any other particular type of evidence should not be used as evidence; you may as well not bother with a police force; just let criminals enjoy their "human rights" and carry out their crimes unmolested.

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    Senior Member Stephen H's Avatar
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    Ronlitz

    Sorry buddy, the odd mistake is not better, certainly not better for the person it happens to, such an event can destroy the lives of the innocent as surely as any murderer destroys the lives of their victims.

    The way I look at it is this, if a system is not 100% infallable and of no threat to innocent bystanders, then it should not be used, using your criteria it is akin to setting an atomic bomb off in a terrorist infested city like Londonistan and the fall out reaches innocent people like me in Cornwall.

    Tongue in cheek!

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