I’ve posted before about the UK’s DNA database holding information about the innocent as well as the guilty and the difficulties of getting your information removed once it’s there. 1 in 13 people in the UK are currently on the database.
Well, today a case in the European Court has found that the UK government uses the database in a “blanket and indiscriminate way” with a “disproportionate interference into private life“.
The case was brought by two people, one of whom was 11 (or 12, depending on which report you read) when charged, but not convicted, of theft. Holding information on innocent people, the court ruled, carried the “risk of stigmatisation” and that the state had overstepped the mark by retaining the information.
Hopefully the government will now be forced to remove any records for people who were never found guilty of a crime.
Interestingly, the BBC are already scaremongering over the issue, pointing out on their TV news coverage that the man convicted of the murders of several prostitutes in Ipswich, Steve Wright, was caught because his DNA was on the database from a previous conviction for theft. “If he hadn’t been convicted“, we are warned, “and his profile had been deleted, he might have killed again “. Shades of “if you haven’t done anything wrong then you’ve nothing to hide” there from the Beeb.
Yet another reason to be glad that we’re in the EU and a chance to hear that phrase that brings joy to the heart;
Jacqui Smith, said she was “disappointed”