back to article Human rights court rules UK DNA grab illegal

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that it is illegal for the government to retain DNA profiles and fingerprints belonging to two men never convicted of any crime. The landmark decision could mean the more than 570,000 DNA profiles in the National DNA Database belonging to innocent individuals will have to be deleted …


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  1. alan

    Damn Right

    I take it all back europe your sins are forgiven :)

  2. Dave

    Business As Usual

    I see our loveable Home Secretary is saying that we're keeping the law in place while things are reviewed. I see that as "while we look for a loophole that means we get to keep the database".

    The law should be changed so that DNA is only added to the database on conviction.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    EU as a counter balance...

    The EU keep proving itself as a welcomed dose of sanity compared to the UK's over reaching abuse of powers. Fingers crossed the common sense will linger for at least a decade or two...

  4. bobbles31
    Thumb Up

    Who would have thought?

    That our very freedom is being protected not by our elected officials but by the House of Lords and the European Court of Human rights.

    The irony is not lost on me.

  5. Richard
    Thumb Up


    Score one for the little guy.

  6. James

    Just occasionally ...

    ... something good and sensible comes out of the European system.

    Jaqui Smith - as was pointed out recently - Orwells 1984 is NOT an instruction manual - IT IS A WARNING. And if you're too stupid to know the difference you should not be a Minister.

  7. TMS9900

    Great news!

    Sounds like a victory for common sense and decency. Great stuff.

    However, I must admit that there is a part of me that simply doesn't trust our government, or our police force.

    We've all seen in recent years how our authoritarian and draconian government have 'turned' our police force against the public they serve. In my mind, and it brings me pain to say it, the police are now 'the enemy of the state', second only to our goverment.

    Are the police these days not simply an instrument of government to crack down on it's public, removing free choice and free will? Are they not simply government sanctioned censors? ("You can't say that. You can do that. You can't think that. You can't take that photograph here." etc.) It seems to me they are.

    Our government/police (I've concatenated the two words, because I now believe them to be one and the same) have, it seems, quite literally taken leave of thier senses. One local force in Scotland has taken it upon themselves (they presumably see it as their responsibility) to hand out flip-flops to local drunk women out on the town "because they might hurt themselves while walking home without some sensible footware". Meanwhile, your house is getting burgled, while some copper on the high-street is saying "Ooh, you look like a size 5 love, and this colour matches your skirt beautifully!"

    And therefore, with a heavy heart, I have to say, that even with this ruling in the European courts, I simply do not trust our police or government to delete this information from their databases. They simply won't do it. It would kill them to do it. What they will probably do, in some self-righteous sense of warped logic, is create a second database to hold the details of those individuals who have had their information 'deleted'. In their minds, these people are not 'innocents'. They are merely people who they 'failed to catch the first time'.

    Of course, our governement will now appeal to the European courts, so we haven't heard the last of it. I have to say though, thank god for the european courts, at least, in this particular instance, because you certainly can't rely on our law lords to stick up for their own general public.

    Viva la Europe! <--- cor, look at that! Three languages in three words! How european am I?!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    a. roll over and accept it?

    b. spend loads of taxpayers money contesting it?

  9. bobbles31

    "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement."

    I wonder how far I would get with this if I failed in defense of an IR35 judgement.

    "The money will stay in my bank account whilst I carefully consider the judgement."

    Fuck off wacky, and the rest of you. New Year New Gov.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The case was won on a discrimination point

    So Wacky's response will be to DNA test everyone and it will be a criminal offence not too allow a DNA sample to be taken.

    See no discrimination, just criminals.

    Simple (Well in Wacky's mind anyway)

  11. Jimmy Floyd
    Thumb Up

    Trés bien

    I know it's fashionable to bash the EU and the UK membership thereof, decrying the loss of sovereignty and national freedom blah blah blah....

    Equally, however, it must be recognised that sometimes - just sometimes - our elected representatives utterly screw up and we need someone bigger and LESS accountable to rise above petty politics and set us straight. God only knows why the opposition parties didn't.

    A 17-member unanimous verdict? That's a pretty clear slap for Nu Stalin^H^H^H^H^H^H Labour.

  12. Phil Hare

    Jacqui Smith... the greatest threat to civil liberty this country has faced since the 1940's. End of.

    Reg, can we have a Wackie Jacqui icon please?

  13. Sleepy
    Thumb Up


    Looking in from the outside, I have to say that the British government scares the bejeesus out of me at times. The EU may come up with a lot of pointless rubbish, but they're usually spot on when it comes to human rights.

  14. Andus McCoatover

    Delay tactics...

    "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement"

    They could "carefully consider" it for 50 years....

  15. Justabloke
    Thumb Up


    ... a sensible decision from the European court... and a predictable retort from Smith as the mouth peice of the gov. They really don't give a stuff about our rights at all.

    If only I believed that getting rid of this lot and replacing them with the other lot would make one jot of difference :(

  16. goggyturk

    @ Great News...

    >One local force in Scotland has taken it upon themselves (they presumably see it as their >responsibility) to hand out flip-flops to local drunk women out on the town "because they might >hurt themselves while walking home without some sensible footware".

    Maybe it's different in England, but in most Scottish towns, most crime happens in town centres at the weekend, so the police are actually doing their jobs by being there at that time. Also, giving out footwear to women will keep them out of the overflowing (at that time of night) A&E department of the local hospital.

    Other than that, I agree with what you say. The Plods will delete that data over their dead bodies.

    There is a delicious possibility that they could end up arresting the minister that orders them to get rid. Now that would be funny.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    And here's how we shall do it...


    ADD Deleted BIT

    IF DNAProfile.Conviction IS null


    SET Deleted = 1


    And on the store proc...

    WHERE Deleted <> 1

    Which is great, all appropriate records are 'deleted' but with the handy fail-safe in case anyone deletes an incorrect record.

    Top Stuff.

    Anon because... well, you saw what happened to Mr Green, right?

  18. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Up

    @Phil Hare & Reg

    Motion seconded - we NEED a Wacqui Jacqui icon!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Home secretary Jacqui Smith said: "

    Who fucking cares what she said? It's always the same, tired refrain with a few rearranged keywords.

    How nice, after an endless stream of "all your civil liberties are belong to us" stories, to hear one in which Wacky + Co get a first class kicking. Another 2,379 stories like this and we'll be back where we were before the Stalinist Tendency took over in 1997.

    I feel safer already.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Assuming that the admins of the DB are together enough to have some kind of backup strategy, then what are the technical implications of removing the information? I suppose they have to go through the backups and make sure the DNA profiles are deleted from those as well? Does that mean that someone has to go and update all the tape archives in secure off site storage too? How far back do they keep backups for, I wonder?

    Mine's the one with the stack of "mislaid" CDs in the pocket.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wonder how they are going to be removed from the back-up tapes that contain a full dump of the database?

    Of course that assume that the operators have a full data integrity plan.

  22. Sergie Kaponitovicz
    Thumb Up


    "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."

    Edward Abbey

    In this instance Michael Marper and "S" are true patriots.

  23. Ian Chard

    When they delete the database

    can I have the servers?

  24. Eddie

    I'm very surprised

    By the vehemence of the statements of the European court - ' "failed to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests," and that the UK government "had overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard" '(copied from

    With this level of feeling from the Euro court, and given that it was HMG that was defending against this action, so they should have presented all their evidence, I think - and I hope - that our beloved leaders will have their work cut out getting an appeal to go through, but they will no doubt use the years of time that will be created by loathsome lawyers arguing about anything they can to justify millions in expenses, to ensure that the database is vastly bigger than it is now.

    As was pointed out on the Radio 4 news today, the proportion of crimes solved by the DNA evidence is dropping fast - down 12% and 16% in consecutive years.

    This next sentence is going to stick in my throat - I hope that the Tories get into power next time, they at least have the guts to stand up the specious crap that the Police use to justify their increasing abuse of powers (although with the shenanigans that went on with Mr Green, I think there are a large number of MPs starting to question whether they have become too big for their never know, leopards may change their spots)

    Of course, even if they say that they have deleted the records of the innocent people from the database, how will they prove it? And will we believe them?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This is why we have a House of Lords and the EU...

    Don't write them all off just yet. The HoL voted down the 42 day detention and forced the HoC to backtrack. The HoL has its uses, and it would definitely be a shame if it was 'reformed' by NuLabour (especially when that means that they can stack the deck in their favour). Leave the HoL alone, they do have a purpose.

    And as much as the EU suffers from over-eagerness and over-regulation more often than not, it does help us as consumers, us as common people, and us as innocents.

    This judgment is a huge win for us. Yes, that means that sometimes suspects slip through the net, but FFS - keeping a DNA profile of someone who is clearly not a danger just because 'it's procedure, we have to do it to make any further issues simpler' is not on. I left countries with overbearing regimes because of this... don't make me leave the UK too.

  26. Nomen Publicus
    Black Helicopters

    Jaqui Smith - Crypto-fascist

    Jaqui Smith is a "clear and present danger" to freedom in this country and should be fired as soon as possible.

    You can't treat everybody as a criminal just on the off chance that they do something illegal at some indefinite time in the future. It's a policy based on fear and paranoia.

    For the sake of the country, Gordon, grow some balls and fire the woman!

  27. James

    DNA - In your Face Jacqui!

    I will enjoy my doob later this evening, oh boy!

  28. A J Stiles
    Thumb Up

    So does this mean

    Great news!

    This might just be the best thing to come out of Europe since sensible measurements.

    Meanwhile, what's your legal position if you were convicted on the basis of DNA evidence that was retained illegally?

  29. John Young

    @"EU as a counter balance... "

    The European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU.

    Think more Council Of Europe.

  30. Andus McCoatover

    Reg, can we have a Wackie Jacqui icon please?

    No need. She'll be out shortly. Alternatively until the Revolution, we could make do with the one I've used.

    stunning likeness....

  31. Michael Fremlins

    Award the costs against the House of Lords pension fund

    It does seem incredible that the judges in this country fail to protect us from the Nazi tactics of the state. They need to be reminded who pays them.

  32. Nemo Metis
    Thumb Up


    I'm waiting for the last buzzword to appear in context here - Machiavellian. We've had the rest.

    We really, really need a Wacky Jacqui icon El Reg, sort it!

    I think this is a great move, and i didn't see it coming. The first good thing to come out of Europe in forever. Let's hope the law is water tight and hermeticallyt sealed so there is no way around it!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is really good news and (dispite what the gov/rozzers think) will make the DNA database work much more efficiently once all the noise (innocents) has been removed.

    As an aside, can we have a 'stop requesting new icons' icon?

  34. Luther Blissett


    You thieving nu labour bastards. Not that Luther expects his personal property to be eradicated by Plod, as long as nu labour are paying him to keep it. Next we need this bunch of nu insect overlard lackeys, toadies and recidivists declared war criminals and personna non grata. Too famous to be gulagged, too far gone to be rehabilitated, confiscate their passports and buy them a one-way plane ticket out of the country.

  35. Steven
    Thumb Up

    Thank you again EU

    After the police illegally took my fingerprints and DNA some years back for something I was never even charged with, I'll be glad to have some hope of finally having them wiped from their big brother databse.

  36. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters


    This was, apparently, a unanimous verdict by the 17 Euro-beaks, so, hopefully, the chances of El Wacqui and her cohorts overturning this will be slim.

    We all know, however, that El Wacqui will never submit to this ruling. The Gov't will just lodge appeal after appeal, wasting taxpayers money in the process, to ensure that the database stays.

    On another point, If storing DNA profiles on an Über-Database is deemed "a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for private life", then that must surely call into question the legality of storing biometric data on the proposed NIR? There is little difference in function between being able to ID someone by their DNA (in the DNA database) and ID them by fingerprint (in the NIR).

    Keep banging in the nails. Eventually the lid on the NuLabour coffin will be sealed and we can bury the whole sorry, snooping, bunch of them.

  37. Jimmy Floyd

    Hang on

    I've just had a thought: does this mean that Dominic Green MP has now had his DNA added to the database?!?

  38. Richard Johnson

    criminals in government

    So the government and police have been found to be breaking the law. But they announce they are going to carry on breaking the law while they review the situation. How can that be tolerated?

    By the way, the European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ECHR != EU

    They are completely different organisations.

    Having said which - bloody good decision, Jacqui really is having a shitola week isn't she?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Victory for Liberty

    I'm glad the Court (not that I'm a big fan) voted that the database violated human rights. If there is an expansion then it should be of ALL CONVICTED criminals (I read somewhere today 2 million aren't included on it). Most people I know don't have a good word for the police. The words 'police state' are bandied around a lot as well. It isn't a good state of affairs where there's such a low opinion of the police.

  41. OG


    Another victory for the paranoid and those that have something to hide.

  42. The Other Steve

    Who will rid me of this turbulent pie faced fascist ?

    "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement."

    Let's unpack that a bit, the existing law has just been nullified by the ECHR, it is therefore illegal for the police to continue to retain the DNA records of those who have never been charged with crime (which as of this moment includes Damien Green, MP).

    But JackBoot Smith says she will order the police to continue breaking the law until she's had a bit of a think about it ? Fuck. Right. Off.

    Unfortunately, I agree with Dave, that means she'll keep right on "while we look for a loophole that means we get to keep the database".

    The woman is incapable of realising that she can be wrong, so what happens now is that she will pick up a copy of the HRA, have a read through the many, various and massive loopholes, pick one, and introduce some legislation, or in her case, more likely some kind of emergency regulation that she won't have to consult parliament about that allows her to use one of them to do what the hell she pleases.

    It's disgusting.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One for the lawyers

    Now the highest court in Europe has concluded that the UK has breached the ECHR, does this mean that anyone else who has had their records retained on the database can sue the government?

  44. Shakje

    Re: Victory for Liberty

    On the other hand, there are more bobbies on the beat round here, and the police are genuinely nice and helpful. The real worry for me is that the actions of Ms. Wacki aren't helping people's opinions of the people that actually do a good job.

  45. Sweep

    @ Great News

    There is a common misconception that if police weren't spending their time doing stuff like handing out flipflops they'd be off apprehending child molesters and solving murders. This is bollocks. What the fuzz would normally be doing on friday and saturday nights is either sitting in a van out the way playing cards or standing in line at the chip shop.

    I work as a bouncer in a pub/club, in Glasgow. If the police here wanted to give out flip-flops to the daft lassies walking home barefoot at 3am I'd be more than happy about it as it;

    a) stops the stupid bints coming moaning to me that their feet are cold/cut/mucky.

    b) gets the lazy pigs out their nice warm vans and out into the cold with the rest of us.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Waiting - buzzword

    Don't you mean Jacquiavellian!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > The first good thing to come out of Europe in forever.

    Ooooh apart from perhaps the longest period of peace and stability within the region (member states) since probably about the the 15th Century?

    Personally - with this current bunch of monkeys running/ruining the UK and the opposition looking no better - I'd rather just dissolve the whole UK Gov and become a vassal state of "Europe" thanks. EU Gov have just as many stupid ideas and as much bureaucracy as our own politicos but they do occasionally have some good ideas and by keeping UK Gov we're doubling up on the bureaucracy.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    It'll only get worse

    You're crazy if you think this is a good thing. The judgment was based on discrimination, that is, it's possible that people on the DNAR will be discriminated against in favour of those who are not. Next step for HMG: remove all potential for discrimination by putting the whole UK populace on the DNAR...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we please remove both icons and titles please?

    "I strongly believe DNA and fingerprints play an invaluable role in fighting crime and bringing people to justice."

    She just doesn't get it, does she?

    Wacky, we do not give a flying fuck what plays an invaluable role in fighting crime. Our rights are more important than that, CAPISH?

  50. Paul
    Thumb Up

    Not the EU

    @John Young - correct!

    The European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU.

    It rules on the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The European Court of Justice is the European Union's court - ruling on EU Law.

    I think the confusion of naming is deliberate so the EU mistakenly gets some good press.

  51. Dave Stark

    Ha ha ha ha

    Get it right up ye', Jacqui.

  52. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton

    @ Nemo Metis

    How about "Jacquiavellian" ?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jacqui Smiths 'Emergency DNA bill'

    She'll do what she did with the 42 detention bill: She'll craft an EMERGENCY bill, then at the next problem, when the newspapers are hysterically overreacting, she'll whip up a bit of hysteria and force it through.

    Legislation that is a hysterical overreaction can only be passed during times of hysteria. That's why she's always trying to whip up a hysteria over every little threat, incoherent screaming of exaggerated threats.







    Can't wait to get rid of the bitch, I hate the way the UK has folded in on itself with CCTV everywhere, everyone afraid of everyone else, borders closed, everyone viewed as a criminal to be monitored. I'd hate to think how screwed up her mind is, if her actions are anything to go by.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    "...while we carefully consider the judgement"

    Yeah right, when has this government *carefully considered* anything ever?

    Can we tax it? no? can we make it illegal? no? ah well, we'd best "carefully consider" it then -


  55. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    Oppose the EU

    The EU are NOT your friend! The Prum Convention shows what the EU thinks of your privacy rights.

    Under the Prum Convention, police across the European Union will have free access to the DNA database as well as fingerprints, and vehicle and driver registrations.

    The (non-EU) European Court of Human Rights may be a small restraint on their ambitions.

  56. Rolf Howarth


    "You're crazy if you think this is a good thing. The judgment was based on discrimination, that is, it's possible that people on the DNAR will be discriminated against in favour of those who are not"

    No it wasn't, it was based on article 8, the right to respect for private and family life. Otherwise that would have been my thought too, that they'd try to DNA fingerprint all of us.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting attitude to the law

    'Home secretary Jacqui Smith said: "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement."'

    Hmmm, good thing that attitude is not more widespread among the criminal classes. "After being found guilty of murder, the Whitehall Disemboweler said: "I shall remain at liberty while I carefully consider the judgment".

    What kind of example does it set to UK citizens when our own Home Secretary is told by a court of law that what she is doing is illegal, and that she must stop doing it, but instead says that she will think it over (and then presumably do whatever comes up her back)?

  58. CrestaMan
    Black Helicopters

    A new Database?

    Will she just create a law abiding citizens DNA database and move details accross when you are sent down!!!

  59. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    So if I get this right

    We MUST have biometric passports because the EU says we must. No excuses. Love to challenge it. Can't.

    However, we CANNOT delete data we don't need just because the EU says we must. No way. Love to. Can't.

    Wow. Are there evil twins of EVERYONE in NuLab government? (And I don't mean one evil twin one good twin, they're both evil).

  60. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    Excellent news but...

    "Jacqui Smith: Law to remain while judgment 'carefully considered'" in other words: whilst we try to find a way to weasel out of it...

    PS Jacquiavellian! I love it!!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Jacqui Smith's Emergency DNA Bill

    I'd laugh only that's just the kind of thing she would do. She will try and find a way of getting legislation through that makes the illegal retention legal.

    When is the next election due?

  62. Michael

    Careful Consideration

    "Do we find a way round it, or do we just assume that the number of people who complain won't be enough to damage the economy?"

  63. bobbles31


    "Next step for HMG: remove all potential for discrimination by putting the whole UK populace on the DNAR."

    The only way they will get my DNA is as a swab from my corpse.

  64. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: ECHR != EU

    However, this is forgotten when the ECHR rulings is touted as "letting the criminals have all the rights". THEN the difference between the ECHR and the EU are forgotten.

    And, oddly, never brought up.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    crime free = more rights

    "we do not give a flying fuck what plays an invaluable role in fighting crime. Our rights are more important than that" so you think our right to freedom is more important than fighting crime, well lets let all the prisoners out then. our right to live in a safe country is more important than fighting crime (huh? how dose that one work?) have you never had a crime committed against you? if you did, did the police find any finger print or dna evidence? also did you want that guy found? if so, how do you expect that they find the person that committed the crime?

    not only would it help crime it would stop all these john and jane doe's bodies appearing because they would be able to be found by dna and their families would be able to have some closure.

    if they had a voluntary scheme to collect dna then i would be first in line.

    Paris cos she can have some of my dna any day

  66. Anonymous Coward

    The British Government are bigger cnuts than my neighbours

    It seems they take the same approach to legal bollocks - if the answer's not right, delay and delay and delay.

    What they need to do is wake up and smell the coffee; the public perception is not of the good that this can achieve when employed correctly but of the bad feeling the public gets in general about it. Negative press by far outweighs the odd success story.

    Some might say that the UK and US governments welcomed 9/11 as the chance to hammer into civil liberties. Frankly, looking at the evidence, I'd agree with them.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    They went to war without legal basis, hardly seems like this would give them much pause.

    The idea of the Government/police giving up powers... just doesn't seem likely I'm sad to say.

    Once they get them, they will fight tool and nail and invent every possible excuse why they need to keep them.

  68. Anonymous Coward

    nnocent until proven guilty

    I'm sure the NDNADB does provide matches which help solve crimes and some of those will be very nasty crimes such as serial rapists.

    But Wacky Jacqui needs to realise that just because the police have arrested you for something which they have then decided NOT to charge you with DOES NOT mean you are a latent criminal. The "Oh you've done something almost criminal once... so you'll go out and do something really nasty in the future and this way we've got you" is the sort of thing that Stalin or Hitler would have been proud of.

    Yes I know that most criminals are repeat offenders but just because you've done something criminal once does not mean you'll do something criminal again.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I live in the People's Republic of Sarth Yaarkshire [sic] and would like to offer the following to everyone who made this story possible.

    It's nice to know that while in many areas of life (such as manners, education, a job market, and so on) the entire area lags behind the rest of the UK by as much as 50 years, our Police Force lead the country in the kind of brainless stupidity we've come to associate with everything they do: There are even some who say this one enormous effort of will alone could put them in the running for first prize at the Sheffield Convention of Fuckwits to be held later this year. I'm currently sat in Leeds (it's the only place round here that has decent jobs), but from my office I can hear the cheering gales of laughter and scorn echoing from the seven hills of my home, and see the bright red glow as 10,000 blushing constables light the daytime sky.

    So, SYPF, from me, to you - my most heartfelt thanks and gratitude:


    You twats.

  70. Vincent

    Well, someone has to say it...

    I, for one, welcome our European overlords.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    @The case was won on a discrimination point

    No it Wasn't!


    In its ruling, the Grand Chamber said retention of innocent people's DNA profile was a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 8 states: "Everyone has the right for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." It said it was NOT necessary to consider Marper and "S'" complaint under Article 14, which prohibits discrimination.


  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paris is an ugly woman who wears too much makeup

    "So you think our right to freedom is more important than fighting crime"

    It's not the use of DNA evidence that's the problem, it's the reason for which the police were retaining that evidence. If fighting crime turns everyone into criminals then whoops! there goes your freedom.

    > Not only would it help crime

    You missed out an important word there. Freudian slip?

    > it would stop all these john and jane doe's bodies appearing because they would be able to be found by dna and their families would be able to have some closure.

    You sure about that? Doesn't a body have to appear in order to be found? But if they stop appearing they'll never be found and the families will never get closure!

    Anyway, the technology's already there for this to happen, so one has to wonder why it's not being used to do this already.

    > If they had a voluntary scheme to collect dna then i would be first in line.

    A queue with one person in it isn't a line, it's a point.

    > Paris cos she can have some of my dna any day

    An ugly woman who wears too much makeup? At least

  73. Andy Taylor

    I've long held the belief

    that Home Secretary is one of the jobs that should on no account to be given to anyone that wants it.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    Common Sence

    @ crime free = more rights

    So why are you posting "Anonymous Coward " then? Something to hide? Care to post your bank account a la Clarkston?

    This is a great day... After reading into the story some more, "S" was 11 years of age at the time. WTF DNAing an 11 year old... what ever happened to being a minor? Next it'll be arrested for chalking on a public path... Oops sorry that IS illegal already... To$$ers.

    "Go" coz thats what we want Nu Labour to do. The sooner the better. Can they dig thier own grave any faster? I certainly hope so!

  75. Columbus

    lettres de cachet

    removing the DNA would be a good start, but have a good look at the other crap the Police store. If you thought the PNC was inaccurate, the local Police's intelligence databases are up there with Jeffrey Archers memoirs as records of truth. As the Police are not accountable to anyone but their own Chief Constables who's going to make them delete the records?

    PITO are spineless and the Information Commissionaire is just as bad.

    Now it seems to be any record made by a policeman are eventually to be used as lettres de cachet

    Mines the one being searched, again, and again

  76. Chris

    Two fingers to Jacqui

    <nelson>Ha ha!</nelson>

  77. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Thank fook for the EU

    Jacqui Smith is a power mad psychopath and should be sectioned.

  78. Frank Haney
    Black Helicopters

    @ bobbles31

    "The only way they will get my DNA is as a swab from my corpse."

    I'm sure that can be arranged. Is next Friday convenient for you?

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Crime free = more rights AC

    So you'd voluntarily give up your DNA to a system that considers DNA evidence infallible when it clearly isn't?

    I mean you're only a fraction of a gnats-ass-hair of a width of a difference genetically away from being the Yorkshire Ripper. Would you really want someone to find some mudered hooker's DNA in blood inside a truck cab, do a quick analysis of it and then find your name in the top-10 of matches?

  80. Nemo Metis
    Thumb Up


    I like it. I like it as much as twatdangle.

  81. ElFatbob

    @AC 13:24

    'so you think our right to freedom is more important than fighting crime'

    To me, the subtext is that there is a balance between the two. The permanent retention of the DNA profiles of those not convicted of any crime, or indeed the inclusion of all persons on the database creates, in most peoples view, an imbalance.

    We know that some people manage to evade justice on legal technicalities etc, but the Scottish system addresses this nicely i think. Your DNA can be obtained on the same basis as in Eng Wales & NI, but they can't keep it longer than 5 years (you'll need to check the exact time) if you are not charged or convicted of a crime...

    Much is made of the successes of DNA. This is not in dispute (Peter Tobin is the most recent case in point). BUT, the other side of the argument is rarely presented:

    There are false positive matches.

    Contamination (deliberate or otherwise) creates large dangers in an environment where DNA evidence is seen as the 'magic' ingredient that effectively removes the need for competent and additional investigation techniques.

    Also, the evidence doesn't support the effectiveness of this 'catch all' approach. Convictions based on DNA have gone down as the number of profiles has risen.

    Finally, there are the wider issues of trust and scope / function creep.

    This government has shown itself unworthy of trust in looking after peoples personal data. Repeatedly. Not only that, but protection of said data is not part of the government 'culture' (if it were, these systems would be better thought out regarding data protection from the inception right through to the implementation)

    Large centralised databases allow a single stop for valuable data to those with criminal or deviant intent. Only yesterday a number of Scottish news reporters were told that their confidential data, in the form of the Emergency Care Summary (England in implementing a much more intrusive version of this, btw), had been compromised by a nosy Doctor. Ok, so the audit check on the system picked this up, but moving the details to a large central database allowed this occur in the first place.

    Regarding scope creep, every system such as this has had it's scope or function increased. WRT the DNA database, they already 'sell' information (just cover administrative costs apparently) from this database to researchers. Wait a minute..... i thought this was a crime fighting database?

    So what's next - selling profiles to healthcare or insurance companies? Check out APNR for a definitive study of scope creep with no accountability.

    >>if they had a voluntary scheme to collect dna then i would be first in line.<<

    After you sir. It wouldn't be me, at any price.

  82. A J Stiles

    @ OG

    As a matter of fact, I do have something to hide. In fact, I have a lot of things I want to hide.

    I am British, and one of the core values of Britishness is the maintenance of a strong distinction between "one's own business" and "other people's business". And nothing *I* do is any of *your* business unless *I* make it so.

  83. slackline

    I wonder if Mr Green had a DNA sample taken?

    That aside, this is astoundingly good news. Just a shame the government are a much of half-wits who will try and delay the implementation of the courts ruling for as long as possible.

  84. The Other Steve

    RE: crime free = more rights

    "if they had a voluntary scheme to collect dna then i would be first in line."

    "By ___Anonymous Coward___"

    So you want the police to have your DNA, but you don't even have the stones to use a pseudonym on the internet ? How does that work then ?

    You could say it's "Jacquiavellian" *

    And BTW, the problem of the "Jane Doe" corpses you seem to believe are littering the UK could more easily and cheaply be solved by people sewing name labels into their pants.

    * Nice one AJ Stiles, that word is now part of my vocabulary for ever, and will remain so even after the (hopefully imminent) departure of the current car crash of a Home Secretary.

  85. Anonymous Coward

    crime free = more rights

    i post here as ac cos i know you will tare me to shreds and you have.

    "Freudian slip?" NOPE typo.

    "Doesn't a body have to appear in order to be found" i was talking about john and jane does because they wouldn't be a doe if you could get identification for them they would be a Darren Miller or Kerry Hunter or whatever. and the techniques you talk about means that you need a sample of the missing pirson's dna in a database (invasion on privacy) or a sample of relatives dna to compare it to (invasion on privacy and a lot of work)

    and tux cos he can also have my dna anytime

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what will happen next

    ... breech of the dna database... ...then the point is made...

  87. This post has been deleted by its author

  88. The Other Steve

    Quelle Horror!

    Suddenly I am reminded of the reg story "Government data review grants more data sharing power"*

    "The response calls for primary legislation to provide the Secretary of State with a power by Order to remove or modify any legal barrier to data sharing by "repealing or amending other primary legislation, changing any other rule of law, creating a new power to share information where that power is currently absent".

    So there's her emergency legislation. Bye Bye Human Rights Act, hello stasi Britain. (Of course, she's unlikely to be in office long enough to get it through, thank christ)


  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    think of the cost

    how much dose it cost for the database?

    how much would it cost to re test people each time they were suspected of a crime instead of just the first time??

  90. Neil Stansbury
    Black Helicopters

    Feeling revolutionary....

    Having come to the conclusion a long time ago that our politicians & civil servants are a collection talentless, unimaginative old farts who are so collectively incompetent that they couldn't pour water out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel, I have decided to vote in the next general election for the first time ever.... for these guys:

  91. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: crime free = more rights

    Dude, I think your DNA should have been allocated to someone else.

  92. This post has been deleted by its author

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Human rights vs Security

    The quote about liberty vs security is the worst thing ever, because it suggests they are different things.

    Security is not getting anally raped. Liberty is not getting anally raped in the back of a police van.

    Hope that helps.

  94. RW

    Jacqui-thought once again prevails

    Everyone with reasonable intelligence is always prepared to entertain the notion "I am wrong." Unfortunately, in the face of indisputable evidence that her plans violate human rights, Ms. Smith clings to her demonstrable error.

    Someone needs to ask Ms. Smith the question, is it better for an innocent man to be punished or a guilty man to escape punishment? Her actions make it clear that as far as she's concerned, punishment of the innocent is a non-issue. Or maybe she takes the truly Bolshevist p.o.v. that no one is totally innocent, and therefore all punishments are deserved, even if not for the reasons stated.

    Here in British Columbia, we used to have a populist right-wing government headed by one W.A.C. Bennett. He was widely despised in his day (now over 35 years past), but he had one shining virtue: whenever there was an outcry over some ill-conceived scheme, he would "take a second look" at the proposal. And, indeed, would cancel or revise plans accordingly.

    He was no saint. He was as crooked as the day is long. But I'm sure I'm not the only person who yearns for similar behavior on the part of modern politicians.

  95. Luther Blissett

    @A("crime free = more rights")C - stop thinking with your dick

    First you wanted to give your DNA to the Whacky Wonderbase. Then you wanted to give it to Paris. Now you want to give it to poor Tux. I'd say you have a serious difficulty.

    One of them is this - sperm donors are not allowed anonymity any more. Do you want to proceed?

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    the police

    have to delete dna records of innocent people.

    i mean, it's not like they can choose which laws to they're going to obey.

  97. Scott

    Wacki Jacki

    Her year keeps getting worse and worse, after her orwellian police force abuse the power shes given 'em by raiding MPs offices (she didn't know what they wehere doing, yer right!) now the European Courts are telling her off, shame she will not listen.

    Could El Reg show a picture of our favorite gal from a year ago so i can compare her to one of my bosses? hes just started in his job and hes as incompetent as her and i'd like ot see what he'll look like after soime time in the job also making a complete balls up of it?

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    swivel on that jaqui you twat

  99. David Pollard

    @ AC - crime free = more rights

    "Have you never had a crime committed against you? if you did, did the police find any finger print or dna evidence? also did you want that guy found? if so, how do you expect that they find the person that committed the crime?"

    My partner was raped and murdered, so I have given questions such as this a good deal of thought.

    El Reg comments isn't the place for all the details, but my conclusion is that the NDNAD and the new totalitarianism do not provide anything like an appropriate solution to crimes of this sort. If there is a solution it comes from people, not policies.

    It sometimes seems that the press, police and politicians stir up more bloody-minded violence in their witch-hunts than was entailed in the original ghastly act itself. Repeated public displays of man's inhumanity toward man under the banner of 'law and order' do more harm than good.

  100. Stewart Haywood

    Bring The People to Justice

    Smith said: "DNA and fingerprinting is vital to the fight against crime, providing the police with more than 3,500 matches a month, and I am disappointed by the European Court of Human Rights' decision. The Government mounted a robust defence before the Court and I strongly believe DNA and fingerprints play an invaluable role in fighting crime and bringing people to justice."

    I am sure that she is right and the use of DNA and fingerprinting is vital to the fight against crime. I fail to see, however, how having my DNA or fingerprints would help the fight. I didn't do nuffink, so having my details would only slow down the search for the actual criminal. It is, of course, possible that the system could produce a false possitive and identify me. If this was the case, plod would be able to spend lots of money flying to the US to ask me what I was doing last Thursday.

    She goes on to talk about "bringing people to justice". Now, bringing "criminals" to justice is fine, but "people"?. Either this woman has a really poor grasp of the English language and is unable to identify, with a single word, the group that needs to be brought to justice or she is preparing the population to believe that all people need to be brought to justice. Or maybe she just gets her words in the wrong order and means bringing justice to people. Nah! I don't think so either.

    The government response to the European ruling is interesting. If I were to subject my employees to a set of rules that they did not like and thought were against the law, they could go to court to get a judgement. If that judgement went against me and my response was, "well, I don't like that so I will think about it for a bit", would that be OK? This is just what the government is doing, and to be honest, did they really think that Europe would support them?

  101. Anonymous Coward

    Sauce for the goose

    If Jaqui Smith and apparently the police do not have to obey the law, do they expect anyone else to? Complience with the ECHR is suddenly optional?

    I shall seriously consider her actions regarding this verdict before deciding which if any law passed by NuLabour applies to me.

    Well I figure it's only a matter of time before they get me for something so I might as well make the decision about what I go down for. A few more years and there will be one blanket law under the counter terrorism act for nearly everything.

  102. Chris G


    As already said rates along with twatdangle.

    I think it's possible that the phrase may out live the political career of the begetter.

    She is one twat that should be dangled, preferably a la mode de Mussolini.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Double whammy for Whacky Jacky

    Whilst our resident ministerial loon is "considering the judgement" my letter is already winging its way to the chief constable of Kent to get my details removed with the caveat that if he delays whilst wacky looks for a loophole I will sue for damages.

    One other thing overlooked is the use of the DNA database in commercial projects. Now that its deemed a breach of human rights to keep it where does that leave the database with its decision to allow access to DNA data for commercial gain.

    I think I might send out some invoices to the companies involved for use of my DNA, this could turn into a nice little earner!

    Paris, even she will get the idea faster than wacky jacky would!

  104. fnordianslip
    Paris Hilton

    "The only way they will get my DNA is as a swab from my corpse."


    Er, how about they decide to go for a WBS (Whole Body Sample), while you're still alive? That means they don't even have to bother arresting you, let alone convicting you ...

    Is there a maximum size for DNA samples that they're allowed to take? I hope so.


    Paris, because I bet she's got quite a few DNA samples, and they're not in her database.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: crime free = more rights

    "Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins" - To paraphrase, if you can't prove beyond reasonable doubt that I hit your nose, you don't get to take away any of my freedoms. No matter how valuable that is (allegedly) to solve crimes.

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: crime free = more rights

    > have you never had a crime committed against you?

    Yes. Quite a few, actually.

    > if you did, did the police find any finger print or dna evidence?


    Of course they might have, had they actually looked for any. Or turned up.

    But I can't see how it would help any putative DNA search to have a database full of people who haven't committed a crime, nor intend to...

  107. Anonymous Coward


    We really, really need a Wacky Jacqui icon El Reg, sort it!

    Yes, something along the order of Mephitis mephitis out to just do it...

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Canadian Laws are still marginally better...

    so I think all you intelligent and educated folk should move over here. Consider it an invitation.

    I know economy is in the shitter but that seems to be the same everywhere right now. So come on over.

    Black helicoper because it just feels right when reading about all the abuse of power in England.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    If I had the cash...

    I'd have been off to Europe ages ago. Say what you like about Europe, but I know who I'd prefer was in charge.

  110. EvilGav


    It's "innocent *unless* proven guilty" not, as our NuLab overlords seem to think "innocent *until* proven guilty". One of these means you can be found not guilty, one of them doesn't.

    Thankfully, here in Scotland, the police service (note, it's a service, not a force) don't have the right to keep DNA from innocents, so the number of unconvicted people on the DB is much much lower.

  111. Britt Johnston
    IT Angle

    fix it before asking for more

    As pointed out by some of the thoughtful press, one way to protect from random identity capture would be to take everyone's DNA. This decision would be political, and has pros as well as cons.

    The administrative responsibility to keep the data correct, current and complete lies with the owners (the police?). Since they don't allow changes, corrections, complaints or even viewing rights, they do an abominable job at present..That is not a good basis for arguing to globalise.

    Is the pause to see if they are able to implement suitable policies to manage correction processes?

  112. Steve B

    Didn't this lot bring in laws making it illegal to incite others to break the law?

    Under one of the terrorist badges?

    If she issues an edict to continue to put the samples on the database, or in fact fails to issue an edict at least stopping the practise forthwith, not necessarily removing entries at this point, she should be arrested by her own state troopers, preferably in parliament!

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: crime free = more rights

    Regarding Jane Doe identifications - why would you need a DNA database to identify unidentified bodies? You take DNA from the body, you take DNA from any parent(s) with a missing person they want to identify and you find a family match. You then dispose of the DNA taken from the family members.

    Look, I see no problem with taking DNA when someone is arrested, even if not charged. I would like safeguards so that people are not "wrongfully arrested" for the means of a DNA fishing trip (like laws against wrongful arrest, perhaps), but I can't really argue against taking DNA as part of the arrest process. Obviously then it would be OK to run the DNA taken against a database of DNA samples left at crime scenes and take appropriate action if any match is matched..

    However the retention of DNA samples for those people not then convicted of a recordable offense should not be allowed. It is not so much a matter of nothing to hide, more a matter of not trusting the government.

    And, for the record, its innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Not unless, until.

  114. Mark

    @Lee: Unless

    As far as society and our laws are concerned I remain innocent if you have no evidence of guilt.

    If it were "until proven" then you have "well, he obviously DID it, they just couldn't find any evidence" as per "paedo-scare" that some people have had their lives RUINED because people thought they were guilty despite there being no evidence because they are just innocent until the police find the proof and THEN they're guilty, as we knew all along...


    PS It doesn't matter if the person DID commit the crime. If there's no proof, they are innocent. Why? Because

    a) you don't know anything to show guilt

    b) so many people are accused and so many of them are really innocent but there is no way of getting evidence that by saying "until" puts the innocent under the cloud that some "evidence" could be found (see the July bomber CCTV footage that is obviously spliced and therefore created evidence). And putting the innocent under that threat is unfair.

  115. Mark

    @Lee: Unless

    As far as society and our laws are concerned I remain innocent if you have no evidence of guilt.

    If it were "until proven" then you have "well, he obviously DID it, they just couldn't find any evidence" as per "paedo-scare" that some people have had their lives RUINED because people thought they were guilty despite there being no evidence because they are just innocent until the police find the proof and THEN they're guilty, as we knew all along...


  116. michael

    @crime free= safe

    "i post here as ac cos i know you will tare me to shreds and you have." so we will tare you to shreds under an ac rather then under an internet assumed name

    what you think "michael" is my real name ......

  117. Matt Semper

    good news

    Though I'm sure they'll find a way to wiggle out of it. If they don't I'd be concerned that the police might start pushing to convict anyone who's arrested of the tiniest thing, just so they can bulk up their database. (I was arrested for swearing!) Is a formal caution enough for them to be able to keep your DNA?

    Their solution if they could be bothered to implement it, is the same as I've suggested to friends before regarding the US but it would work just as well here. Open a voluntary database and pay people £100 for giving DNA and fingerprint samples.

    Loads of people would do it, for a few easy notes, it amazing how quickly people will sell their privacy. and with the ability to get partial matches for family members, the police would have all they could possibly need.

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