back to article Don't delay: Delete your DNA today

Now that a European Court has decided that the retention of the DNA of innocent people is illegal - what should you do now? Earlier this month, 17 judges on the Grand Chambers of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled unanimously that the UK is in violation of the right to respect for private and family life (Article …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. alan
    Thumb Up

    Surely if its illegal

    we should just drop into our local cop shop, and get friendly mr plod to nip down to the houses of parliment post hast and collect as many samples as possible from the criminals who are illegally retaining this data and then store that on the database?

  2. Martin Lyne

    Does it matter?

    When they'll still be watching all your emails, text messages, phone calls, brain waves, etc.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ignore europe

    Take DNA samples from everyone at birth.

  4. michael

    @Martin Lyne

    "When they'll still be watching all your emails, text messages, phone calls, brain waves, etc."

    they are not readfing my brain waves I stuck one of thouse "quantum physical information wave " chips to my head to block them

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Have a look at this....

    This is what will happen when the Police get delivery of their Tasers.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Turkeys voting for Christmas

    If I delete my dna, my cells will not be able to regenerate, and I will die.

  7. steogede

    The bit I loved when I saw this on the news...

    I remember when I saw the news of the judgement on the BBC 6 o'clock News (I think). They said something along the lines of:

    'This is already the case in Scotland, where even people of accused of serious crimes, such as rape and murder, have their DNA records deleted'.

    As though some how, being found innocent of murder or rape (or even arrested and not charged), makes you more guilty than someone found innocent of (say) theft.

    They then went on to say how Steve Wright (Ipswitch prostitute serial killer), had been identified because his DNA was on the national database - without any mention to the fact that the new ruling would make no difference, as he was on the database because he had been *convicted* of theft (whether that crime was detected due to an earlier, non successful conviction, I couldn't say).

    I am glad the EU have finally brought some sense to the situation - the downside is that it greatly increases the likelyhood of a complete national DNA database of everyone in the country (when this is feasible) or who visits the country. Having said that, I would rather a database with everyone on than one with some innocent and some guilty.

    At least If they have a complete database of (almost) everyone, when the expert witness says that the match is 99.999% positive, the defence can ask if there was anyone else in the database with who was as close/closer match and what where the top 5 results and how close a match were they.

    One thing I would like to know is what are your rights if you are arrested now, are they allowed to sample your DNA and compare it against the unsolved crime database or are they only allowed to compare it against DNA evidence found in relation to the crime you are accused - or are they only allowed to take it after you have been convicted?

  8. DT

    I feel safer already

    If the state holding onto means of personal identification is an infringement of a person's rights, why does this not also include things such as a council tax role, school register, in fact anywhere you're supposed to identify yourself to an authority? Is knowing the state has your DNA really more detriminent to a person's "privacy" than knowing that unauthorisated photos are visible to people you don't like on facebook?

    Perhaps we should also have a device that wipes policemen's memory; anytime they arrest anyone innocent, the entire event is erased; so that that future encounters aren't prejudiced.

    Walking, talking, face recognising, CCTV on legs which an attentive beat cop is. Bog standard, but effectively does the same jobs as yer high tech "enemy of the state" gadgets which get everyone twitchy. Is annoymity in public a human right too?

    Excuse me if I don't celebrate when a wife "harasser" admonished by wife (a tale oft' heard in the backstory of, well, Toben and countless others) has his particulars removed from the system.

  9. Dave



    From the point of view of someone who is on this database and who is innocent I am in 2 minds about the whole thing.

    On one hand I can see how a comprehensive database of DNA profiles would allow the police to better solve crime using less taxpayers money.

    I am, however, against being on a database where a high proportion of people are criminals. Why?

    Because despite the best intentions of an investigating officer, there is going to be an assumption that because I am on the database I am likely to be a criminal.

    What to do...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what about ID cards?

    So does this mean they can't take fingerprints to put on ID cards?

    Or does that class as non-discriminatory since everyone is being forced to do it? Well, you don't have to, so long as you never want to leave the country, get a driving license, go to the doctor or sign on, so maybe that is discriminatory...

  11. b

    @Ignore europe

    Back under your bridge retard.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Most of our DNA is the same, more than 98%, so technically _MOST_ of my DNA will still be stored on the database?

  13. Tom Cook


    Anyone know if this will affect the records kept on UK visa holders? Currently you have to have 'biometric data' taken to get a visa - does the ruling quash this?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    NDNAD Morons

    I used to work for the NPIA IT Service Desk (We also supported users of the NDNAD (national dna database). I can honestly say that they are the stupidest people out of all the people we supported. non encrypted emails with personal data sent out and about, been forwarded here, there and everywhere as it was an NPIA "Expansion". Get rid of the DNA database as its only a matter of time before your details are "found" on an unencrypted laptop or DVD somewhere. Take it from someone who has spoken to the employees of this company for over a year.........

    **Black helecopter because they'll probably come find me.....**

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Written up in your permanent record...

    Subject requested that his DNA record be deleted. He must have something to hide. Record transferred to secure area of database.

  16. Graham Marsden


    > "Is knowing the state has your DNA really more detriminent to a person's "privacy" than knowing that unauthorisated photos are visible to people you don't like on facebook?"

    Well, yes, because only one of those is an infringement on the right to be Presumed Innocent Unless Proven Guilty!

  17. Luther Blissett

    Whose to-do?

    If I understand this correctly, David suggests that those affected by the ruling should be proactive immediately, in order to be able to witness the destruction of their DNA and fingerprint records, should the police agree that the case those affected make in writing to the police is "exceptional", and notwithstanding that it cannot be certain that deletion of the records does at present occur? Ouch.

    It's evident (eg. Irish referendum) that sometimes politicians do not understand the word No, but I suspect they can and do distinguish when the Great Unwashed says it, and when a unanimous international panel of judges says it. Reading between the lines of the judgement, I think the ECHR was just as fecked off as the complainants.

    If Whacky Jacqui and Plod seem dilatory, it is because she will make no move until she has Moses Brown's say so - she's his bitch and the reason she's there is that he's sure she either won't or is incapable of stabbing him in the back politically before clambouring over the body to claw her way further up the greasy pole - and we know how Moses dithers and dallies.

  18. Andrew Abdul-Malek

    lets just take a step back for a second

    regardless of what you or i might believe about the ultimate intention, DNA can only be explained partially by our current science, or should I say by our current "admitted to" science.

    its quite possible, simply by using skills of deduction and intuition, to observe the links between ancient texts, current religions, science, and the constant bombardment of fantasies flying at us from all angles, that DNA or "blood" is significant to understanding what we are, and where we come from.

    the rich and the royal tend to lean towards interbreeding, why? bloodlines.

    the possible issue at hand is that DNA is a big leap for identification, it would be like you or i deciding to buy a car, but because we are rich, we buy an F16 fighter jet.

    yes, it gets you to A and B, but do you really need to be able to travel at mach 2 speeds just to cut 10 minutes in traffic? missiles?

    yes it would be cool, and yes its a total overkill, especially when the potential dangers of obtaining such information could be irreversible.

    if the law says something is illegal, it means in the future they will have our DNA if we are caught doing it. what if in the future its illegal to have sex without a marriage certificate? would you stop doing it just because its "illegal"?

    if the law says the local police must have a key to every house and full access to all private property, would you be ok with that?

    this is a good example of what DNA databasing will do to us, DNA is the not only the scientific approach at understanding humanity, but also to control it.

  19. Alex
    Thumb Down


    "Excuse me if I don't celebrate when a wife "harasser" admonished by wife (a tale oft' heard in the backstory of, well, Toben and countless others) has his particulars removed from the system."

    If the wife made it up and the guy is innocent (I'd dare say 75% of the time, but that would be construed as trolling) then there's no reason for the bloke to have his DNA in the database, is there you silly feminist git?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Percentage...

    "Most of our DNA is the same, more than 98%, so technically _MOST_ of my DNA will still be stored on the database?"

    They don't sequence any individual's entire genome, since that has not been technically feasible until fairly recently - instead, it's all about sampling sequence information at particular locations in the genome.

    Of course, the government probably wants all animals on the database, too, so whole genome sequencing just to rule chimps out from the case of the stolen bananas and the fecal graffiti probably seems like money well spent to them.

  21. AGirlFromVenus

    so.....the data sent to america then

    So, how do we delete our data from stuff that has been given to the Americans, Aussies, Canucks and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. What about deleting data from archival backups?

    You think the yanks are going to give a fcuk about a European court rulling!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    It will be interesting....

    to know if the fascist Labour government will be able to force us to give dna and other

    samples for the ID cards and/or whether there will now have to be a restriction as to

    who has access to it. I cannot believe that the police could lawfully have access.

    I would also be interested to see what the European Court's view is on the use of

    RIPA by Councils to catch owners of dogs that foul pavements, and the full scale

    surveillance. I think that Smith's recent comments about this is due to (a) her knowing that

    it is unlawful under Human Rights Act and proportionality and (b) the

    fact she now whats to lie to everyone again to bring in more legislation to catch

    terro.......I mean fouling dog owners.

  23. Danny Silver badge

    The Rapture

    I've never been happy about the police having my DNA since I read the Neocons plans for it,

    "advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool" - Rebuilding Americas Defences, PNAC

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    DNA for all

    steogede said "I would rather a database with everyone on than one with some innocent and some guilty"

    This is too fucking stupid for words. Putting everyone on the database won't improve crime detection rates. There will be too much noise and not enough signal. Very few crimes today are solved by trolling the DNA database: the jocks do better even though their database only has convicted crooks on it. There will also be a higher incidence of false positives and false negatives. And because it's DNA, the technology will be infallible, right? Imagine how PC Plod will react when the find zillions of DNA matches at a crime scene: everyone will get nicked because they were there at some point and of course that means they're all guilty, won't it?

    Paris icon because she's picked up more than a few DNA samples,

  25. Allan Dyer Silver badge


    So I should ask the Authorities to delete my DNA? "Yes, please drink this cocktail of restriction enzymes, Sir".. will that include my relatives, too?

    @JonB Percentage

    And we share about 50% of our DNA with plants... won't someone think of the Cabbages?!!!

  26. David Pollard

    @ AC - DNA for all

    Equality before the law is one of the necessary requirements if it is to have moral authority. This means that either everyone has to be on the NDNAD, as Prof. Sir Alec Jeffreys has always argued, or no one.

    If the size of the database with everyone on it would cause it to crumble, and be susceptible to malfeasance and errors, then at 7% of the population these problems exist already or will become serious very soon.

    The detection rate directly via the NDNAD for all crime is actually quite low, public perception being bolstered by a small number of high profile crimes, detection of at least some of which didn't actually depend on the NDNAD. (The Genewatch site has details.)

    The crime scene DNA database would be almost as effective as the NDNAD and any shortfall in detection would probably be more than balanced by the increase in public co-operation were the NDNAD to be scrapped. This is, however, difficult to assess because the Home Office has so far failed to make appropriately detailed figures available and has obfuscated the issue.

    @ AC @ steogede

    The recent ruling came from the European Court of Human Rights (associated with the European Convention on Human Rights to which the UK signed up and which Tories sometimes complain about). This is not the same as the EU.

  27. Old Man - Grey Fleece

    Delusions of accuracy

    What sort of sense does it make to quote the end points of an approximate range of nearly 300,000 to an accuracy of 1.

    "the estimated 573,639 to 857,366 innocents whose DNA profile is on the National DNA Database (NDNAD)"

    Lies, damned lies and journalistic nonsense.


  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any skeletons in your closet??

    Come on lets be brutally honest, people who dont want to be on there have something to hide and dont want to get caught out really.

    Think of the amount of crimes that would be solved if DNA was found at every SOC and every single person in the country and all who entered had their DNA recorded.

    We could have signs at every port like carparks do, Entry is at your own risk and we will keep your DNA for 100years after you enter the country. If you dont like it burger off somewhere else and leave our little island.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    flip side

    Any news on the validity of insisting that a DNA sample be provided as an integral part of applying for a job?

  30. Martin

    I wonder if

    I wonder if someone convicted on the strength of DNA Database evidence could argue that

    it was inadmissable because it shouldn't have been retained?

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Innocent until proven guilty?!?

    Who are you kidding? These days, you have no rights, and even if you did, and they got in the way, they'd charge you under anti-terrorism laws so they could do whatever they wanted. The ends justifies the means (TM George Bush).

    "The United Kingdom thus also appears to be the only member State expressly to allow the systematic and indefinite retention of both profiles and samples of convicted persons." - That's because the UK is the only country in Europe trying to out do the Stasti & FSB in their surveillance and intimidation of the public.

    The reason for delaying any order to delete records en-masse, is to allow the government time to establish contracts for the offshore retention of such data, whilst still claiming compliance with the European directive. Extraordinary rendition anyone?

  32. Chris
    Thumb Down

    @ Will Morrow

    I assume you're trolling Mr "Nothing to hide".

    If not, you won't mind us installing webcams in your bedroom and bathroom. Or have you got skeletons in the closet?

  33. Columbus
    Thumb Down

    Failed to respond to FOI request

    don't you just love the fact that some of the forces cannot even respond properly. I personally know one the responses received is a lie... makes you trust them..not!

  34. TMS9900


    ... if you are proved innocent they will just move your entry in the database to the 'deleted persons' database. Think of it as a 10TB Recycle Bin.

    Then they will draft some guidelines/leglisation that says something like "access to the Deleted Persons Database shall be protected by a warrant only to be granted by a senior Police Officer, and shall be restricted to cases where extensive searching of the 'active database' has proved fruitless."

    That will get the Human Rights brigade off their back. And you'll be just as fecked then as you are now.

    Mine's the one with North Korea Residents Visa application form in the pocket.

    Give up. Just comply. Resistance is futile.

  35. Anonymous Coward


    "Because despite the best intentions of an investigating officer, there is going to be an assumption that because I am on the database I am likely to be a criminal."

    I don't think that's the only concern - for a start people make mistakes (samples get mixed up/techs don't do their job properly). at the same time just because they find my hear at the scene of a crime I don't won't the police turning up at my work for questions/or at my home at 6am and me being prime suspect because they have nothing else to go on.

    <<<privacy>>> is a crucial human right and we shouldn't let them scare us into giving it away.

  36. Geoffrey Madden

    Victim of corruption

    Thanks to The Register, I sent off my letter yesterday to the local chief constable. I had my DNA and fingerprints taken after being arrested by dishonest and corrupt police, evidently at the behest of an ex-policeman who had assaulted me twice and subjected me to harassment for more than five years. A copy of the text of the letter is available at the end of a page on Sussex Police:

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wacky Jacqui

    I'd love to see Wacky Jacqui's face when one of her slaves, uh, I mean, subordinates walks into her office and says "We've got a problem Home Secretary. Several of our chief constables are asking what they should do about DNA records on the database as a result of a massive increase in the number of innocent people asking for their records to be deleted in accordance with the unanimous judgement by the European Court of Human Rights. What should I advise the Chief Constables to do?"

    I would give my right arm and leg to be a fly on the wall if that were to happen..I can see her scowling now, and obstinate attiude breaking through.

    Sack the b**ch and sack her now.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022