back to article DNA database includes nipper and nonagenarian

Jacqui Smith yesterday showed how the DNA database presents a truly wideview snapshot of Britain when she revealed the youngest subject on the database is under one year while the oldest is over 90. Smith revealed the data in an answer to a question from Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne. She said, “As at 26 November 2008, the youngest …


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  1. zenkaon

    what wacki jacki really wants

    is to put people's DNA into the NDNAD at birth, you'll need to register your child to get it a birth certificate and ID card. Oh wait a minute, your DNA isn't on the NDAND, you'll have to give us a sample if you want to register your child.

  2. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Under one year old?

    What did he do? Rob a bank? Conspiracy to defraud? Is he the world's youngest TWOCer? Reckless nappy soiling?

    Ah! I know! Probably nicked for lewd public behaviour (along with his mother) while breast feeding in Tesco.

    And the nonagenarian? Unlicensed Zimmer frame? Been found in posession of Class A drugs (aka Werthers Originals)? Being in possession of offensive wrinkles?

    Wacqui Jacqui *really* lives up to her name, doesn't she!

  3. Alien8n


    Okay, while I can think of a few reasons why a 90 year old could be put on the database (probably just breached his ASBO about playing loud hip hop music at night, apparently 50 Cent is really big in the old folks homes) I can't for the life of me think of a single reason why a 1 year old baby should be on the database. Anyone think of a reason? Maybe it was assault with a porridge spoon, I seem to remember my kids being able to launch porridge across a living room...

  4. Steve Swann

    Time to paint my banner.....

    Twatty Whacky Jacqui! OUT! OUT! OUT!

    I urge you all to join one of the many internet based pressure groups that are seeking the immediate ejection of this totalitarian, fascist, nutcase of a home secretary out of her office and back into obscurity where she belongs.

    Search google, facebook, myspace, NO2ID etc. etc. and you will find the protests... despite Her Imperial Lunacies claims thats the public 'welcome her plans'.

  5. Nick L

    With apologies to EssBee

    "DNA swab, citizen !"

  6. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    And so it begins...

    ... what's next? Hospitals being obliged to take DNA samples from every newborn baby?

    Why don't they try to find Wacky Jacqui's brains instead...?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Innocent lamb

    Since I'm pretty sure you can't even be tried, let alone convicted of a crime under a certain age (not sure where it is but somewhere aroun 8-10 sounds reasonable?), them it's pretty much a given that this child certainly isn't a crim!

    Friggin' shite the lot of it.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    What she doesn't seem to understand

    The ruling of the ECHR is final and absolute.

    It is not subject to interpretation, review or discussion.

    The retention odf DNA from innocent people is ILLEGAL. Destroy this database now!

  9. tashi

    couldn't disclose the precise age of the nongenarian subject

    Presumably she means to the nearest year, so why is she able to disclose the precise age of the baby?

    I can only think that the >90 person is someone whose age, to the nearest year, is unique in the UK, which would narrow the search down to, a handful of people over 110 probably

  10. Anonymous Coward


    What more should we expect from Jacqui Sith?

  11. IanPotter
    Black Helicopters

    And the nonagenarian?

    Probably shouted "Nonsense" at a Labour party conference and got arrested for terrorism offenses...

  12. Dave
    Thumb Up

    Why not!

    Just take a sample from every baby at birth and keep it in the database, go for it!! Also why don't you chip every child from birth so they can be tracked?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    The fall of man

    Aren't all Christian people born with "Origonal sin" and therefore belong on the DNA database?

  14. Wokstation

    So the police are refusing to remove samples...

    ...saying they're waiting for guidance from the government.

    Given that holding the samples of someone with no charges/convictions is illegal under HR law, as definied by the ECHR, wouldn't it simply require the threat of legal action against the force to make them remove it?

    Afterall, they know they won't win. Precedent was set in the ECHR. It is the last level of appeal, and as such any "junior" court would surely be bound by the precedent?

    Would a force then be able to justify the costs of defending against such a case, given that they have a certainty of losing even if early courts don't abide by the ECHR ruling? Afterall, eventually it'd get to the ECHR and deemed illegal again, as set by the precedent.

    I suspect that they'll refuse to remove in the first instance, but because of the cost of fighting a battle they know for a fact they will lose, will probably cave at the first or second letter with hints to litigation...

  15. Steven Jones


    It should be noted that the reason the European Court of Human Rights gave for their rulling was not that it was an abuse to retain the DNA profile, but that to do so for individuals who had been arrested, yet not been found guilty of a crime, was discriminatory. In theory, there is at least the possibility for compulsion, although I rather doubt the government has the stomach to try and drive that one through. Equally, I have absolutely no doubt that large parts of the government would like to do it.

  16. An Unwashed Mass

    Must be

    Due to an increase in nappy slapping incidents...

  17. Ben Rosenthal

    baby crims

    well they don't wear any clothes in those pre-natal scan things, maybe they nabbed him for making and distributing child pr0n?

    Alien, because it's at times like this I'm sure I must be from another planet.

  18. Paul Gomme

    More signups please

    As you probably know, here's one Facebook group for it. But don't just signup, please take the time to post on the walls and join in or start a discussion.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You reaslise of course that the babies DNA was on the database for purposes of elimination ?

    Civil rights are all well and good while they protect us, but when the protect the crims and general scumvermin then we need to think again.

  20. g e

    Immediate steps

    December.... March...

    HOW LONG does it take to type 'delete from sneaky_list where age<=10' ?

    If only 'drop jacqui' would actually WORK, I keep getting syntax errors.

  21. Catkins

    Baby faced criminal

    Yes of course the baby's DNA was taken for elimination purposes at a crime scene, but there was absolutely no need to retain it. That's the issue. And it's the increasing retention of innocent people's DNA which dilutes the effectivenss of the criminal database which is leading to mistakes. The Omagh bombing trial collapsed partly because the bomber's DNA matched with that of a 14 year old boy from Nottingham on the criminal database. He wan't a criminal mind you, his DNA had been stored after a paternity dispute.

  22. M A Walters
    Thumb Down

    @AC - 14:47

    If the sample was there for elimination, why is it still there?

    UK should follow the US in the treatment of elimination samples: they can be used only for elimination purposes and not entered into any database.

    A recent (~3 yrs ago) case in the States showed that elimination samples erroneously stored onto the database (I think it was CODIS, but may have been a state database) cannot be admitted as lawfully collected and as such cannot be used for prosecutions of unconnected crimes.

    ECHR ruling seems to suggest a similar approach.

  23. Maty

    @ac Idiot. Singular

    So when the case they were investigating was over - why not delete the baby's DNA? And you don't need to put the DNA on the database for a single case. You just need to give it to one lab.

    Do try to think your postings through before you hit that 'post comment' button. Those you are calling idiots might be more wounded if the insult came from someone whose spelling and grammar are only marginally better than that of the infant in question.

  24. lIsRT

    @ "Idiots." AC

    Are you suggesting there is a valid reason for DNA samples taken for elimination purposes to also be placed on the DNA database?

    Think about that for a minute.

    All that's required is to compare those samples against ones taken from the crime scene.

    The database is set up to generate hits from comparisons of all crime scene samples with all suspect samples.

    You could say that any samples obtained by any means should go on the database, but that blatantly discriminates against those with a legitimate presence at crime scenes; i.e. victims.

    Think about that too - do we want people to have one more disincentive to report crimes?

  25. Eponymous Cowherd

    Re: Idiots

    ***"You reaslise of course that the babies(sic) DNA was on the database for purposes of elimination ?"***

    You realise, of course, that there is no need for DNA to be placed on the database "for purposes of elimination". You merely need to check the profile against other DNA found at the scene of crime.

    ***"Civil rights are all well and good while they protect us, but when the protect the crims and general scumvermin then we need to think again."***

    Catching "scumvermin " is all well and good, but if it involves turning us all into suspects then we need to think again.


  26. Wokstation

    @"Idiots" AC

    The ECHR ruling applies to those who don't have convictions or charges pending. Therefore it's protecting the non-criminals by default.

    "Idiot". :)

  27. Catkins

    Would you help the police

    10 years ago if the police had asked me for a DNA sample or fingerprints to eliminate me from a crime scene and help speed up their investigation, I've have said yes without hesitation.

    I've worked for the police in the past. I'm one of those lovely well-behaved people they think form the bedrock of their support. I'd help them safe in the knowledge that the records would be destroyed once I'd been eliminated from the inquiry, there would be no stigma attached to assisting them, and certainly no lifelong membership of the world largest criminal database.

    If they asked me today, I'd tell them to kiss my a*se.

  28. Luther Blissett

    Citizen Smith proudly boasts of not being ageist

    In the hope of enjoying her own dotage?

  29. John Smith Gold badge

    But what would Joseph Stalin do?

    You are Joseph Stalin. Charismatic paranoid physcopath.

    You have slaughterd millions but a large part of the population idolise you (and still do)

    So should you only put guilty people on the DB?

    Of course not.

    You know that given the chance anyone who can will get away with anything they can.

    You know this because its exactly how you got where you are.

    Repeat after me. "I will put everyone on the national DNA database"


    I am going to count backward from 3 to 1. When I reach 1 you will wake up refreshed and remeber nothing about our little chat.


  30. Anonymous Coward

    Ass backwards

    Is it only me? If you want to solve all crimes, take DNA samples found at the unsolved crime scenes and put THEM into a database. Then match suspects (found through detective work) DNA to that in the DB. No match? Destroy the sample taken from the innocent party and bid him/her good day and thank them for their co-operation. Baby at the crime scene? Again, take sample from the baby and check the DB of crime scene - no match? Destroy the sample.

    By all means keep the samples of those CONVICTED of crime on a seperate DB and occasionally run the odd cross match, but I can see no valid reason relating to solving crime that warrants retaining DNA of people not found guilty of any crime.

    It is said that holding everyone's DNA is a good thing as people accused but not convicted can be checked.

    Suppose there is a rape - local man has previously been accused and not convicted of rape, so his DNA sample was destroyed. This does not prevent him being a suspect and dragged in for questioning should the police feel that necessary. Swab him, check the criome scene db and destroy DNA and release him if no match.

    And don't forget the presence of his DNA does not make him guilty anyway, it just places his DNA (not him) at the crime scene, which may require explanation. The explanation may be inncocent, or that the DNA was planted, as well as possible guilt.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Number 10 Petitions Scandal!

    Oh, look at this!

    Is this a scandal? Or just the people who run the Number 10 e-petitions site making a little mistake on this occasion?

    Not long ago, I looked for petitions on the Number 10 e-petition site calling for Jacqui Smith to be sacked. Out of curiosity, I looked at rejected petitions, and found that many such petitions had been rejected. What really caught my attention, though, was the following reject:-

    "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, from office for gross ineptitude.

    "Since taking the post of Home Secretary we, the public, having become increasingly alarmed at her inordinately extreme actions with regard to various events. The latest being to question the European Courts' decision to castigate the UK government for the illegal retention of DNA samples of non-offenders. It is to be hoped that the government can find someone of less Stalinist conviction."

    Unfortunately, this petition had been rejected:-

    "This petition has been rejected because:

    "* It was similar to and/or overlaps with an existing petition or petitions

    "Additional information about this rejection:"

    But when you visit the supposedly similar petition, you find it's this:-

    "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Sack Jacqui Smith for gross incompetence.

    "Jacqui Smith has overseen the most destructive period of activity by this government on the moral of the various British Police Forces and should be sacked and replaced by someone who actually understands how important the police are for the safe operation of a society."

    So instead of petitioning against Jacqui Smith turning the UK into a police state, you have to petition for the government to do even more to turn us into a police state instead! At least, that's the way this comes across.

    Wasn't it Jacqui Smith who denied that this government is "Stalinesque"?

    Let's kick up a storm about this. It'll be fun!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ac 14:47

    nice troll! v succesful!

    Paris cos I'd sample her any day

  33. Anonymous John

    @AC - 14:47

    As others have said, the sample should never have reached the database. And I can see no circumstances where a baby's DNA has to be eliminated, without the need to eliminate the DNA of the parents, siblings and visitors as well.

    We now seem to be living in an Alice in Wonderland world where crime victims and their families end up on the DNA database.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    petitioning through gov website

    I went to the aforementioned website to see if there were any other protests against Jacqui or the database. Under law and order I found these two gems

    "capital punishment for paedophile's and child murder's"

    Marian Louise Riley

    (6456 signatories)

    "Increase the sentences of those found guilty of attacks on horses, ponies, and other equines" Emma Dickinson-Gater

    (5335 signatories)

    From which I determine that horse-lovers have better education than the anti-child abuse crowd.

    By comparison, the sack Jacqui one was at 300-odd. The highest signed one was about the use of public order forms and music events.

    No wonder the Gov is out of touch if they look at their own site.

  35. Guy Heatley

    An independent DNA database authority

    I see some sort of DNA database as inevitable, but I think the following rules should be applied:

    1) The database is held by an independent authority, NOT the police. The police must make formal requests for DNA matching services, like they have to do with phone taps. All requests are publicly logged. Who request is from, who request is concerning, and why.

    2) Innocent people's DNA is not stored. (This is law already via the Euro human rights act)

    3) Only enough data to *uniquely identify* a suspect is released in some kind of standardised coded format: You can glean a lot more information from DNA than just a unique identifier - predisposition medical conditions, ancestry info etc. There is no reason for law enforcement authorities to be privy to this information.

    4) Other safeguards I haven't yet though of ...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Election soon

    You can see the political broadcasts on TV now so the election can't be far off.

    I'm guessing late June 2009, in theory he can hold onto power till 10th June 2010 but to do that he'd have to run out the time till it's force on him.


  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 1447

    It's the scum vermin that need to have their human rights protected, if you can remove human rights from a suspected paedo (for example), it sets a precedent that it's ok to remove people's human rights, if we don't like them or their practices. From there it isn't too far to remove all banker's pensions because we don't like bankers at the moment, or bang up suspected terrorists because we don't like terrorists etc. etc. etc.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Guy Heatley, Re: An independent DNA database authority

    "I see some sort of DNA database as inevitable..."

    I'd say you're committing the inevitability fallacy.

    It's only "inevitable" if too many people resign themselves to such an "inevitability", in which case it isn't really inevitable in the first place. As long as we believe the "inevitability" lie, our government will keep doing stuff like this.

    The European Court of Human Rights ruling was the result of two, ordinary people refusing to accept the retention of their DNA as "inevitable". They won, the government lost.

  39. Ascylto
    Black Helicopters

    All the time

    "When I walk along the street, children under a year old are always coming up to me and gurgling 'Ubba lubba appa gappa' which clearly shows they want to be on my new DNA database. They just can''t wait"

    Jack(boot) Jacqui.

  40. Theresa Forster
    Black Helicopters

    CSI is not gone mad

    If anyone has watched CSI then you should know that anyone at a crime scene needs their DNA to be taken so that it can be discounted when taking samples, for instance a newly born in their crib, a burglar breaks in via the babys room and proceeds to stab said mother, they will want to take the childs DNA to ensure that they are not looking for him/her rather than the actual criminal.

    True the DNA shouldnt have been retained on the database but i think at the moment its a case of "we have DNA we must store it somewhere to perform the comparison"

    As an aside, all the CSI operatives (gil grisome and co) have their DNA in there as well as prints so that anything they leave can also be discounted.

  41. Wayland Sothcott


    I feel that we are attacking the puppet not the puppet master.

    Who ever is in charge has to do what their master tells them. It should be the us the people who are in charge. The MyLifeMyID website showed that Jaqui ignores evidence she sets out to obtain.

    Maybe I am missing something. Maybe people who post opinions online have different opinions to the majority of britains?

    I know that cirtain news articles will always attract a cirtain opinion. For instance only people who support our armed services would dare post on an article about protesters getting in the face of our brave boys at their home coming parrade. Not entirely true, there were about three but their scores were very negative.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The baby DNA has nothing to do with a crime scene

    Whats more worrying is that the babies DNA may be on the database thanks to a CSA or court paternity query.

    What many people appear to be unaware of is that many of the children included on the database may be there because the question of paternity has arisen when the CSA have sent a MEF to an unsuspecting father.

    Likelihood is the fathers reference sample will also be on the database if the childs is as well.

    The current law on retention of DNA relates only to arrest so how the use of samples given in CSA cases make there way onto the national database is one that needs investigating.

    Black helicopters, wacki's preferred mode of transport

  43. ElFatbob

    Re: 'Idiots'

    'You reaslise of course that the babies DNA was on the database for purposes of elimination ?'

    Have a think about what you've just said there. Eliminated from what? A crime.

    So we're back to the point about what furkin crime does a baby need eliminated as a suspect from?

    The reason this government get away with this shit, is because of idiots like you.

  44. EvilGav

    I could be wrong . . .

    . . . but I believe Whacky to be way off the mark about the DPA with regards to announcing an age.

    The age of a person, in and of itself, cannot reveal the person it relates to, QED it isn't covered by the DPA.

    To find the actual person, you would have to have more information - the actual date of birth would be a good start or perhaps the area the person lived.

    Equally, I suspect the DNADB actually holds a date of birth, rather than an age and the age is calculated on the fly (if it isn't, it's a stupid db). As such, the age probably isn't even held as a static field, but has been calculated for the purposes of this report, which would further distance this from being covered by the DPA.

  45. Catkins

    Elimination Purposes

    ElFatBob - The original reason for taking the baby's sample was reasonable - there had been a break in at the family home and the police needed to work out whose DNA and fingerprints at the crime scene belonged to family members and whose belonged to the burglars. Elimination purposes only. It's how the sample ended up on the DNA database of criminals which is the problem.

    AC@11:13 - yes, why are kids who have had samples taken in paternity disputes ending up on a database maintained by the National Policing Improvement Agency? That's what happened in the case of the 14 year old Nottingham schoolboy whose DNA sample in 2001 proved he'd carried out the Omagh car bomb. Aged 11. He's actually lucky that his age and location basically proved he wasn't the bomber. Had he been older, he would have spent an uncomfortable few weeks in custody trying to explain himself.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Re: CSI is not gone mad

    "True the DNA shouldnt have been retained on the database but i think at the moment its a case of "we have DNA we must store it somewhere to perform the comparison""

    And this is one of the main concerns with such databases: some agency or other claims that it needs information originating from the DNA of an individual, and then for want of proper controls over the handling of such data, this information starts to wander around and get used for all kinds of other things. Storing such information for the purposes of elimination is one thing; uploading such information to a permanent database is another.

    "As an aside, all the CSI operatives (gil grisome and co) have their DNA in there as well as prints so that anything they leave can also be discounted."

    Yes, and permanently retained information could also be used to frame people if the evidence is trusted by, say, jurors who see that "the numbers came up" and fail to look beyond the claims at the actual evidence.

  47. ElFatbob

    Re: Catkins

    Ok, wasn't aware of the circumstances, but as you point out the problem is how these profiles all end up on the NDNAD.

    The biggest problem for me is the lack of security, accountability and scope creep that every single one of these great database schemes have....

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: I could be wrong . . .

    Just a passing thought, but might this be Jacqui's way of pretending that she and the government are really, really, really careful about protecting people's privacy? After all, if she takes the Data Protection Act and people's privacy so seriously that she won't even give actual ages, we can be sure she'll keep all our personal details safe, yeah?


    She'd make an absolutely rubbish stage magician with ploys like that.

  49. Guy Heatley

    Re: An independent DNA database authority

    I agree very few things are inevitable.

    2 points:

    1) DNA is undeniably a powerful tool for crime detection, proving innocence as well as guilt.

    2) Like most biometric data (e.g. fingerprints) DNA can be easily collected - it isn't secret data.

    If some organisation was determined and well-funded enough they could obtain a sample of your DNA, and therefore a profile.

    I personally think that a database of DNA information on convicted criminals would be a good thing, provided access to the information was strictly controlled and the "raw" DNA profile was always kept secret.

    Whether this government is capable of implementing a sensible and fair scheme, seems unlikely, with the clowns we see in charge...

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