Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Add everyone in the UK to the DNA database?

Since I am hoping to be able to move overseas at some point in the future I try to keep current with what is going on abroad. On the BBC News page today I found a story about a judge that thinks that all citizens and visitors of the UK should be in the DNA database. Apparently the DNA database in the UK is already the largest one in the world because they keep DNA information for everyone that they get samples from. Once you are in the database there is no getting out.

The judge thinks everyone in the country and anyone that visits the country should have their DNA in the database because the database as it is now has a disproportionate number of ethnicities in it due to racial profiling. Here is the way it is broken down now:
  • 5.2% of UK population
  • Nearly 40% of black men
  • 13% of Asian men
  • 9% of white men
The judge thinks that by having everyone's DNA in the system that the database would be fairer to everyone.

I think this is not so great of an idea. Why should the government be able to have everyone's DNA on file? It seems like it would actually be less fair because innocent people would be forced to have to go through the process of giving DNA to get into the database. And wouldn't that clog the system?

Scotland seems to be more on the right track.
In Scotland, DNA samples taken when people are arrested must be destroyed if the individual is not charged or convicted.
My thoughts on this seem to fall in line with the final quote in the article:

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty, said a database for every man, woman and child in the country was "a chilling proposal, ripe for indignity, error and abuse".

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