Court ruling against Britain's DNA storage

DNA model
DNA modelCourtesy Ynse
Britain’s current process of collection and storage of DNA and fingerprints faces a major upheaval. The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that storing such information was a violation of people’s privacy rights. Britain now has until March to destroy almost 1 million of the DNA samples they have stored or make a case for keeping them.
Seven years ago, a man and a teenager were arrested for two unrelated crimes and both charges were later dropped. Both requested that their DNA samples be destroyed, but police refused, keeping the samples on file. Britain previously stored DNA samples of anyone arrested even if they were not convicted of a crime. They keep the samples until the person’s death or until they are 100 years old.
Britain has over 4.5 million samples of DNA, one of the largest databases in the world. Many officials are unhappy with the court ruling, noting that the information has been valuable in solving many recent cases. Human rights groups contend that the court’s decision respects the privacy rights of innocent citizens.
The United States currently allows collection of DNA from convicted felons. However, they have announced plans to collect DNA from people arrested by federal agencies as well as foreigners who have been detained.
Do you think that storing DNA samples is a violation of privacy rights or is it necessary to solving criminal cases? What do you think are fair standards for collection and storage?
You can read more about this at European court makes landmark ruling on DNA rights

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

shaunalynn10's picture

i dont think it's a vioaltion of privacy and it is necessary for solving cases having DNA on file makes it easier to solve crimes

posted on Thu, 12/11/2008 - 5:24pm
Jason Keller's picture
Jason Keller says:

It can go both ways. You either decide to let them have it on file and run the risk of them using for whatever they want, or you could not have on file the DNA of a serial killer.

You have to look at it statisticaly. Would we rather have EVERYONES DNA on file and at the hand of anyone who wants it, or would we rather not do that and try to get the SMALL percentage of serial killers and the such.
I'll support databasing DNA when 51% of the population is commiting horrible crimes, not any lower.

People may jump at the idea of databasing DNA to "make them safer", but what would we be giving up in return? Our very privacy as people. It is the same with the PATRIOT ACT. We rushed though something we thought would make us safer, and it did. But we gave up some of our rights as Americans. We should not have enacted this trade-off, even though it has made us safer. It has put us in an even greater prison, but 'they' may say "well, prisons are safer than out there!". That mey be true, but what are we giving up? What are we giving up?

posted on Sat, 01/03/2009 - 8:24pm
Yamara And Claritza's picture
Yamara And Claritza says:

heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!! help us we need to answer some questions:
1)what should happen to the dna profile after they have been collected?throw it out or keep it ?
2)will dna testing encourage criminals to deliberatley contaminate crime scenes wih samples from other people?
3)will dna testing cause criminals to change the pattern of their crime ?
4)should everyone's profile be stored at birth and stored for future use making it faster to catch criminals ?
reply back!
-thanx !

posted on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 8:42am
kaleigh's picture
kaleigh says:

true but sometimes it can be people will take it in a wrong way

posted on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 1:35pm
Jack's picture
Jack says:

It's hard to say. Keeping DNA samples even if an arrested person is not convicted raises questions about whether DNA collection would continue even further. Why not take a DNA sample of every citizen at birth and keep it for their entire lifetime? That would surely make crime go down! I think this possibly is a much greater violation of privacy than any previous government act. DNA samples can be used for much more than solving crime cases, and I wouldn't trust the government to only use it for that purpose. People should have a right to not have to give up their privacy to their DNA unless they actually committed a crime as the genetic code is an integral part of a person's identity and could reveal much private information that could be used against a person. Then again, maybe I'm overestimating the power of DNA samples, but the technology in using DNA is progressing quickly. It's only a matter of time before DNA could be used for many more useful or possibly harmful purposes. That's why I think the court was right in ordering the DNA samples destroyed.

posted on Thu, 12/11/2008 - 5:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well, how i see it is choose one not both. you can't ask for the law to upgrade on their crime system with new technology and the use of DNA data basing without allowing the collecting and storing of DNA. it sounds kind of like we are asking the police to do their job and keep us safe by solving crime (which now involves some DNA work) but then we turn around and say they can only solve crime but not with our DNA in the data base. Choose. Do you want protection, or not. If you say that DNA samples should not be stored, except for convicted criminals only, then please be prepare to accept that cases will take longer to solve and don't complain too much when a case involves someone you know/love but is taking forever to be solved by the police because it lacks evidence where DNA may just be the key.

is it a violation of human privacy that everyone gets a birth certificate that only a doctor can sign and then is recorded down as being born...with social security numbers....this is basically the same thing as DNA to me anyways so what can i say. i chose to live and through my actions and desires of safety and shelter support this system, so yeah, if you didn't do anything bad, you have nothing to be afraid of right.

and even if you weren't convicted but your DNA sample was taken and stored, as long as it's stored with a note that you have committed no crimes, there's really no biggy. of course if there was a petition from other groups/gov to use those stored DNA samples to do genetic research and testing..that's a total different issue for me.

posted on Sun, 12/21/2008 - 6:41pm
Karin's picture
Karin says:

I think that it is beneficial to keep DNA samples, especially to make sure that innocent peope aren't accused of crimes that they didn't commit. It doesn't seem to me that this breach of privacy would harm anyone, but it certainly could help solve crimes and that would keep us all safer.

posted on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 7:55pm
Kristi's picture
Kristi says:

I do believe that having innocent peoples DNA Profile on a database is a breach of privacy, however, what if a criminal wears gloves at a crime scene, and no fingerprints can be found? If his DNA is on file, and he left a root of hair or a drop of blood or saliva, he can be found and convicted. I think that only a criminal's DNA Profile and people who agree to allow it, should have their DNA on file. If you think about it, many convicted criminals though they have made some turnaround in prison convert back to their old sinful ways. It's human nature. Not that everybody commits crimes, however, if they have gone to that extent, they are bound to go back and do it again. It is very beneficial to keep those DNA Profiles on a database. If someone wants to get one done to identify them, or relatives, or a potential disease, then that is fine with me.

posted on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 5:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

It is most definitely an infringment on one's basic right to privacy.

posted on Sat, 04/03/2010 - 12:43pm
CameronRobertson's picture
CameronRobertson says:

From my personal opinion, I think that DNA collection and storage are very critical in helping the relevant authorities solve criminal cases. I have a friend who was drugged and raped at a party and later got pregnant as a result of that unfortunate incident. However, noone saw or witnessed anything and the country she lives in does not store citizens' DNA, only fingerprints. Thus, nothing could be done to help her. That is why I think it is very crucial for DNA storage to help innocent people involved in criminal cases.

posted on Wed, 06/19/2013 - 2:07am
CameronRobertson's picture
CameronRobertson says:

How can people, in this day and age, do something that obviously flouts personal data protection. I wouldn't let a company keep a hair on my head in storage if they weren't absolutely clear on why. And if I've already said no, then I can totally understand why they were penalised for going against explicit refusal. Serves them right!

posted on Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:51pm
kaleigh's picture
kaleigh says:

i think you can help by donateing your hair to people that need it that have caner or do fundrasing to help to make money and donate it to a chruch family anything and i think i can help by doing thesee things to not just other people

posted on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 1:33pm
ThomasMaloney's picture
ThomasMaloney says:

What? How is the government holding personal data in storage a violation? If the government doesn't have somebody monitoring the people, then who will? Lots of other countries including Australia and Singapore are already implementing biometric recognition in their national identity records. I mean, everytime I come back into Brisbane, if they didn't have my information in information storage, I'd dread to think how long going through immigration might take!

posted on Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:48pm

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