Tuesday, 26 February 2008

DNA Database

Two murderers were jailed this weekend using DNA evidence collected from the few million people who have been charged with an offence and straight away there were calls to make it a nationwide DNA database with everybody’s details held therefore making it easier and quicker to solve crimes.
My first instinct was that it was an idea worth considering then i remembered that our Government is hopeless at holding information on us.
It somehow lost the tax records of 25m people recently as well as the details of 6500 pensioners and a laptop crammed with top secret documents left at Paddington station.
How can we possibly trust this lot with keeping our genetic codes safe when they have a reputation of being so useless with what they already have?
I don't know what mischief a criminal could get up to if he had the genetic material that goes into making me, me, but it probably isn't good.
So while it may sound a good idea in theory, in practise it would be the equivalent of getting Homer Simpson to protect the crown jewels so until they stop being so hopeless, my DNA stays with me or wherever i decide to leave it and the Police will just have to carry on dusting for fingerprints and harassing black men and Muslims as usual.

6 comments:

Cody Bones said...

As a privacy nut, I really can't stand the idea. You know me, I do NOT TRUST governments. At all

Noah "Nog" M. said...

Lucy,
It can get a lot worse too. In my town of Houston, Texas, the Houston Crime Lab been an on and off big scandal over the past several years.

First, in the United States federal legal system and in the legal systems of all of the 50 states, government officers, police, prosecutors, government detectives, and so on are bound to advocate "the truth and the general good". This means that if a crime lab tech finds out that some piece of DNA clears some poor innocent bloke on death row of rape and murder it is his duty as an officer of the state to say "hey this fellow didn't kill anybody and we probably shouldn't strap him down and give him a theoretically painless triple poison cocktail death".

Somehow or another a lot of these folks don't get this. And it gets worse. There's a word for when a lab tech decides to "switch labels" on exhibits, perjury and fraud. These criminal criminal lab employees apparently thought it prudent to the proper fulfillment to the truth to take the DNA readouts from the crime scene stuff, copy it and relabel it for another exhibit as "DNA of the accused" without ever looking at the DNA of the accused.

I could only imagine what could go wrong if they already had all of our guts with'em to start out with.
They could just label the DNA of whoever they wanted to convict as "DNA found at crime scene".

I tend to go with all of the civil liberties and privacy nuts on this one. Anything that the government has to benefit society can be used just as easily to injure society.

Cheezy said...

I agree with the above two comments. They can't be trusted not to lose it. And they can't be trusted not to fit people up with it - (remember the Guildford Four?).

If somehow these two concerns are overcome, then I will start to consider this idea seriously. It's certainly a sobering thought that the only reason Sally Anne Bowman's killer was caught is because the stupid dickhead got into a pub-fight nine months later and, after being arrested, had his DNA swabbed down the station.

ruth said...

Agree with the above. I believe they fingerprint school kids over there at some schools too. They do this here as well. All without consent - they say it is for using the library.

I complained but very few parents seemed to care - unbelievably.

Lucy said...

That is a scary thought i didn't really consider nog, i was just at the 'what if a criminal got hold of it' stage and didn't consider bent coppers at all. Of course, what you say is all true and does move me out of the consider it camp and into the no thank you camp.

I wasn't aware kids here were being fingerprinted ruth. I am shocked there is not more of a fuss being kicked up about it.

Anonymous said...

Wow,

The fed analyzing my phone calls and emails doesn't bother me nearr as much as them having my DNA profile.

Q