The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Good news on the DNA database?

Posted by rantingkraut on December 4, 2008

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK authorities violate human rights by permanently keeping DNA records of anyone the police get their hands on. This is good news on the face of it and the fact that Jackie Smith is complaining about it seems to confirm this. On the other hand, she also stated that “The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement.”

‘Carefully considering the judgement’ probably means looking for loopholes that allow the government to ignore it. One can only hope that the ECHR did not highlight the fact that the UK database discriminates against innocent citizens who ended up on the database compared to those who managed to stay off it. If discrimination plays an important part in the judgement, the government’s next move will likely be to make the database compulsory for all, since this is one way of removing differential treatment. (This had probably been intended already as mentioned in here.) On the other hand, the judgement may really be as good as it seems –it is just hard to take good news on civil liberties at face value these days.

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