Britain: Government reneges on DNA privacy promise

By EDRi · July 27, 2011

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Deutsch: [Britische Regierung bricht ihr Versprechen DNA-Daten zu löschen |]

In Britain, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has
announced that it will not delete the DNA records of suspects who were
arrested but subsequently acquitted or never charged. It had promised
to delete them following the Marper judgement, where the European
Court of Human Rights found it was unlawful to keep the DNA of
acquitted people indefinitely; this promise was enshrined in the
Coalition Agreement that set up the Government after the indecisive
2010 election.

But the Government now says it will rely on “anonymisation”. The DNA records
of innocent people will be retained by the forensic service without the
suspect’s names and addresses. When a match is found with crime-scene DNA in
the future, the innocent former suspect can be identified by matching the
sample bar code with the records of the police force that arrested him last
time. The Government may argue that this complies with UK data protection
law, which is a defective implementation of the Data Protection Directive.
However it fails to satisfy European and human-rights law.

The announcement was made quietly on Monday, 25 July 2011, while the press’s
focus was on the killings in Norway.

Innocent people’s DNA profiles won’t be deleted after all, minister admits

Database State (2009)

(Contribution by Ross Anderson – EDRi-member FIPR – UK)