UK Civil Liberties - New Labour's Record
The police already have a database containing the DNA of more than two
million UK citizens. This week (September 2003) the Police Superintendents'
Association is expected to call for a national DNA database of every citizen.
Such a DNA database would be a massive intrusion of privacy. Your DNA
contains information on your racial background, physical characteristics,
propensity to disease, etc, etc. Some people even believe that your DNA could
specify your sexuality.
It must be stressed that the DNA database in use today does not
contain such personal information. The DNA analysis for an individual
today consists of ten pairs of measurements ("alleles") taken from
what is commonly called junk DNA. However, as technology improves it will
become easier to analyse and record more of an individual's DNA. Combine
this with the desire of all governments for ever-more information on their
people and it becomes "logical" to extend the database. All in the name
of making it more reliable and useful.
Even with today's limited measurements, any compulsory National DNA Database
would be the thin end of a dangerous wedge.
As more of the genetic code is cracked, more and more information about you will
be available from your DNA. Do you really want that on a central government
Of course, we are given assurances that such information will not be
misused. Experience has shown that such
assurances are worthless.
The Home Office has said that there are currently no plans for such a
nationwide database. However David "Big" Blunkett has previously praised the existing
database as a "huge achievement". If he gets away with introducing
compulsory National Identity Cards for innocent
British citizens then combining these with a DNA database would be a
"logical" next step.
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