The developer of DNA fingerprinting and profiling has said the government is wrong in retaining profiles of innocent people. Geneticist Sir Alec Jeffreys told MPs that he was "astonished, perplexed and deeply worried" about the existing management policy of the National DNA Database. He was providing evidence to the House of …
I like him
Bad idea, my friend.
I foresee a repeat of the David Nutt incident.
I applaud your stand, Sir Jeffreys, but I don't think it'll achieve much apart decrease your income.
The weakest link
Good for you Sir Alec. You understand that just like a no-fly list, introducing the names of innocents to a DNA data base simply makes the strongest links stronger.
If you want to 'crack the case' you have to make the weakest links stronger, but of course that takes work.
UK -- proudly leading the way up a path only the UAE wants to follow.
Nothing ever changes
He's another Oppenheimer.
dark times ahead...
The real danger of such DNA database, is that in the near future such DNA profile can also be used to other objectives rather than just catch criminals currently advocated by UK government.
The so discussed human cloning is much closer to reality than anyone expects, and it soon could happen under the nose of the government with or without their knowledge.
Further more it appears the sci movie "Gattaca" can soon become our reality where DNA dictates what a individual can be or not.
Remember that what is stored on the database is just a hash of the DNA, not a complete assay. Nobody is going to be able to clone anything from the database, and identifying health problems is unlikely.
... a sensible statement on DNA from someone who actually knows what he's talking about, in contrast to a govt and police system who'd be hard put to tell a steam engine from pure magic let alone DNA science.
At the moment Sir Alec's concern (and the concern of anyone with two brain cells connected) is over the question of databases. But it's significant he feels the need to point out that "the likelihood of a false match was not zero." In fact, given the required and rarely attained standards for DNA matching, the likelihood of a false match is a HELL of a long way from zero.
I might suggest that Sir Alec's quote be tattooed across the foreheads of those who continually push us towards an ID/database society - except for the probability that most of them know full well the limitations of this technique, and simply don't much care.
Nice to see the inventor of the technology object to how it is being abused.
Sadly, the Nutt sack affair is a likely indicator of how much notice will be taken.
But they won't
listen to him, he is only a scientist who knows something about the subject.
Good for you Sir Alec!
Of course we now have to hope that the Government will actually *listen* to the advice they're given instead of ignoring it and blithely continuing to trample all over every liberty we have...
United Arab Emirates?
It's nice to see the open and democratic government of the UAE striving to keep pace with the high principles of freedom that we hold in Blighty. Well done the British government for continuing to raise the bar for others to aspire to.
the UAE is doing slightley better than our gov in the uk they keep your DNA if you are a criminal or if they think you are a criminal but are found incoent that is discrominotry
in the UAE they take everyboadys dna regardless if we did that the Europan cout of human rights would have not found against us
He best not go out on hill walks anytime soon eh?,
If you go down to the woods today...
Sir Alec would be well advised to avoid country walks and keep any old penknives well hidden.
A pity You Know Who won't listen, any more than they do to any expert.
Worse than fingerprints
1. It's very enduring. Your DNA could have been deposited at the scene of a subsequent crime years before the crime occurred
2. You shed DNA into the environment nearly all the time and to some degree it can move around after you've shed it (hairs etc).
3. It's eminently 'plantable' and / or caught up by cross-contamination during forensic processes
4. If DNA found at the crime scene turns you up on the database the assumption of guilt is there - without any other supporting evidence or suspicion whatsoever
Add this together - how do you fancy a knock on the door from Plod asking you "Can you provide an alibi for 3rd March 1998 sir?"
I think it is even worse than the physical planting of evidence. The way DNA markers are now evaluated does not actually involve direct comparison, but electronic records. If someone were to hack into the database and simply change the names for a record, it would not be detected as there is no direct match - the way a photograph in the records can be checked against what you actually look like, for example.
While I am not averse to police records (I am quite happy with people having data on me since I have nothing to hide) the ability to verify if the data is correct is critical and a database of information that is not easily verifiable is open to many potential failures.
...the only two countries in the world who want a national DNA data base retained indefinitely are a monarchical collection of principalities with an overbearing police force who think THEY actually run the country and not the government, and the UAE.
Well done, Gordo.
A question of two Davids...
Which fate awaits him, that of Dr David Kelly or that Mr David Nutt?
"But they won't listen to him, he is only a scientist who knows something about the subject."
Wrong. You do not understand the thinking of the stupid idiots that run ZanuLabour. Correctly phrased in accordance with B'liarism-Harmanism-Jacqui-Smithism, your remark would read:
He is a filthy elitist smarty-pants, untrue to proletarian principles, lacking solidarity with the working class, and (worst of all) not a recipient of "benefits". He probably enjoys sex, too, dirty man that he is. [Harriet always has to chime in.]
New Labour response
What do they know?
Only four boxes
In the political tick-box list: Deny; Ignore; Tax; Ban
Acting on advice isn't one of them
The evidence won't amount to a hill of beans. Government routinely ignores scientific advice, declaring that they should only take the advice and then decide to act upon it so that it serves the public's best interests. What they mean of course is any advice they request that doesn't ultimately support their plans they'll ignore...just like Iraq.
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