back to article National DNA database grows on the genes of the innocent

Almost 600,000 genetic profiles taken from innocent people have helped swell the National DNA Database to cover about seven per cent of the UK population. Home Office figures also reveal that DNA profiles from 39,095 children who have never been charged, cautioned or formally reprimanded are now on the database indefinitely. …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Your child belongs to us already

    Coat.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Once again...

    ... we find ourselves in the (not long ago unthinkable!) situation where the EU might just bail us out from our own government's muddled thinking. Not to mention it's muddled data protecting...

    AC, well, yeah!

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Stop

    It's no good...

    I'm too angry from the road pricing rant to make a coherent comment here.

    We're doomed.

  4. John Bayly
    Coat

    @Mycho

    Surely, all your children are belong to us.

    Mine's the one with Zero Wing on the back

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does

    anyone know where they keep this thing? Knowing the government the backups are probably naff and it's central, bar of course a few dozen exports on random peoples desktops and private contractors for research.

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    Think of the children

    According to another article in the Reg, in the UK we are NOT innocent until proven guilty, therefore children should be considered guilty from birth, after all how many of them will grow up to be the proud possessors of ASBOs or worse? I say let's stop messing around , don't just take their DNA,fire a chip into their necks the moment they are born so we can keep track of them from day one.

    We could train Midwife/policemen then we could chip the little sods the moment there is enough of the neck showing.

  7. dervheid
    Stop

    "forced to remove all the DNA profiles it retains from innocent people."

    Easily solved.

    The NuLabourian Stazi will simply ensure that EVERYONE will be found guilty of SOMETHING, no matter how *trivial*.

    What did you think they meant by "biometric data" on your ID Card.

    "Papers Please, Citizen!"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Once again...

    Totally in agreement - how on earth can we have got ourselves into this situation where we reply upon the EU to protect us from our own corrupt, incompetent, self-serving and deeply unrepresentative gubmint?

    Sadly Meg Hillier is my constituency MP and her voting record is so far up Gordy Brown's arse that I'm surprised you don't see her whenever he opens his mouth. Needless to say I'll never vote for her pathetic party ever again.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    WTF

    is going on in this country. When the tory party is seen as a viable alternative for government something is fundamentally wrong.

    Paris cos she knows when she's being shafted.

    Efros

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ass covering mode

    Meg Hillier? Jacqui Smith is obviously aware that taking DNA samples from innocent kids looks bad so she sends her deputy to explain it. Gee, do you think the parents will vote Labour???? Well Labour MPs, do you?

    Just like she put out a report last month saying how the Home office is doing well and everyone is happy with their performance, i.e. 'don't sack me because they won't vote Labour, blame others'. Even though her department is the problem area and she is the cause of those problems.

    The Met's 'crime is down' map likewise, the Met is criticised for it's heavy handed policing and scaremongering. Chief scarer Blair is threatened with the sack by Mayor Boris, and out comes this map showing how wonderful London is and crime is down from May to June.....

    Although we know property crimes drop as summer approaches, so does vehicle crime, and the stats show Robbery peaks in May....so they chose the Burglary/Vehicle/Robbery crimes from May to June to show the drop:

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/rdsolr0207.pdf

    Again it's a 'don't sack me, it's someone elses fault' mentality, comparing two months uncorrected for seasonal trends, then sticking a big down arrow on them has little to do with crime statistics. It's ass covering.

  11. Dunstan Vavasour

    Policing by consent

    It always used to be a key principle that policing in this country is done by the community with consent, not by the government. That is why we pay for it on our council tax rather than through the exchequer, and that is why we have Police Authorities - to set the parameters for policing within the relevant force.

    This is why it was a big deal when Blunkett moved on the Chief Constable of Humberside after the Soham murders - he was seeking as the executive branch of central government to overrule the police authority, who "represent" the community being policed.

    This national DNA register is so significant because it drives another great big nail into the principle of "consent" in policing.

  12. drunk.smile
    Thumb Up

    May I be one of the first...

    to welcome our database wielding police state overlords. (they're watching us - quickly, kiss me before they read our minds!).

  13. Solomon Grundy

    EU

    The EU won't help you. If they find against keeping innocent people's DNA then the UK will just ignore them and refuse to comply. The EU really doesn't have much power and it certainly wouldn't be the first time the UK govt has completely ignored them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Spying Stasi Stalinist Control Freak Bastards

    When will this scummy excuse for a government learn?!

    Persecuting the general population in the hope of stopping/catching a few criminals will never work!

    The dream - as with so many government ideas - is that Criminals will play by the rules; or perhaps that if we start tagging/swabbing everyone at birth (unless they are rich/important enough (party members) to afford a certain level of liberty) then we will stop all crime in our time...

    Nah. They're just a bunch of scummy, spying, Stasi, Stalinist Control Freak Bastards that couldn't give a flying-fuck about stopping crime or criminals - they just want to control us all!

    The only good thing to say is that it will be implemented incompetently and details will leak all over the place and it will break...

  15. Inspector_Morse
    Unhappy

    If you REALLY want to be depressed....

    ....read this:

    http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559597

    It's the Privacy International Dec 1997 report on surveillance around the world.

    Worst infringers of privacy (where data are available):

    UK, US, Russia, China, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia,

    while the best country in the world appears to be Greece. Anyone fancy partnering me in farming olives?

  16. Sureo
    Paris Hilton

    From their point of view...

    it's a hit all around. Anyone who has watched CSI knows how crucial the fingerprint and DNA databases are to investigations. As far as they are concerned, they'd like everyone to be in there. They are just trying to make their work easier. They probably don't know what the problem is.

  17. Chris Cheale

    Mind bleach please

    > and her voting record is so far up Gordy Brown's arse

    I hope I'm not the only person who read that as "Gordy's brown arse"...

    Don't vote Tory - make a point, make your vote invalid by scrawling "None of the self-serving, incompetant, lying corrupt bastards" all over it... or vote Lib Dem, it amounts to much the same thing.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @AC "where is it?"

    No, don't go down this path. There's a history of someone finding out in 'Brum or Solihull where DNA lives (the orig samples HAVE to be retained as the current profiling is not specific enough, in case of a near-match more detailed and careful analyses will be made(hopefully!)) anyway, the story was one of a fire and seized PC's and harassment, IIRC. a bit of gooooogling "nutteing2" will give - eventually - a biased? anti-NDNAD POV.

    and to answer the question, it was HQ: Priory House, Gooch Street, North Birmingham B5 6QQ, Laboratories Birmingham, Chepstow, Chorley, Huntingdon, London, Wetherby.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Think of the children

    We should continue this logic to it's obvious conclusion, and that pure wisdom given form in Judge Death.

    All crime is commited by the living, therefore the crime is life, the punishment? Death.

    The only solution to crime is extinction.

  20. adnim Silver badge

    I am your bitch

    It would be better for us all if the government just chipped us at birth, monitoring our behaviour, location and lifestyle through every stage of development. With CCTV in school classrooms providing a rich source for character appraisal, the government, based on the data gleaned during the citizens formative years and classroom footage would give the citizen a job. Salaries would be payed directly into a government controlled bank account which the citizen could not access. Every month a credit allowance could be paid into a citizens personal spending account, not real money of course. We would be allowed to spend these credits on products and services which were wholly government sponsored and approved.

    The government could then determine if we need to drive or just want to, and permit or deny appropriately, therefore no need for road pricing. There would be no overweight citizens, no drunks on the street, no taxes, no one with a self inflicted higher rate for suffering heart disease or cancer. Criminals could be caught almost instantly. And these are just a few of the advantages that come to mind. There must be many more advantages I haven't realised yet that our far seeing, caring, benevolent and benign government surely have.

    I can see it now, the government are really trying to create a utopia for it's citizens, all you naysayers who are trying to resist our wonderful caring governments plans just make me sick. Subversives, insurgents and terrorists the lot of you.

    I'll get my coat, the transparent one showing I have got nothing to hide.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Such Agency, nope, no cotton swabs or cig buts

    especially not at...

    (Named by the FSS... after Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys the inventor of DNA profiling...)

    Oldbury Facility, Jeffreys House, 1 Wharfside, Rounds Green Road, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 2BU: a purpose built industrial building used partly as a store and partly fitted as office and laboratory space. Occupied from 1997 on a 20-year lease until 2017; 1012 square metres.

    Chepstow Laboratory, Usk Road, Chepstow, Gwent NP6 6YE

    Chorley Laboratory, Washington Hall, Euxton, Chorley, Lancashire PR7 6HJ

    Huntingdon Laboratory, Hinchinbrooke Park, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE18 8NP

    Wetherby Laboratory, Sandbeck Way, Audby Lane, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS22 7DN

    Birmingham Laboratory, Priory House, Gooch Street North, Birmingham B5 6QQ

    Birmingham Headquarters, Norfolk House, 3rd Floor, Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4LJ

    Trident Court, Building 2920/2040/2060, Solihull Parkway, Birmingham Business Park, Birmingham B37 7YN

    West Bromwich Storage Facility, National Archive, Unit C, Doranda Way Industrial Park, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 4LE

    and a little MetPol Lab

    from www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/5/4/214.pdf Home Office national asset register

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    RE: make a point, make your vote invalid

    Thats the one, voting Lib Dem just supports the system, if we all spolit our votes in stead of abstaining or voting for second best they might get the message.

    60% abstentions = Apathy must make voting compulsory or something

    60% spolit votes = there's something wrong maybe we should do something

    Well I can dream can't I!!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Don't vote Tory

    If you spoil your ballot paper you get put down as being content with the way things are irrespective of who gets into power.

    If you want to register your dissatisfaction then I'm afraid you'll have to vote for someone who isn't Labour or Conservative. Scrawling "None of the self-serving, incompetant, lying corrupt bastards" all over your ballot paper will get it partly-read by one person and shoved in the 'spoiled papers' bin. Then you'll be ignored as one of the happy subjects.

    I expect to vote Lib Dem. At least that way more than one person gets to notice.

  24. Mark

    George's Song

    (to the tune Annie's song. near enough)

    You've fucked up my census

    You've got my DNA

    You've sold off my data

    Come jail me today!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @RE: make a point, make your vote invalid

    It would be far nicer if 60% of the population joined a political movement set on building a new democracy, banning politicos and lobbys and quangos and other such things.

    Course the problem with such uprisings the CIA would sponcer a pro-US coup.

    Other problem is, sad to say it but most people like the way the "government" works, as the tories are still part of the government - kind of (they all debate together and they have votes and such like.) Also the Tories will continue down the same "fight the terrorists" "think of the children" "there's a peado in your closet!" "Porn is bad" lines, I mean, remember, these are the Tories.

    Nope, not much will change, of course I'm going to vote Tory, as it's more natural to dislike tories then labour for me.

    I'd of voted Lib Dem if they hadn't got rid of Charles Kennedy, sadly I have no idea who is in charge of the party now, they had some dull old guy then some dull copper, have they got another new one now? Dunno.

  26. Ernie Barson

    So what will they use and what about?

    1/When we are all on the database what excuse will the police use for the low detection rate?

    2/The concept is good, "if we know where you were and can show your DNA is at the location defacto you are guilty". Problem is it assumes that the police are angels and are never tempted to plant evidence i.e they only present the facts.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Voting and the EU

    If you want the EU to "help" - well, then you will first have to vote the BNP into power at which point the EU - unwilling to pay for the hardware - will get NATO or the Yanks to teach you lot that Democracy is best spread from the bomb racks of F111 and F16's!!

  28. pica
    Thumb Up

    Thank $Deity

    I live in scotland where the rules are diffrent.

  29. Ricki
    Linux

    @RE: make a point, make your vote invalid

    Sure, if you spoil you ballot paper you're portrayed as too stupid to vote/content with your lot.

    But if massive numbers spoil their papers, that starts to show up in statistics.

    Even better, if massive numbers spoil their paper in exactly the same way, say by affixing a colourful, highly visible sticker to their paper, that would be hard to pass off as an act of thickism and would also be visible enough to start being noticed at count footage on tele.

    Penguin, cos i'd vote for an Antarctic seabird over any of the current tw@s.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ernie Barson

    By that time the only numbers we'll see are the ones provided by the Ministry of justice.

    The internet no longer being the internet of today but instead a ring of proxies that all national ISPs must go through.

    The proxies of course being maintained by the Ministry of Justice and the military intelligence sorts.

    All media of course shall be vetted by the Ministry of Justice.

    After the database is imposed, crime will go down, becouse that is what we will be told.

    Distopian Britain, oo yeah, now that's a thing. I remember once writing a game world where Britain was run by the "Administration" they had a Ministry of Justice. They also had a Department of Urban Pacification.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Who thinks DNA testing is infallible

    It is interesting to note that DNA profiling is not the exact science people think it is. Like fingerprinting, the complex pattern is sampled, and for the purposes of the Criminal DNA database, 10 alleles are stored for reference, so that a computer can compare samples.

    This is similar to fingerprints, where significant points and whirls are identified for comparison, but the similarities break down there. When checking fingerprints, the significant points are used to identify possible matches, which are then pulled up as a graphic image to be compared manually, giving a much more trustworthy result than just comparing the extracts.

    The same check is NOT done for DNA. Statistically, it is possible for the 10 alleles to match, but for there to be a differences elsewhere in the DNA sequence (i.e. a different person). You don't have the abillity to do an eye-ball comparison to confirm the match unless you have kept the original sample. Also the distribution of the alleles is not random. There are strong ethnic clusters of alleles, meaning that one or more of the checked alleles may be significantly less useful in defferentiating people from the same ethnic background.

    I've seen some maths that say that for some of the more common genotypes, the match is nothing like the 1 in 14 million or whatever they quote, but more like 1 in 100,000 (from memory). Hmm. 70 million people in the UK, which may mean a match to 700 different people. And this is sold as infallible

    Apparantly, the bods behind the DNA database are aware of this, which is why they are keeping the samples that have been taken stored cryogenically, somewhere in Milton Keynes (I believe), just in case someone challenges the evidence.

    Waits for the "thwap, thwap, thwap" of the helicopter blades....

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    El Reg needs to start its own party

    --*NEWSFLASH!*--

    "The Register has started a new Party called: 'NON OF THE SELF-SERVING SCUM'.

    The Party's stated aims are:

    1. Make parents take some fuckin' responsibility.

    2. Stop the Government intrusion into people's everyday lives.

    3. Simplify Income Tax by removing it - only get taxed for services that you actually use.

    4. Remove Road-Tax - Just a single tax on Fuel

    5. Make it illegal for any elected official to lie to or mislead the electorate (local council or otherwise)

    6. Bring back habeus-corpus

    7. Remove all innocent persons from the DNA Database, immediately

    8. Stop the ID Cards

    9. Everyone is INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty - not the other way around.

    10. Remove all methods used to spy on and oppress ordinary citizens going about their normal everyday law abiding lives - i.e. CCTV, ANPR, Facial recognition, speed/safety/gatso cameras

    11. Ban from driving (forever), anyone caught hogging the middle or outer lanes of a motorway or A-road - or any dual carriageway.

    12. Make the Police concentrate on apprehending real criminals (drug dealers, car theives, burglars, purse-snatchers, rapists, murderers, gangsters, people traffickers [i.e. anyone from South or East London] etc) instead of treating EVERYONE like a criminal.

    13. No right to detain people without charge or without access to a Lawyer - and remaining silent will not be held against someone.

    14. Government ministers and civil servants are expected to resign (without a golden handshake) if they screw up - like when they lose data...

    15. Unlike other manifestos, we'll actually be sticking to ours instead of forgetting all about it once we get to power..."

    --

    Rumours that Lester Haines laughed manically at the mention of the word "Power" are unsubstantiated...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Who thinks DNA testing is infallible

    It doesn't matter that it's fallible, this isn't a replacement for a court system.

    The current situation is the worst possible, there are many, but not all people on the DB. Because of the mysticism surrounding DNA, when they do get a match, it's assumed to be correct. If the police regularly got 2 or 3 obviously invalid matches then the courts would understand the fallibility of the match.

    It's still useful in that it gives you a small group of people to look at more closely. Evidence is always just a pointer to the guilty party, even a pristine chunk of CCTV footage could still be someone's evil twin.

    I really don't see how the DNA DB will be abused.

    Most of the comments here are just a random squeal about civil liberties with no actual content. Just say what you're afraid of. George's Song By Mark being a prime example.

    Why don't you want them to have your DNA? They've got your name, address, date of birth, tax receipts (thus how much you earn and where you earn it), what you drive and your fingerprints - if you've ever been arrested.

    @pica : I live in scotland where the rules are diffrent.

    A national DNA database would have to either include everyone in Scotland, or impose a border control for taking samples as you come into England. If you skip all the visitors then the database becomes a bit daft.

  34. Mark

    @JonB

    "If the police regularly got 2 or 3 obviously invalid matches then the courts would understand the fallibility of the match."

    This would suppose that the police tell anybody how many matches they get.

    Why is it that if they have my address, etc that I should give them everything else they have? I really can't see it.

    I leave my DNA and fingerprints EVERYWHERE. I leave them on people and things that move and leave it somewhere else.

    DNA should ONLY be used to reject suspects. AFTER you've got your suspect.

    And that doesn't require that you keep their DNA.

    And what about procedures? One of the reasons why OJ got off was because procedures were sloppy. Another story on el reg had someone who had PROOF that the DNA evidence was matched because they didn't clean the testing equipment.

    Using DNA to FIND criminals cannot work safely. And finding them is the only reason to have a database of them.

    Is that enough for you as a reason why I shouldn't allow a DNA database?

  35. Jon Kale
    Boffin

    re: Once Again

    FYI: it's the Council of Europe, not the EU, that's responsible for the ECHR (and the associated machinery - the European Court of Human Rights et al). The membership of the EU is a proper subset of the membership of the CE (I *think* that CE membership - involving signing up to such treaties as the ECHR, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse - is mandatory for EU members and candidates), but the CE also includes such countries as Russia, the Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    And, incidentally, this is the sort of thing the Council of Europe was originally set up to avoid - so instead of lamenting that we had to go to the Europeans, be glad that we had, in the past, the foresight to set up supranational institutions to restrict the unfettered power of the nation-state over its citizens/subjects (delete as applicable).

  36. Nano nano

    Do-it-yourself Ancestry ?

    Since the Govt is supposedly releasing its National Records Office scans of births, marriages and deaths, why don't they go the whole hog and let us know who all our long-lost relatives are as well, since they have all the DNA matches ?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @jonb

    What I'm afraid about is an expert witness who stands up in court and tells a jury that "DNA evidence is great" and "look we have a 10 loci match" and "this means that it is unlikely that anybody else could have done it", when, in fact, the test recorded in the DNA database was faulty (there is a significant failure rate when recording a DNA profile, possibly as high as 4%), the person in question was a member of a common genotype, and in fact several thousand other people in the country would also have matched.

    The jury, not being experts themselves, or even understanding enough maths to understand what is or is not statistically significant, will take this at face value, and convict an innocent person on this and some circumstantial evidence.

    I hope that when the DNA database is up and running, and a couple of hundred people match a DNA sample from a crime scene, and you are one of them, you don't mind being taken in for questioning. Because it could happen. Even if it is a 20 million to one chance, this means that, on taken simplisticly, another two people in the country would match your DNA profile. And if Paul Nutteing (google nutteingd) is correct, the odds are MUCH lower than 20 million to one.

  38. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Can a DNA DB be kept safe

    Do you think that whatever agency keeps the DB can prevent leaks, because I'm sure that Insurance companies, amongst others, would love to be able to screen health insurance applications against illnesses with a genetic component.

    Also, think what scandals a complete paternity map of the UK population might show! What would the tabloids pay for such information.

  39. Yosemite Sam

    Why are they getting away with this?

    When are you people going to rise up and stop your government from violating your rights? Wasn't your government created by your ancestors to PROTECT your rights? Oh wait, I forgot--only your government is allowed to be armed--so you already GAVE UP your ability to stop those devils from violating your rights. Just sit in front of your master-sponsored entertainment and wait for your full enslavement to be complete.

  40. Mark
    Thumb Up

    @Jon Kale

    And IIRC, Toony Blair (a typo but I decided it was appropriate!) was in charge of the council of europe at the time and the ECHR was based on the UK Bill of Rights.

  41. Chris G Silver badge

    If you really want to make a political point

    Make it on the end of a stick... and then poke your MP with it. Doing that will carry much more weight than a spoiled vote, in the British voting system a spoiled vote has no democratic value and even less political value. Short of say 50% of all the people that vote in an election spoiling their votes after announcing publicly beforehand that that was going to happen no one would take any notice. Legally though it would count for nothing as the decision would still go to whom ever got the majority of the unspoiled votes. In reality you should vote, the hard bit is , as always finding some one to vote for .

    As far as DNA is concerned, it can only be used effectively to exclude people from a crime scene,or to indicate that their DNA was present( hair on a pillow, saliva on a cup both of which could have been introduced to the scene from elsewhere) unless for example in the case of rape there is positive physical evidence such as semen, tissue or saliva actually on the or in the victim or blood splattered around. DNA evidence at the scene of a crime is purely circumstantial and can only be considered part of a prosecution's case along with other evidence that may be circumstantial or otherwise. Enough circumstantial evidence linked to a suspect will make a jury consider it unlikely that he wasn't at the scene of a crime but it is still not proof positive There is something like a 2 billion in one chance of somebody elses DNA matching yours but only if the entire of the sample is read , which is not the case. The cops probably don't really understand what DNA samples signify to them it is a hi-tech means for catching perps. Give ti a couple of years and they will begin to see that the only way to catch crims is by good policing, there are no quick fixes , but because they don't understand it they hope the public don't either and with a strongly put case it doesn't necessarily have to make sense only sound likely to a jury to a conviction.

  42. adnim Silver badge

    @Peter:Can a DNA DB be kept safe

    Even if the government can keep the data secure, ie; Not loose it in the post, leave it in a taxi, have it stolen with a laptop etc. etc. People are greedy and open to bribery. And even if all those with access to this data are above compromise and value honesty and integrity above money, well the government will sell the data anyway.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    >This would suppose that the police tell anybody how many matches they get.

    Actually if the police fail to disclose evidence to the defence then they are fitting up the subject anyway.

    >Why is it that if they have my address, etc that I should give them everything

    >else they have? I really can't see it.

    It was an observation that they already have lots of info on you that you don't appear bothered about.

    >I leave my DNA and fingerprints EVERYWHERE. I leave them on people and

    >things that move and leave it somewhere else.

    Well, if you're dumping it all over the place then you're not exactly protecting it are you?

    >DNA should ONLY be used to reject suspects. AFTER you've got your suspect.

    That's just an assertion. Fingerprints have been used in that way for a very long time.

    >And what about procedures? One of the reasons why OJ got off was because

    >procedures were sloppy. Another story on el reg had someone who had PROOF that

    >the DNA evidence was matched because they didn't clean the testing equipment.

    More frequent use of DNA will remove the mysticism associated with it and highlight the failings. The sloppy testing when applied to a database of millions would fairly often produce matches of hundreds, maybe thousands. Such statistics could then be used in court to reflect on the validity of the DNA evidence.

    >Using DNA to FIND criminals cannot work safely. And finding them is the only

    >reason to have a database of them.

    Just an assertion again, just because you say it, doesn't make it so.

    >Is that enough for you as a reason why I shouldn't allow a DNA database?

    No. Don't get me wrong, I'm not keen on the idea, the testing infrastructure for everyone coming into the country would be a right pain and expensive.

    @AC

    >What I'm afraid about is an expert witness ...

    The expert witness is more dangerous now, where DNA is rarely used and there's limited understanding of it and its limitations. Broader use actually devalues its value as evidence.

    >a couple of hundred people match a DNA sample from a crime scene, and you are one of them

    A cocked up fingerprint match could do the same, in rape cases the police will often ask all the men in the locality for a dna match and refusal makes you suspect there.

    Besides, what value will a DNA match that hit 100 people have in court?

    What if they do a search for a rapist vetting everyone in your neighbourhood and you match? A single false positive (assuming you're not a rapist ;) ) is a bigger problem for a defence than a hundred.

    @ChrisG

    >As far as DNA is concerned, it can only be used effectively to exclude people

    >from a crime scene

    It can't do that at all. DNA can't say who wasn't there.

  44. Mark

    JonB

    ">As far as DNA is concerned, it can only be used effectively to exclude people from a crime scene

    It can't do that at all. DNA can't say who wasn't there."

    Yes it can.

    If there is no DNA there, you weren't there.

    Or are you going to say not being seen at the scene of a crime doesn't say you're not there? After all, you could have had an invisibility cloak on!

  45. Graham Marsden
    Joke

    @Yosemite Sam

    > When are you people going to rise up and stop your government from violating your rights? [...] Oh wait, I forgot--only your government is allowed to be armed

    Ah, right, so we should stage a Revolution!

    Come the Glorious Day, Comrade Sam!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    There are plenty of people who have been convicted of crimes where no-one saw them and they left no DNA.

    >After all, you could have had an invisibility cloak on!

    Yes, that's surely the only way someone could commit a crime without being seen.

  47. Mark

    JonB

    So if there are plenty of people who didn't leave DNA, how will DNA repository help find these people next time they strike?

    Plant the DNA?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    It won't, it's not fucking magic is it.

  49. Mark

    JonB

    So we shouldn't have it.

    Which is what I'm saying.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I surrender!

    As they say, when arguing with an idiot, first make sure they aren't doing the same.

  51. Mark

    JonB

    Uh, just to check so I can see whether I need to insult you again:

    Are you saying that when you are arguing with an idiot (me) you should make sure that I am not arguing with an idiot (you) as well?

    If so, fair enough.

  52. Mark

    Re: It's no good...

    Not really, PC plod is doomed. After I get the jump on the arsehole when they try to take my DNA from me, that plod will no longer be pissing in the shallow end of the gene pool.

    That this means I now have a deserved criminal record means nothing: as far as NuLab are concerned, I was guilty anyway. So I really do have nothing to lose.

    (Note: in a boxing match, most knockouts are a long way into the fight where one of the fighters is just too tired to take it any more. Quick KOs are only where the other person didn't know it was coming. So if you go first and unexpectedly, you can win big time. 'course his ten mates will try to stop you falling down and hurting yourself, but you will have had at least some success. And there are more people than police.)

  53. Ian R
    Joke

    @JonB

    Never argue with an idiot, they'll beat you down to their level and win on experience.

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