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4 December, 2008

Anonymous until proven guilty

Yay!  In a ruling described by the Director of Liberty as "one of the most strongly worded judgements that Liberty has ever seen from the Court of Human Rights", the UK* government and police forces have been told that that they cannot retain DNA or fingerprints from anyone who has not been charged with a crime.

If – if – the government complies with its obligation, this mean the profiles of ~850,000 innocent people must be deleted from the National DNA Database.

Needless to say, the Home Secretary has already announced that the government will not comply with the ruling "while ministers consider the judgement" i.e. introduce a legislative workaround, but it'll be hard for them to ignore it outright.

*: In England, Wales & N.Ireland – in Scotland, DNA samples from those not charged or those later acquitted of alleged offences are already destroyed.

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