Since we posted our summary of the issues surrounding the DNA database, media discussion of the new Home Office proposals has continued. The coverage raises some good questions, and makes some worrying revelations.
Comment is Free published a similar summary to ours on the same day, which includes some additional info about the rules regarding juveniles. It also compares the DNA database with the recent controversy surrounding drugs classification, describing both as "policy based more on populism than science".
A spokesperson for Women Against Rape challenges the citation of rape cases to justify retention of DNA. She argues that the database has not improved the rate of conviction in rape cases, and that "politicians and police are not always motivated by justice". In the comments, several people make the point that in 90% of rape cases the rapist is known to the victim, making the question one of consent rather than identity. As long as "police stand accused of repressive behaviour in a number of spheres, while neglecting serious crimes including against women" it is exploitative to use rape to excuse infringements of our civil liberties.
This morning, the Metro published an article highlighting the difficulty of getting your DNA removed from the database once it's on, if you have never been convicted or charged:
"The process is so complicated that only 76 people out of 316 applicants have successfully completed it since August 2008 - while 96,000 more people were added to the police database.
People have to 'supply a comprehensive statement of the events which includes times, dates, locations, names, any reference numbers and reasons why they feel it should be considered exceptional', according to the Met Police."
As Big Brother Watch point out, if DNA data is so hard to delete, how come Scotland manage it as a matter of course?
However, this latest revelation from the Telegraph tops it all:
Innocent people will have to pay £200 to fight to have their DNA removed from the national database under proposals in the Queen's Speech next week.
So now they're not only adding the DNA profiles of innocent people to an illegal database, they want to charge people for asking to be removed from it? What's next - charging people for making complaints against the police? Actually forget I said that - I wouldn't want to give them ideas.