The EU courts have ordered the destruction of 800,000 records of innocent citizens. Gordon Brown’s (co-opted) ‘Labour party’ is fighting to make sure that never happens again with this manoeuvre. Note also that both the US and Canada are moving in this direction as well. With the prevalence of laws being passed and harmonized across separate nations, like border technologies, like DNA laws, like copyright, like food safety, like carbon taxes, like economic ‘reforms’ – and the urgency of these moves – there is ample evidence of the incremental formation of a body of authoritarian global law. Resist.
Jamie Doward, The Observer
May 24, 2009
Home secretary bids to bypass Commons vote on database
Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, has been warned that the government risks further damaging the public’s faith in politics after it emerged that plans for the police to keep innocent people’s DNA profiles for up to 12 years will become law without a Commons vote.
Opposition parties and civil liberty groups united to condemn plans that are being steered through parliament while MPs are distracted by the expenses row.
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats claim the government is seeking to make controversial changes to the national DNA database via a “statutory instrument” because it fears losing a vote that would be required if they were introduced by the more conventional method of primary legislation.
A statutory instrument has to be discussed only by a specialist committee which meets for 90 minutes and is usually made up of 16 MPs and a chairman. Critics say the Labour MPs who will dominate the committee will be handpicked by government whips and therefore back the Home Office proposals.
“It is not good enough for ministers to circumnavigate parliamentary process just because they are running scared of another defeat,” said Chris Huhne, the Lib Dems’ home affairs spokesman. “With this administration’s history of legislative diarrhoea, there should be room for the discussion of something so important on the floor of the House.”
Under the government’s proposals, the DNA profiles of those arrested for minor crimes and offences but not charged or found guilty will be held for six years before being destroyed. Those arrested for murder and rape but not convicted will stay on record for 12 years.
The government is being forced to destroy the profiles of some 800,000 innocent people held on the database following a European Court of Human Rights ruling. Judges in Strasbourg said the government’s retention of innocent people’s DNA was disproportionate.
While the government has signalled it accepts the ruling, its proposal to allow the police to hold profiles for years has provoked widespread criticism. Last night the home secretary was warned that the government risks further anger over the way it intends to make the proposals law.
“The public might expect the length of time innocent people’s intimate details are kept would warrant lengthy parliamentary debate,” said Anita Coles, of the civil rights group Liberty. “Yet the home secretary wants regulations that will be rushed through in 90 minutes. Is this a good way to rebuild faith in politics?”
In an interview in today’s Observer, the inventor of DNA fingerprinting, Sir Alec Jeffreys, warns that the government’s commitment to keeping innocent people’s profiles has created intense grievance throughout the country.
“Some people are seriously distressed,” Jeffreys says. “They feel they are being branded as criminals when they are innocent. This is compromising the use of DNA profiles. Certainly if I was asked now to give a blood sample to help solve a crime I would have serious doubts about supplying it.”
The Home Office says it needs to use a statutory instrument to comply with the court ruling as quickly as possible. It has launched a “full public consultation” on the proposals and is seeking the views of expert groups such as the police.
A spokesman said: “The findings from the consultation will help form the contents of the regulations which will then be put before parliament for debate and approval.”
Source | See Also under DNA: Meet – and eat – the modified Atlantic salmon | UK: Police to destroy DNA profiles of 800,000 innocent people | UK: DNA pioneer Alec Jeffreys: drop innocent from database | Australians refused insurance because of poor genes | UK: Government plans to keep DNA samples of innocent | UK: DNA details of 1.1m children on database | UK House of Lords warns over ’surveillance state’ | Controversial US measure would require DNA sampling at arrest | GM Crops Climb to Nearly One-Tenth of Global Crop Production | European court rules DNA database breaches human rights | Sick babies denied treatment in DNA row | Genetically engineered meal close to your table | Experts set to revisit global cloning ban | DNA of ‘blameless’ youths stored | UK DNA database turns ‘innocents into criminals’, warns watchdog | The evolution of baby-making | Scientists: Humans and machines will merge in future | Newborn Blood-Storage Law Stirs Fears of DNA Warehouse | Man spends 18 hours in police cell and has his DNA taken for ‘dropping an apple core’ | Widen DNA dragnet: Police Chief Blair