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Human Rights Court Calls UK DNA Database a 'Breach of Rights' 206

Posted by timothy
from the could-have-saved-them-some-time dept.
psmears writes "Describing a judgment that is likely to rein in the scope of the UK DNA database, where at present the DNA of those arrested by the police is kept permanently (even if the people concerned are never convicted, or even charged), the BBC reports that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that keeping such people's DNA in the database 'could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.'" Reader megla adds a link to the full text of the judgement.
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Human Rights Court Calls UK DNA Database a 'Breach of Rights'

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  • Figures... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripdizzle (1386273) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:31PM (#25993889)

    where at present the DNA of those arrested by the police is kept permanently (even if the people concerned are never convicted, or even charged)

    I'm pretty sure they already do this in the US with fingerprints. No conviction? Well, if we find your fingerprints at any crime scene in the future, you're gonna get it.

    • Re:Figures... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BearGrylls (1388063) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:37PM (#25993957)
      Unlike fingerprints your DNA can also be used to partially identify relatives as well. Law enforcement could use this to make partial dna matches to a person that would otherwise not be in the system if a relative already was.
      • In fact this has been tried by law enforcement here in the United States at least once and just recently. They were attempting to identify a suspect in a recent string of serial murders by analyzing partial dna matches to possible relatives. They were unsuccessful this time for technical reasons, but that does not dismiss the possibility that they can and will use this technique again in the future so the ethical questions remain. The article (Los Angeles Times) is here [latimes.com] for those interested in the details.
      • by mpe (36238)
        Unlike fingerprints your DNA can also be used to partially identify relatives as well. Law enforcement could use this to make partial dna matches to a person that would otherwise not be in the system if a relative already was.

        It would also have interesting effects considering that there are a sizable proportion of people who don't have the parentage they think they do. Most often it's the wrong father, but where hospital births are common getting the wrong mother is quite possible.
    • Re:Figures... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @06:29PM (#25995507) Journal

      I've been told that in Michigan if you are not convicted you can file to have your fingerprints pulled from the database. I don't know how it works elsewhere.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        In Canada they're supposed to destroy your finger prints after 6 months if you are not convicted of a crime.

    • I'm pretty sure they already do this in the US with fingerprints. No conviction? Well, if we find your fingerprints at any crime scene in the future, you're gonna get it.

      In California at least, they get your thumbprint at the DMV (the DMV is also used to provide California Identification Cards to non-drivers). And this reasoning kind of makes sense, by the time you're finished waiting in line at the DMV, you already feel like a criminal, so they might as well get your thumbprint while they're at it.

      This s

  • Privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Justin Hopewell (1260242) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:33PM (#25993905)
    As bad as privacy rights get trampled here in the states, I'm so very glad I don't live in the UK.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Informative)

      by M-RES (653754) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @07:09PM (#25996017)

      Me too... DOH, I DO!!! :(

      And following the usual patterns of copying bad things from the states, police are to be issued with tasers over here too.

      Actually, they already have them, but only firearms officers (who receive the requisite training for handling all firearms that normal officers don't) can currently use them, but that's set to change soon.

      So expect to see deaths in police custody on the increase.

      In the usual fascist Home Secretary model, the current one Jacqui Smith is particularly vile. She's constantly 'disappointed' when her evil schemes to subjugate us are thwarted. First it was their defeated ID cards scheme, now this judgement.

      To get around this (the ID card/DNA debacle), she's currently trying to push new legislation through (hidden in another bill) to open up private information allowing every government department access to your records from another department. So the DVLA (Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority) will be able to gain access to your financial history, medical records, education history... anything. As will the police, benefits departments, you name it. Currently to do this it needs to be passed by parliamentary oversight, but the new legislation will allow this with the OK of a single minister on a whim. This government have a horrible track record for their inability to keep data safe, so this is a nightmare waiting to happen even forgetting the massive breach of rights.

      To top it all off, there's a clause in the bill which will allow it to be OK'd to pass this information to other non-governmental bodies (but fails to stipulate who) - scary huh!?

      The surveillance state was just a beginning, welcome to our new Stasi nation (now with added corporate sponsorship)

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:34PM (#25993923)

    Well, now whenever someone gets off, they'll bemoan those "damn bleeding heart liberals who let another one get away over their preeeeciiious rights". What nobody on either side of the debate wants to admit is -- you can't have a perfect justice system. No matter how much technology, funding, profiling, science, and everything else you throw at it, it will be flawed. Innocent people will be found guilty, guilty people will get away, and there will always be doubt and speculation.

    As a society we have to decide what's more important: Catching as many criminals as possible, or providing a system that is as fair as possible. The two are mutually exclusive -- you either bias towards letting the guilty get away so the innocent are not needlessly punished, or you sacrifice some innocents to "protect the greater good".

    The Court here has basically told the UK -- The rights of the many outweigh the sins of the few.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985)

      Err, you do realize that DNA matching can still be done if someone is still in the process of being tried for a crime, right? You can also keep the lab results of such matching forever... just not the DNA itself.

      The ruling only says that you can't keep it forever, not that you can't use whatever DNA you find/get during the process.

      /P

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GMonkeyLouie (1372035)

        Indeed true. Also, terrorists don't win unless you allow them to influence your policymaking process. So stop telling us to give up rights.

        (I got my views on terrorism from Laura Roslin)

    • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:35PM (#25994757)

      A major problem starting to crop up is that some areas can't afford to keep the people incarcerated as tax income drops and municipalities go bankrupt.

      Having 2% of your population incarcerated starts to be a financial drain. Especially as federal laws are enforced regarding their living conditions and medical care.

      Our dumb (tm) drug laws are largely responsible or this. However, large privately run prison corporations are starting to be self perpetuating (even backing new laws that require prison time with lobby money - and yup-- large contributors to keep drugs illegal). (e.g.) http://slingshot.tao.ca/displaybi.php?0059032 [slingshot.tao.ca]

      Oh.. and I'd bet dollars to donuts that the DNA database will not be flushed. They'll find some way to keep it- including just ignoring the ruling.

  • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:35PM (#25993935)

    The Home Sec (aka Wacky Jackie Smith. You know the one who says 'I knew nothing' about the police raiding an Opposition MP's office like they do every week in Zimbabwe) is reviewing the implications of the Judgement.

    From that I read 'Ok Chaps how can we get out of this fine mess you have got me into?'
    And an underling pipes up
    'Just DNA Test Everyone. That way there can be no discrimination'

    However the Court is getting wise to the tricks of NuStasi (sorry New Labour) and is going to monitor the compliance with their ruling closely.

    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:44PM (#25994061)

      The police have really overstepped the mark these past few years and it's showing with their latest search of the MPs office.

      They think their above the law and I'm sick of these policemen that never get charged with doing anything wrong.

      Off the top of my head the police have been caught speeding, killing people because their visa expired, racial abuse, searching without a warrent, etc. They're above the law and I am happy they have been bought down a peg, even though it's a pretty small victory.

      They still no to be more responsible for what they do.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "...and it's showing with their latest search of the MPs office."

        What is a MP? I know in the US armed forces it means Military Police, but, I'm guessing from context, in the UK it means something else.

        • MP (Score:3, Informative)

          by BeerCat (685972)

          MP = Member of Parliament (in other words, one of the UK's elected representatives in Parliament - much like a Senator in the US)

        • That'd be Member of Parliament [wikipedia.org] to all those not familiar with parliamentary nomenclature. So the Home Secretary siccing the police to raid an opposition party member's offices might be vaguely analogous to the Bush Administration abusing its official powers to bully US Attorneys into resigning [washingtonpost.com] for not kowtowing to the party line. I.e., a power freak seeing how far they can stretch their authority and get away with it.

          Cheers,

  • Not particularly, no. I don't really mind the government maintaining a DNA database.

    I would like it if they shared the data with the NIH, and I think that work on mapping the human genome is so very important that we can't trust private enterprise to explore all of the possible directions in which it could be taken.

    I mean, what is the government going to do with my DNA? Clone me? Invade my privacy by finding out what diseases I'm vulnerable to?

    I reject arguments that innocent people have nothing to fear

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cyberax (705495)

      How about "selling your DNA to insurance companies"?

      Or in case of Great Britain - losing a USB stick with all your private data _and_ DNA data.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:51PM (#25994177) Journal

      I mean, what is the government going to do with my DNA? Clone me? Invade my privacy by finding out what diseases I'm vulnerable to?

      Use it to drag you out of your house and charge you with a crime you may or may not have committed, just because a computer says that you might be the suspect based on that DNA (when in truth you may well not be). All it would take is for a small database corruption or some programmatic error, and suddenly you end up having a lot of explaining to do, even if you have nothing to explain.

      There's also the 'what if' angle of if/when your government gets repressive. Easier to figure out where and who you are down the road when they have DNA to match you up against...

      /P

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:27PM (#25994663)

        All it would take is for a small database corruption or some programmatic error

        Actually, less than that. All it takes is a misunderstanding of statistics. If you have a large DNA database and a DNA sample from a crime-scene, then if you use it to find suspects - as many politicians would like to do - then you are bound to get a significant number of false positives, even when the tests are very accurate. The "1 in a billion" statistics that get thrown around regarding DNA matches estimate the chances of two random people matching. Once you expand your search to a country of 60m, the chances of a coincidental match is significant. Read up on the birthday paradox. And because people are told the "1 in a billion" statistic, whoever gets fingered for the crime is seen to have a massive chunk of evidence pointing to his guilt.

        There's also the 'what if' angle of if/when your government gets repressive.

        That argument has never really held weight with me. Do you also advocate gay people remaining in the closet? After all, if people know that they are gay, then if the government decides to execute gay people, they are fucked. How about atheists? People who wear glasses?

    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:57PM (#25994255)

      Are you kidding me? This is the government that loses data left, right and centre and you don't mind them maintaining your DNA?

      Then perhaps you'd like to hear about the case in the US where two men one white, one black both had the same genetic markers in the police database?

      or how about when you are called in for a crime you didn't commit like Jill Dando case where they matched the wrong guy's DNA. The evidence was so strong there right? The amount of DNA evidence was almost nothing yet the court was in the mindset of DNA == foolproof.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:04PM (#25994357)

      It is probably worth noting that DNA evidence can be wrong... There have been numerous cases in which a false positive led to someone being wrongly imprisoned. The probability of false positives is significantly higher than most people realize as well. This mostly has to do with the fact that they only sequence part of your DNA -- the parts most likely to differ from one person to the next. This introduces a statistical error rate.

      It's a dirty little secret.

    • by hotdiggitydawg (881316) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:05PM (#25994371)

      Not particularly, no. I don't really mind the government maintaining a DNA database.

      This is the same UK government that is so expertly careful about protecting [scmagazineuk.com] personal [theregister.co.uk] information [securitypark.co.uk]. Any information you give them (and I mean anything... contact details, date of birth, NI number (=SSN for you Americans), medical history, tax returns, your library borrowing list that shows you have a penchant for lycanthropic porn, etc. etc.) you may as well cut out the middleman and post it on MySpace for the world to read, chances are it will become that public in short order anyway. And you're willing to trust them with your DNA?

      In that case I have a bridge you may be interested in purchasing...

    • by codegen (103601) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:20PM (#25994559) Journal
      You do realize that they don't store the entire sequence in the database. DNA identification is based on a set of marker pairs, which are considered to be among the most variable in the human genome. It is of no use in mapping the genome. Close pairs have been discovered between completely unrelated people in the existing databases. So a plausible scenario: DNA shows a close match with your brother who was detained but never charged nor convicted (protesting against new 3 strikes law). As a result the Police pull you in as a "person of interest" since a close match is usually interpreted as matching someone related. Your boss finds out you have been questioned for murder at the same time you are competing with another co-worker for a promotion. Guess who gets the promotion?
    • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:56PM (#25995009) Homepage

      Not particularly, no. I don't really mind the government maintaining a DNA database

      ...

      I mean, what is the government going to do with my DNA? Clone me? Invade my privacy by finding out what diseases I'm vulnerable to?

      How about convict you of crimes you didn't do? Here's how it goes down.

      1. Some criminal who is not you, and whose DNA is not on file, commits a crime, and carelessly leaves behind some DNA.
      2. Police get the DNA, and run it against the DNA database, looking for a match. Yours matches. And yes, this can happen. I'll cover why below.
      3. You are charged with the crime. The jury is mightily impressed with the DNA evidence, and your lack of an alibi. Welcome to jail!

      It is a popular misconception that DNA tests uniquely identify people. That would be true (ignoring twins...) if they compared at enough positions. However, such tests are expensive. So what they actually do is compare at a few positions.

      This is not enough to uniquely identify you. It is enough to narrow the possibilities down to, in a good case, a handful of people. When that is combined with non-DNA evidence, it is almost certain.

      For instance, suppose you've got a woman raped, robbed, and murdered. Through traditional police methods, you find out that she was seen shortly before the crime arguing with her ex-boyfriend who was stalking her, and that she had a pizza delivered where the delivery man turned out to be a paroled serial rapist, and finally, a burglar had been known to be working the neighborhood at the time of the crime, and he had some of her jewelry when he was caught a few days later (but claims he found it on the ground and was never in her house).

      Do a DNA test on those three suspects and get a match on one, and you've got your criminal. Sure, there might be a dozen (or even hundreds or thousands, depending on the test you do) people in the world that match, but the chances that someone would have been identified as a suspect through non-DNA traditional police methods AND be one of those dozens (or hundreds...) are low.

      In other words, the proper way to use DNA testing is to use it in a Bayesian fashion with other evidence to seal the deal.

      Without safeguards in place to prevent misuse of the database (such as using it to pick suspects in lieu of finding suspects the old fashioned way), an incomplete DNA database is a major risk to your rights, if your DNA is included.

    • You're forgetting, evidence gets used to convict you, not to set you free.

      I DO object to my DNA being kept on file. I do not want to become a favorite suspect just because my DNA coincidentally turns up at a crime scene.

      That's the issue here (to me anyway). It's not an objection to the police properly using DNA evidence to solve crimes, it's about police improperly using DNA to send people to jail.

      More subtly, I do not want the police to think of my DNA ans a sample that hasn't been involved in a crime yet

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:39PM (#25993995) Journal

    Sometimes I'm cynical about the EU. To be sure, there is a lot of completely pointless and stupid busy work such as regulating the curvature of bananas and so on. On the other hand, the UK government seems capable of such outright maliciousness that the only thing we have left is the EU. I'll take bouts of stupid and useless over bouts of mindless repression any day.

    The sad thing is, we neither elect the EU nor the house of lords. Yet I find myself agreeing with them much more often than with the elected government. Well, what do you expect? Despite getting only 37% of the votes cast, they act like they earned their large majority.

    • by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:00PM (#25994307)
      The Europian court of human rights is part of the Council of Europe [wikipedia.org], not the EU. They share a flag, and IIRC all EU members are also members of the Council, but there are a whole load of other countries in the council of Europe besides the 26 EU member states.

      /pedant
    • by mrsmiggs (1013037)
      The sad thing is the right wing press in the UK will use this as a stick to beat the EU and call for our withdrawl and resulted isolation. The increasingly alarming path taken by the UK government has been sparked by the gutter press, who despite becoming less and less relevent to modern life are listened to more than ever by politicians hunting for the vote of the swing voters in a few small constituencies. The democratic deficit in the UK is reducing our freedoms, it's high time the system was reformed an
      • by Stormx2 (1003260)
        But then there's a conflict. My local MP, a conservative, voted against basically all of liberty-trampling ideas jacqui smith has come up with. While I hate the tories as any decent person would, they're miles better in this respect.

        So on the one hand its the "european busybodies" interfering with our sovereign state, and on the other its them protecting us from big brother, an issue a lot of tories hold dear (and you can sort of see why)
  • by Huff (314296) <.ku.gro.ffuh. .ta. .kcin.> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:41PM (#25994029) Homepage

    Whereas most people in the UK consider the Euro court of human rights to be a bunch of interfering busy bodys or jobsworths, and in general most of the rulings they come up with do come across as 'annoying'.
    Ruling like this however are the reason the court was set up. I do hope this ruling stands and that this court will continue to keep its eye on privacy issues like this and prove to the population in general that it does have a purpose.

    NPE

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Whereas most people in the UK consider the Euro court of human rights to be a bunch of interfering busy bodys or jobsworths, and in general most of the rulings they come up with do come across as 'annoying'.
      Ruling like this however are the reason the court was set up. I do hope this ruling stands and that this court will continue to keep its eye on privacy issues like this and prove to the population in general that it does have a purpose.

      Unfortunately, when you've got a general public which is by and large fairly happy with the job the police are doing, places absolute faith in the science and knows little or nothing of miscarriages of justice, rulings like this tend to reinforce such views.

    • by chrb (1083577)

      Most of the people in the UK believe everything they read or see from the Rupert Murdoch empire. The man has too much power, and too much reason to desire a weak, divided Europe. You should judge the E.U. and its various organisations on their accomplishments and failures, not what the Murdoch press has to say about them. The European Court of Human Rights case law database [coe.int] is online, but unfortunately few in the UK will ever use it, believing instead what they are encouraged to believe by the media.

    • I think it is not a coincidence that George Orwell was British.

      People in this country come in opinion polls as very supportive of intrusive ideas like ID cards, DNA databases and all other kind of intrusive powers.

      It is funny how East European migrants explain to the locals very often how much those measures remind them of the good old days pre Berlin Wall fall.

      And still people in the UK will not get it...

  • by Peil (549875) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:43PM (#25994051) Homepage

    "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement "

    Su-fucking-perb! If I ever get nicked and found guilty of an offence I'll be sure to use that one as I wave two fingers at the Judge.

    As we have seen only this week over here the Police are out of control, the Government are scared of them and it is slowly dawning on people we have just sleep walked into a police state.

    The cops turn up at your door, seize computer equipment, lets be honest you aren't going to get your kit back for a good year at least, even if your innocent. While they have it they can demand all passwords, failure to comply gets you up to two years. Then they get to take your DNA and fingerprints. If you match up at any crime scene you better have a decent alibi son, "cos the Database don't lie". (Just don't mention the Shirley McKee case)

    • "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement "

      Su-fucking-perb! If I ever get nicked and found guilty of an offence I'll be sure to use that one as I wave two fingers at the Judge.

      The police illegally collected and kept DNA samples for years.

      Eventually this illegal action came to light.

      The government changed the law to make what they were doing legal and didn't delete those illegally collected samples.

      This time they'll just say they're deleting them but won't (or they'll d

  • Not a "UK" Database (Score:2, Informative)

    by CodeArtisan (795142)
    The title of the article is a little misleading as it doesn't apply to all of the UK.

    From TFA:

    Scotland already destroys DNA samples taken during criminal investigations from people who are not charged or who are later acquitted of alleged offences.

    • by jabithew (1340853)

      I think it only applies to England and Wales, as Northern Ireland has devolved justice too. Does anyone know the situation re: NI?

  • Would someone who knows please explain how the EU Court has jurisdiction over national laws? Has the UK (and other countries in the EU, for that matter) ceded its soverignity to the EU to such an extent that the EU acts as a Supreme Court? Is the EU as a whole like the Federal government is to the US states or Canadian provinces? I really do not know myself and am asking for a serious answer. Thanks.

    • by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:58PM (#25995031)

      Would someone who knows please explain how the EU Court has jurisdiction over national laws? Has the UK (and other countries in the EU, for that matter) ceded its soverignity to the EU to such an extent that the EU acts as a Supreme Court? Is the EU as a whole like the Federal government is to the US states or Canadian provinces? I really do not know myself and am asking for a serious answer. Thanks.

      It's not an "EU court" it's part of the Council of Europe [wikipedia.org], which whilst it share a flag with the EU is a separate body with different membership. When we signed the European charter of Human rights (this was soon after WW2 and IIRC it was largely written by British solicitors), we ceded any powers in that treaty to the ECoHR, after all that's how international treaties work.

    • Would someone who knows please explain how the EU Court has jurisdiction over national laws?

      What power the EU Court has over the UK is the power that the UK gave it when it signed up for the EU in the first place. Basically, the court has jurisdictions in cases that involve EU law or the EU treaties.

      the UK (and other countries in the EU, for that matter) ceded its soverignity to the EU to such an extent that the EU acts as a Supreme Court?

      In some ways yes and in some ways no. The EU court has jurisdiction over many basic human rights issues especially where they apply to the EU charter. Of course, there are many points of law that have nothing to do with human rights or EU law, so those topics are still covered by each nations highes

    • by sjames (1099)

      To an extent, yes they have. While the EU doesn't have as much power over the nations within it as the U.S. federal government does over the states, it does have a role a bit like the Supreme Court.

    • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:08PM (#25998423)

      Would someone who knows please explain how the [European Court of Human Rights] has jurisdiction over national laws?

      The same way the WTO has jurisdiction over the US -- they signed a treaty that said that they will abide by the decisions of the international body.

      Of course, unlike the states of the US, any country is significantly more free to simply ignore the rulings, thought not without impunity. Ignoring the ECHR could mean severe potential trade problems with the rest of Europe but could also just mean having to pay some fines every now and then. Heck, Italy gets dragged before the court regularly for failure to provide a speedy trial and just pays off the fines and ignores making changes to their entrenched legal system -- at least according to my law prof, they do.

    • by CmdrGravy (645153)

      It's because one of the first things the Labour government did in power was sign up to the EU Human Rights charter which has, amusingly, caused them and their control freak legislation no end of trouble ever since.

  • About time too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99luftballon (838486) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:10PM (#25994433)
    As a British citizen I'd say that this practice was an absolute outrage. If someone has been officially charged and found guilty then fair enough, a DNA profile is justified as part of the price of doing the crime. But to do this merely on arrest is a gross affront to civil liberties and one that has left 1/12 of the population on this database.

    The argument is often made that it is a handy tool for solving past crimes and if you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear. I beg to differ.

    There have already been cases of criminals planting false DNA on crime scenes (Dr. John Schneeberger of Canada) and, while the technology is very useful, it is not the be all and end all of evidence.
  • by Shemmie (909181) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:13PM (#25994463)

    keeping such people's DNA in the database 'could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.'"

    Jacqui Smith will just ensure we're no longer listed as a democratic society. That should side-step this issue.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:19PM (#25994533)
    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

    The insight of those from hundreds of years ago still amazes me.

    Wise men, no?
  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:43PM (#25994831)

    I really did, I tried so hard to think up an insightful comment in response to this story but all that I could do was sit giggling to myself at how upset Jacqui Smith is over this and how she aint gonna sleep well tonight.

    For those that don't know, Jacqui Smith has been involved in or is responsible for:
    - UK ID card scheme where every citizen has a biometric ID card
    - A national database of every single child's details
    - 42 days of detention without trial for terror suspects
    - This very DNA database of even innocent people
    - Plans for a scheme to store all telephone call, text message and e-mail records
    - Massive nationwide CCTV surveillance programs
    - Silencing of political opponents by using heavy police force
    - Allowing local councils to use terrorist laws to spy on citizens to catch them for such offences as trying to get their kids into a specific school outside their catchment area or letting their dog foul in a public place
    - Creating a scheme for newspapers to put up wanted posters from CCTV images of people dropping litter

    There are plenty more but simply too many for me to remember all of them right now. This woman is evil and must be stopped, period. We can't put the blame on just her however because people like Gordon Brown have the power to stop her but aren't and opposition parties could be far, far more vocal about how evil this woman actually is and yet they're not.

    I'm pretty sure the lives of our grandparents here in the UK and the rest of the world weren't given on the beaches of Normandy, the fields of France and other places so that it would eventually be our own government that would rise up against us and begin to enforce the same level of dictatorship as seen in the many facist nations during World War II. The very fact Jacqui Smith is pushing for this kind of regime should make it the responsibility of everyone with the power to make a noise- politicians, media and so forth to stand up and refuse to accept this. It is the complacency and ignorance amongst the average joe on the street towards this type of thing that makes me understand now how over time evil totalitarian regimes can arise.

    I do not believe Britain will every reach the point Jacqui Smith is hoping thanks to the EU injecting at least a little bit of common sense into the situation as per this article but the very fact that she has been allowed to get this far is simply unacceptable in a modern, free society.

    • by chrb (1083577)

      She also wants to outlaw prostitution between consenting adults, and get the Women's Institute to spy and report on amorous young women throughout the country.

      Unfortunately the motives of the Conservative party in opposing the laws you list are just as suspect - Conservatives opposing 42 days detention for terrorist suspects? Have you ever met a Conservative who was pro-terrorist-suspect rights? Or being against CCTV nationally, but Conservative councils all over the country implementing CCTV? Or being agai

    • by CmdrGravy (645153)

      This is the Jackie Smith who is also too scared to walk around her own consituency without a bullet proof jacket on, even when she has a police escort !

      It looks like she's basically planning on ignoring this ruling anyway, things will stay as they are she says, until she has considered her options.

      I thought Blunkett and his crazy ID scheme were bad but this woman really does take the biscuit, she is immune to debate and is quite clearly going to carry on doing exactly whatever she likes until someone stops

  • by billsf (34378) <billsfNO@SPAMcuba.calyx.nl> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:59PM (#25995037) Homepage Journal

    This indeed is one of the best decisions of the EU, particularly in that it ends the whole biometric scam, at least for here. Since DNA and fingerprints are the most 'stable' biometric measures, all other methods, disproved over 100 years ago, would seem to be included. The ramifications of this are great from ending (real)ID cards to George Bush's false "War on Terror".

    This is real change. Funny it starts in Europe.
     

  • by Lazy Jones (8403) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @08:12PM (#25996835) Homepage Journal
    The sad truth is that whether the court agrees with tne notion that it's a breach or rights or not, even if authorities will be prohibited from using the existing database officially, everyone knows that some authorities (MI5, MI6) will keep on using and sharing it ... It exists, so the damage is already done.

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