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UK Police Want DNA of 'Potential Offenders' 578

mrogers writes "British police want to collect DNA samples from children as young as five who 'exhibit behavior indicating they may become criminals in later life'. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers argued that since some schools already take pupils' fingerprints, the collection and permanent storage of DNA samples was the logical next step. And of course, if anyone argues that branding naughty five-year-olds as lifelong criminals will stigmatize them, the proposed solution will be to take samples from all children."
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UK Police Want DNA of 'Potential Offenders'

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  • And? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:30PM (#22768086)

    If you've nothing to hide...

  • Law & Order (Score:2, Insightful)

    by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:34PM (#22768104)
    Hey, I'll be the first one who is a law & order type of person, but this one scares the crap out of me.
  • For fuck's sake (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BenoitRen ( 998927 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:35PM (#22768120)

    Are they almost done with their 1984-like obsession in becoming a police state?

    Ooh, look, little Johnny is acting a little weird! Quick, get a DNA sample from him, he could be a future criminal!

    It doesn't even make sense!

  • by siriuskase ( 679431 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:36PM (#22768126) Homepage Journal
    The UK has problems if anyone in power takes this police request seriously. God, I hope it isn't that bad. Five year olds? Do all five year olds who act out become criminals?
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:36PM (#22768130) Homepage Journal
    the fundamental problem with the collection and access to personal identifying information is twofold.

    one is that it can start an unfair judgment on a person that can follow them unfairly thru their life.
    Wasn't it Einstein whos teacher said he would never be any good at math?

    If you don't fit what is considered the norm by the party making the judgement then its ok to abuse you?

    And what of the information tied to the personal identifying data? We are human and fully capable of being corrupt or in error and using such information against a person, wrongly.
  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:36PM (#22768136) Homepage
    When you treat children as criminals, they'll be hard pressed to avoid meeting your expectations.
  • by esocid ( 946821 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:40PM (#22768164) Journal
    Is this guy serious?

    Pugh admitted that the deeply controversial suggestion raised issues of parental consent, potential stigmatisation and the role of teachers in identifying future offenders, but said society needed an open, mature discussion on how best to tackle crime before it took place
    So this guy wants basically wants thoughtcrimes to be illegal. This completely reeks of 1984 and I would hate to see this come true and create a terrible precedent where your DNA is taken at birth and your DNA is examined for "potential markers" of a criminal. I know that is a stretch but who ever thought that this would ever happen, and much less even be suggested? I seriously hope this man gets called out for being his nefarious attitude for society and this suggestion gets tossed into the shitter.
  • by SpottedKuh ( 855161 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:42PM (#22768184)

    Do all five year olds who act out become criminals?

    There are five-year-olds who don't act out?

  • Re:Inevitability (Score:4, Insightful)

    by esocid ( 946821 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#22768234) Journal
    Because that is too much of a hippy attitude for this fascist type of thinking. Why bother rehabilitating when you can weed out the ones you think will do something illegal or challenge authority. Which also begs the question what other type of abuse could this DNA sampling be used for? This is one hell of a slippery slope that would be very easily abused. Just think if insurance companies ever got a chance to examine your DNA for diseases which you may be predispositioned for and charged you according to what you rank on their scale, or even refused to allow you to buy insurance. I'm just blown away that someone would even come out and say something like this, much less from someone in such a position of authority.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:49PM (#22768244) Journal
    No shit. What the fuck is up with the UK these days? The USA is a pit of right wing idiocy, but I always blame it on the fact they're morons from the gitgo. I mean really - that George Bush could be considered a viable candidate indicates that way too many knuckledragging retards live there. So you sort of have to spot the yanks a few right off.

    But one would think that the UK, with THOUSANDS of years of experience, and having had their nation bombed and burned by fascists would be a good bit more on top of this kind of thing. But. no. It's like they're saying "Roights? Who needs roights? Cor Blimey - just gimme a pint there guvnah!" sheeesh. Between the jillions of cameras in London, which HAVEN'T really made the city safer, and the constant erosion of human rights and common sense, argh. It's a sad thing to watch.


  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:49PM (#22768246) Homepage Journal
    Ooh, look, little Johnny is acting a little weird! Quick, get a DNA sample from him, he could be a future criminal!

    Sure it makes sense:
    Nobody thinks their precious little snowflake is going to be caught by that, so they want to defend their child against the evil little children.
  • by Unlikely_Hero ( 900172 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:49PM (#22768248)
    Looking at the UK it's clear why so many of their youth have alcohol problems; hell, why so much of their society does. When a culture shows their young so much disdain and mistrust it's quite clear why this sort of thing happens.
    If you grew up with people hating you simply because you're a kid how would you react?
  • by thorndt ( 814642 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:50PM (#22768250)
    You have it backwards. It shouldn't be "justify not letting us have your DNA." It should be "justify why I should give you my DNA." Remember, the theory goes that the Government is a servant of the people, not the other way around.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:50PM (#22768252) Homepage
    I have. It doesn't mean that I am bad or have criminal tendancies.

    If you say you have not then you are probably either: utterly boring; or lying.

    All this ''record mistakes and label someone for life'' is stupid. It means that huge numbers are regarded as potential crims and becomes useless.

    George Orewell was wrong - he chose a date 25 years too early.

  • by kentrel ( 526003 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:50PM (#22768254) Journal
    This is an outrage. Apart from the obvious and genuine privacy concerns here this would do the very opposite to what the ignorant Gary Pugh is expecting. Hasn't he ever heard of a Self fulling prophecy?

    There are many proven psychological reasons [] why this would cause a vast amount of harm to the development of these children This article [] especially illustrates published studies that showed the effect of positive and negative expectation has on children's academic performance
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:52PM (#22768266)
    Same here!! I was remanded for sometime without conviction now getting a Job has proven extremely difficult this has been the case for over 4 years. So I say fuck'em all if you want my talents wasted then so be it I now enjoy the luxury of 4 state benefits and have applied for many more not to mention the other benefits of being unemployed free rent,dentist and where I live free electricity and heating all in all about 10% better off than being employed. Now don't get me wrong I also WORK! ha its great fucking them over but I regret fucking over the tax payers to an extent but hey its the system thats wrong not me!!
  • by thorndt ( 814642 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:53PM (#22768272)
    Or in the case of the wrongly convicted...first offenses.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:53PM (#22768274)
    It doesn't even make sense!

    It's just a wafer-thin excuse to get people accustomed to yet another loss of privacy. I guess they feel that they owe it to the population to give some sort of rationale when they are required to bend over and take it up the ass again. I swear (and the U.S. is no better) these people must have miniscule penises .. sure seems like they're doing a lot of compensation for something.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:53PM (#22768278) Homepage Journal
    For some, it's the slippery-slope:
    First they collected DNA from sex criminals.
    Then they collected DNA from felons.
    Then they collected DNA from all criminals.
    Then they collected DNA from people who get speeding tickets.
    Then they collected DNA from people who drive.
    Then they collected DNA from everyone else.

    Most people have someone in their family who has a speeding ticket if they don't themselves.

    People value their privacy. They want to know that if they get a speeding ticket today, and there is a crime at a restaurant next year, the cup they drank from won't be used as evidence that they were in the restaurant at the time of the crime. What if the guy on the videotape was seen drinking out of a similar glass and he happens to look just like you. You will have been framed by your own DNA.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:55PM (#22768300)
    It makes sense alright. It's just nasty, and probably pointless.

    Let me describe a parallel for you.

    I used to be a nurse, years ago. After the first year of hospital work it got to the point where I had a very narrow view of society. I mostly saw sick people, so after a while I started to think of everyone outside the hospital in terms of how likely they were to appear in hospital as a result of their behavior or diet. This wasn't a particulerly useful viewpoint, but I still held it.

    I realised this, and it took a long time to get past. Not all the nurses I knew managed this.

    If your life revolves around dealing with people in a particular state, you tend to become very focused on it. To the police, everyone is viewed in terms of how likely they are to be criminals. They can't help it, our society demands it of them (yes indeed, it does, alas).

    I'm more concerned with how much of our taxes this is going to waste before they realise it's pointless.
  • Re:Workaround (Score:2, Insightful)

    by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:56PM (#22768308)

    All the benefits, none of the stigma.

    Umm, but then you don't get the satisfaction of nudging 'bad kids' towards a life of crime by demonstrating your lack of faith in them. After all, everyone knows that genes are fate-indicators, don't they? Of course, by 'bad kids' I mean 'anyone who may have an undiagnosed food allergy, teething pains, has been bullied, is having a hard time with puberty or indeed just offends our middle-class sensibilities' (clearly as deserving of preemptive punishment as any group has been).

    Additionally, I'd be in favour of seeing the DNA of children who show a tendency towards judgemental, controlling and intrusive behaviour coupled with an enjoyment of free-lunches-courtesy-of-the-taxpayer, sampled so that they may be fast-tracked into the police force/political arena.

    No longer able to tell where irony begins or ends :S
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zedekiah ( 1103333 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:57PM (#22768314)
    you seem to think that we, the British people, have any sort of say in this sort of thing. It's our "left-wing" party doing this; the only (main) alternative is the conservatives, and I don't want to go into THAT kettle of fish. But really, that more people aren't actively (and literally) aren't up in arms over it is somewhat depressing -.-
  • Fucked up kids? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D ( 1160707 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:58PM (#22768320)

    I'd like to get in before too many people start throwing around the term "1984" as if this had anything but the most tenuous connection to the book 1984. Have any of you actually read the book? Not every erosion of privacy is "1984", you know.

    Sigh. Anyway. The matter at hand.

    I am a former criminal myself, so this matter hits close to home. When I was in my adolescence, I was arrested for breaking and entering, and there was a lot more I did that I didn't get caught for, of course. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm quite successful now, if I say so myself. In my opinion, there are two major reasons why I'm not dead or in jail right now: the John Howard Society (prisoner's rights organization in the Commonwealth), and the Young Offender's Act (which helps keeps the under-18 out of jail).

    Being branded as a "criminal" is a big deal. Through the two entities I just mentioned, I spent less than a day in jail and got mandatory counselling and restitution in lieu. I think one of the biggest factors in me turning my life around is that I wasn't branded for the rest of my life. I don't have a record; I don't have to report myself to neighbours. I'm just a regular citizen. It's quite empowering being a regular, fruitful citizen.

    What I'm getting at is, even though I avoided it, I recognize the power of stigma. Even if there aren't any concrete restrictions on these kids, just knowing that you're one of the "bad kids" will fuck you up for life. There's no way these kids aren't going to find out they're one of the "bad kids", and once you're branded, it's a really hard uphill battle to get out of that stigma. Everyone looks at them differently; everyone treats them differently. I wouldn't envy them.

    Please, won't somebody think of the children?!

  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:07PM (#22768396)
    I see a -troll modifier here real quick for you.

    that George Bush could be considered a viable candidate indicates that way too many knuckledragging retards live there

    Speaking as one of the purported knuckledragging retards, I would like to point out just how many people in the US are fanatically against what is happening here. Even with speaking out and performing civil disobediance, we don't seem to be able to gain any traction, let alone actual forward motion against our government.

    The astronomically high level of collusion, complicity, and corruption in the government, the military industrial complex, and special interests makes it nearly impossible to keep our rights from eroding faster and faster.

    So you can insult us all you want, but we are just working off the example of the UK with its "thousands of years of experience". Not to compare "our pain", but you did have absolute monarchies in your past and have worked from the ground up for personal liberties. The US started out with the pretense of "liberty for all" and turned it to "power and property for the few".

    Maybe instead of taking the time to drag the US in the mud with your name calling, you could use all that energy for some good ol' civil disobediance. Put a burning tire around one of those cameras, sabotage something, anything.

    If anything, both of our systems of government are broken irreparably, and need to be tore down with something new put in its place. Of course, that will be awfully hard to do peacefully, which is my greatest fear.
  • by Deanalator ( 806515 ) <> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:08PM (#22768408) Homepage
    If this guy wants to stop criminals before they commit crimes, my suggestion is that they take some money from their obviously over budgeted police force, and invest more into their school system.
  • by slyn ( 1111419 ) <> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:11PM (#22768428)
    I don't know who modded this down, but it is true. The details might not be exactly right, but effectively that is what happens. Kid's told they are smart do better, and kids told they are dumb do worse. It would be like if your first post on /. was modded +5 insightful or -1 troll. If you get modded highly chances are your going to continue to comment and read the website, but if your first post gets modded to oblivion and everyone flames you for it you might say "this is stupid, fuck those nerds" or something like that. Only in the case of TFA, the implications are a bit more serious.
  • new discrimination (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BountyX ( 1227176 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:12PM (#22768434)
    genetic discrimination is near....sorry bob we cant hire you, your dna indicates you have a 70% chance of cancer...thats too expensive for our health care premiums
  • Re:Law & Order (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:12PM (#22768436) Journal
    I'll be the first one who is a law & order type of person, but this one scares the crap out of me.

    That's probably because this has nothing to do with law and order. This is about totalitarianism, which is a crime.

  • US politics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:22PM (#22768514) Homepage
    a) The US political system is heavily biased towards those who claim to be Christians.

    b) There's a demonstrable negative correlation between intelligence and religious belief, for an intelligent person to be a successful politician in the USA they mostly have to lie about their religious beliefs (eg. Pres. Clinton).

    Conclusion: The US political system is biased against intelligent, honest people.

  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:23PM (#22768520) Homepage Journal
    This is what you get when you take the normal human tendency to lose sight of the big picture and apply it to public policy.

    I have a friend who is a management consultant. Normally I have not truck with that profession, but he's a really good management consultant, because he's a really good listener. He can listen and listen until you've talked yourself in circles so many times even you realize it. Then he tells you something that would be blindingly obvious to you if you hadn't managed to bury it under tons of mental clutter. In a sense, he specializes in reminding people of the things they shouldn't need a management a consultant to tell them, but somehow they do.

    One of his chief themes has to do with confirmation bias. When people are favoring a course of action, the intended consequences of that course of action are very clear to them, sometimes even exaggerated. The unintended consequences tend to be fuzzy, or maybe even invisible.

    So imagine you are trying to prevent violent crime. It's a very important job that you take seriously. You have the idea that getting DNA from young children with behavior problems and putting them in a database would prevent some violent crimes. And you're probably right: it would prevent some violent crimes, although you might not be able to quantify how many. But it's a sure bet you aren't considering the bad things that might happen as a result of this, much less quantifying those bad things and putting them into the scales against the good you intend. In fact, where you really go wrong is when you start to think of it, unconsciously of course, in personal terms. People who are pointing out bad things (which you are not prepared to believe) about your plan are trying to stop you from preventing violent crimes. So they must be bad people. Certainly not somebody you'd seriously listen to.

    It's childish thinking of course, but are any of us completely above it? Mark Twain once said,"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." But I'd go farther; It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; it's what you know but are too proud to be reminded of.
  • by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:23PM (#22768524)
    Tell me about it. I'm left speechless and weighing two options: going into politics to advocate a fast-track nuclear weapons program with the intent of wiping the UK off the planet before the cancer spreads (too late, I fear) or just buying as big a gun as I can and becoming a hermit in some hole somewhere. The latter option I'm considering because the former is realistically not feasible, although otherwise tempting, and I don't trust this insanity to remain on that island.

    If I believed in God, I'd be praying for some serious smiting right about now.
  • Guys, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Thoggins ( 1162149 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:27PM (#22768552)
    When does hate week start? Anyone? I lost my calendar, and my digital watch hasn't come back from the prole repair shop yet. Anyone?
  • by The Second Horseman ( 121958 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:35PM (#22768610)
    Yeah - basically, as worried as anyone was about fascism and sympathizers in the UK in the years leading up to WWII or the dislike of Thatcher among many, it seems like it's going to end up being the supposedly leftist Labor party along with the bureaucrats who are going to really move the police state forward. Remember, folks, they're just protecting you, the Queen's loyal Subjects. And before anyone claims that "police state" is harsh, remember that tailoring a society to the needs of the police is, in fact, a police state.
  • by ls -la ( 937805 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:37PM (#22768628) Journal
    Been there, done that. Only worked ~170 years (or arguably less than 100).
  • Logic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:02PM (#22768824)
    The logical place to collect DNA is during the metabolic screening ALL children undergo near birth (at least in developed nations), looking for diseases such as PKU, hypothyroidism, and around 16 other metabolic conditions. If you've got the blood already, it's just a case of adding a step in the process. Then you would get everyone, and wouldn't be singling people out using COMPLETELY unscientific "profiling" techniques.

    Hey I used to be a real brat - even stabbed another 6 year old in the knee with a pen because he was bugging me too much. I remember punching someone out at 7 for trying to bully me. He lost a tooth, if I recall. I can still see him crying on the floor of the gym, blood all over his mouth. That felt good. Boy did I get into trouble. But he left me alone. I rarely did my homework, as a teenager I often cut classes. I started smoking at 14. I used marijuana at that age too. Wow, quite the little "criminal" I was shaping up to be. Did I mention I started raiding my dad's liquor cabinet at age 9, and his porn collection at age 11?

            Funnily enough, now at 40 years old I have no criminal record, my biggest "crime" has been the odd speeding ticket, and as a successful doctor I actually save a few lives and make my corner of the world (hopefully) a better place. I wonder how the shrinks would explain THAT one. Oh - perhaps it's because psychology is not "scientific" at all? "It sounds good" does not make a theory true. Oh yeah wait I must be the "false positive" right? Exactly how many false positives are we going to get? And why should people pay for this?
  • Re:And? (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:17PM (#22768928)
    You submitted a DNA sample of your neighbor and passed it along as your own.

    The worst part is: collecting and gargling a mouthful of your neighbor's spit in the bathroom just before they swab you is probably too involved and disgusting for anyone who doesn't have anything to hide to actually do. So like so much flawed copy protection driver; only the innocent suffer.
  • by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:28PM (#22768994)

    Do all five year olds who act out become criminals?
    There are five-year-olds who don't act out?

    I know you're just following the current trend, but ever since my son was small, it's annoyed me when teachers, school psychologists, pc moms, etc. use "acting out" to describe "acting up", in other words just plain bad behavior that needs to be corrected. "Acting out" means (Wikipedia) "to perform an action to express (often unconscious) emotional conflicts," and carries the subtle connotation that due to bad "parenting", the child has "issues" that the child expresses by "acting out" and needs to "resolve".

    Sometimes 5-year-old kids just have too much energy and need to be disciplined or otherwise taught to control or focus their bad, disruptive, silly, destructive, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, and taught to understand when a certain behavior is acceptable and when it isn't. It's that simple and doesn't need weekly psychotherapy sessions. When I was a kid, I never even heard of "acting out". It was "stop acting up and behave yourself."

  • Re:And? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zoogies ( 879569 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:45PM (#22769070)
    Exactly, this is how slippery slope arguments work. Allow something, and then the next logical step becomes... They may as well skip to the next next logical step and get DNA samples from everybody. That's better than targeting. What the hell does it mean to a 5-year old kid when the government says, "We think you're going to be a criminal?"
  • by mrogers ( 85392 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:53PM (#22769110)

    The worst part of nazism wasn't the "papers please" aspect of the Hitler regime, rather the racism, the oppression (not quite the same as surveillance), and the eventual genocide.

    Right, but it was the construction of a police state that made the racism, oppression and genocide possible. I don't believe the current UK or US governments plan to start imprisoning their opponents or murdering people en masse, but they're building infrastructure that will make that kind of thing a lot easier for future governments.

    There's a column in the International Herald Tribune that reprints the news from 100, 75 and 50 years ago. Right now the 75-year section of the column is charting Hitler's methodical replacement of the German Republic with a Fascist state. It's a horribly fascinating process to watch, for two reasons: first, we know how it ends, and second, we can see many of the same moves being attempted today.

  • by twitter ( 104583 ) * on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:05PM (#22769172) Homepage Journal

    There will never be another Nazi state but the same mistakes can be made in new forms and you won't be able to tell the difference. Surveillance societies are the mechanism of tyranny and that always leads to mass murder. The point of control is profit and it's directed to private companies. The same thing happened in the USSR with individuals who controlled state companies. Those who obey are rewarded. Those who do not are punished. Everyone wants to be the top dog so societies like that alternate between purge, aka reign of terror, civil war and war of aggression. Make no mistake, when opposition is impossible, the abuse goes lawless and things get ugly fast.

    The DNA portion has lots of Nazi potential. The samples and studies on them will fuel all sorts of crackpot eugenics as well as cure disease. Insurance companies will start discriminate against those with incurable disseases right away, mirroring Hitler's euthanasia program. Yes, the same stupid studies can be used to justify mass murder too as ordinary ethic clashes are given a new false footing in science but real tyranny will use any excuse for murder if it makes a buck. The most awful use of DNA is the intended one, ID. The thing which most uniquely identifies each human being as an individual will be treated like any other dehumanizing prisoner ID number. A cheap, impossible to remove ID just like everyone else's that can only do you harm.

    The important thing being taught to children is that is that they are all suspects and property of an infallible state. Stand up and be counted.

  • Re:US politics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:16PM (#22769248) Homepage
    All political systems are biased against honest people.
  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:23PM (#22769292) Journal

    Your reference says (my emphasis) "Among the key elements of Nazism.
    There you go. Does this proposition fit those key elements? No. It bears a resemblance to one aspect of Nazi Germany that was far from being the most horrific. Just because a part of society (or in this case, a proposition) isn't the polar opposite of every aspect of Nazi Germany, doesn't make it Nazism. If you call it Nazism, you are implying all those key elements I quoted, and next to none of them come close to fitting.

    I'm not saying this proposition is a good idea, that it doesn't have parallels in Nazi Germany, or even that it's not frightening, but calling it Nazism is insulting, especially to a second generation Holocaust survivor such as myself.
  • Nature vs. nurture (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:31PM (#22769344)

    I suspect that a DNA database of "future possible offenders" would be skewed heavily toward children of lower income families with substandard educational background and a history of breaking the law. No one is going to swab a DNA sample of a member of the royal family or the children of the rich and privileged because they'd scream bloody murder. In other words, the database be a misguided attempt to explain societal ills through physiology. We've been down this road before and the result has often been mass genocide as "superior" individuals deem it time to cleanse the world of "inferior" folk.

    Besides, a database of likely offenders will not do anything to prevent a crime. It will simply provide a pool of high-risk individuals that the police will regard with greater suspicion after the event. The legal system has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to wrongfully convict people because of prejudice, sloppy police work and a poor representation. What chance does an innocent kid have if he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and has already been labeled as genetically dangerous in the police database?

  • by rah1420 ( 234198 ) <> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:33PM (#22769352)
    Similar thing happened to me recently. My son was 'interviewed' (cough) for some incident that he was not involved in, simply because of some other kids saying that my son hung around the suspects. We're in the detective's room, telling him that not only does he have an airtight alibi for the date in question (he was with me) the suspects -- and the implicators -- were not even people that my son chose to hang around with. This from both me and my son.

    Officer Krupke then says "So who ARE your friends?"

    I stopped him.

    "We've established that my son wasn't involved, my son has no association with anyone you named, and therefore he's not a material part of the investigation. If you insist on knowing my son's friends, who we've also established are not part of this group, I'll have to ask to step out while I discuss the legality of your request with my lawyer."

    In a sudden outbreak of common sense, the good gendarme reconsidered his request.

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crymeph0 ( 682581 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:37PM (#22769376)
    It sounds to me like the old student's ploy: make your parents think you failed a test, so when they find out you actually got a 'C', they're glad.

    This sounds like the police proposing completely outlandish things, which the citizenry immediately shouts down, but it desensitizes them to things like tracking their children with GPS units, which they voluntarily buy [], without the government even telling them they have to.

    I don't want anything less than an 'A' from my government when it comes to civil liberties, and no amount of crazy activity to lower my expectations will make me happy with anything less.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:55PM (#22769494) Journal
    Oh, I know I know. I have many many friends sweating it out in the Empire. I get daily reports on the misery, and they are NOT knuckledragging retards. Except for Aaron. He's a fucking idiot. But I digress...

    You are correct. Please note: I'm not in the UK. I find what is happening there very sad, and just as sad as the USA, my former homeland.

    This song sums up my feelings about the USA:

    Going to a Town []

    And this sums up my opinion of WAY too many of its inhabitants:

    America []

    And with the way the UK govt is going, it's going straight here:

    SexCrime []

    And it's just really really sad to watch. The USA did away with habeus corpus, and the gutless democrats haven't found the FUCKING BALLS to reinstate it. But it was the Brits who invented it BECAUSE of a Really Craptastic King they had forcing them to develop the Magna Carta. So many thousands of people struggled and died for the freedoms we all take for granted, and it seems people are just too stupid or cowed to bother demanding their privacy and freedom.


  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:57PM (#22769498)
    When governments go bad, good people have everything to hide.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wahmuk ( 163299 ) <jlwomack61&gmail,com> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:09PM (#22769554)

    This is common in almost any occupation, not just that law enforcement personnel view everyone as a potential criminal. Firemen look at the potential fire hazards around them, doctors and nurses evaluate the health of everyone they contact, proofreaders and editors (how many of these do we seem to have on Slashdot?) correct everyone's spelling and grammar. I'm a typesetter, I subconsciously identify the typestyles used in every billboard or advertisement I see. No matter what field you're in, it's hard to get the training and experience out of your head, even when you're not at work.

    This idea is very shortsighted because lawmakers have so few tools at their disposal. All they get to do is make laws! If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:13PM (#22769580) Homepage Journal
    Nobody thinks their precious little snowflake is going to be caught by that, so they want to defend their child against the evil little children.

    Actually, I'd guess that there are a good number of people who are afraid that their own kid just might get caught by it, so they'll resist getting into the DNA database. The reason is that humanity has a long, sorry history of looking for this sort of magic test that will lighten the tough load of good police work, and let the authorities just go out and arrest people who show some physical features that are listed as sure signs of criminality.

    The classical physical features are race-related, of course. Lots of Americans "know" that dark-skinned people are all criminals who haven't yet been caught. In Europe, the victim groups are sometimes different, the they've always existed. In northern Europe, it's people from southern Europe. In southern Europe, it's people from Africa or the East. And everywhere, it's gypsies. If a person in the wrong group is anywhere near the scene of a crime, they get arrested and charged with the crime. It's a lot easier than the hard work of finding the actual culprit, y'know.

    It wasn't so long ago that having the wrong bumps on your head made you a "potential criminal". We know now that that was pseudo-science, but enough people believed it that the police could use it as a way of avoiding the hard police work. Lately, we've had a few people pointing out that fingerprinting has never been scientifically tested, is at most useful for rejecting suspects whose prints don't match, and textbooks go into great detail about the situations where matching isn't even possible. But the technical skeptics are ignored, because it simplifies the job of picking someone to arrest (and Hollywood has told us that it works).

    And in general, the poorest people are always "potential criminals". I suppose the reasoning is that they are the ones with the strongest motive to be criminals. And, of course, if you can't get a job because you didn't get a good education because your parents couldn't afford to pay for good schools, you may find that a criminal life is the only one open to you.

    Anyway, I'd guess that in most of the world, there's a good-sized underclass that will instantly understand what this latest "potential offender" test means. It means that their DNA will be the type classified as potential offenders. Being on the list will eliminate most of their job opportunities, and will lead to arrests any time they happen to be near a crime scene. If your kids are on the list, they'll never have a good job and will be repeatedly arrested no matter what they do or how they live.

    With the stage of our current DNA understanding, this is just another in the long line of pseudo-scientific tests for criminality. Anyone with a good understanding of what DNA is and how it works is going to be highly skeptical. DNA may influence your behavior; it certainly doesn't determine your behavior. But we can expect that the politicians and police won't pay attention to geeky technical skeptics. Not when they've got the latest high-tech excuse to avoid the hard police work and just arrest someone nearby with the wrong DNA. Especially not when the database "proves" that it's mostly the "wrong people" who are criminals, just like we knew all along.

  • by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:30PM (#22769700) Journal
    Yeah, collecting DNA from innocent people is far more scary and insane than nuking millions of innocent people. I sympathise with you, but I do find the whole notion of nuking things you don't like the most abhorrent, disrespectful and just plain retarded concepts I've come across.

    I did find the bit about hermiting into a hole with a big gun to escape insanity quite hilarious though.

  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:30PM (#22769704) Homepage Journal
    Oh, and despite the alarmist news media, "election fraud" is hardly a rampant problem.

    And how would we know that? Consider that a lot of the new "electronic" voting equipment isn't auditable, not even by the people running the election. If the actual votes are in a form that can be easily and undetectably erased, it's not obvious how we could ever know how much election fraud has taken place.

    Considering the high value of winning elections, the default assumption in such situations should always be that non-auditable equipment is bought because it can be used to commit undetectable election fraud. Anything else is just naive. At the very least, the people who signed off on using such equipment should be considered ipso facto guilty of election fraud.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:35PM (#22769734)
    Well, no. The ancestors of most of these "knuckledragging retards" were smart enough to leave the UK (by force) 230 years ago. The following generations fell into a spoiled lifestyle of the following decades. You see your grandparents' saying that kids never had it so easy as today? They're right. As little as fifty years ago, we were still having riots and copious bloodshed over the rights we now don't even appreciate, because we grew up with them.
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkKnopfler ( 472229 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:47PM (#22769802)
    I wish I had moderation points to mod the parent up. I completely concur. It is amazing that in such a mature democracy such as the UK, people can get away after spouting such nonsense. Comments or plans of this variety deserve a few heads to roll for fucks sake ! At lease _somebody_ should take to the streets man ! Somebody !
  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:28PM (#22769968)
    This is hardly a slippery slope proposition. It's not even a boiling a frog to death in a pot proposition.

    It's just not something that happens. As long as there are more people in a country than there are people making the decisions things will eventually turn around.

    Nazi Germany and the Soviet union are prime examples. They both got bad beyond any sort of comprehension before the pulled back, but they did. These sorts of regimes require a huge amount of both human and natural resources to keep in motion. In the case of the U.S.S.R. the problem was that they couldn't keep up the oppression and still have enough supplies to feed the people, in Germany, the problem was that they took on too many nations at the same time largely because anybody that said it couldn't be done was at risk for being shuffled of to a concentration camp.

    As these things get worse and worse, the tendency for a small spark to set the whole thing off gets smaller and smaller. Realistically, there's always going to be a few anarchists, sociopaths and others that consider the state of affairs to be dystopian nightmare regardless of what the current state of affairs is.

    That being said, I'm glad that I'm not having to put up with that level of surveillance where I live. Admittedly the US' security policy on the home front is completely unacceptable, but it is far less disturbing than UK's is. The prospect of being nailed 30 years in the future because of a bad DNA match on a sample which was collected during childhood is well worth being scared of. Chances are that the samples won't be properly maintained because the government won't want to pay the staff an appropriate wage to maintain it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:28PM (#22769970)

    especially to a second generation Holocaust survivor such as myself.
    What exactly is a "second generation Holocaust survivor"?

    Either you were a survivor or you weren't...
  • Re:For fuck's sake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @12:10AM (#22770164) Homepage Journal
    It's much better in the USA. We just medicate our weird kids here!
  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @04:26AM (#22771044)

    ... it was the construction of a police state that made the racism, oppression and genocide possible.
    I know what you mean; but what you are saying here is not quite true. You seem to imply a couple of things that are false:

    1. A society where "the state" knows everything about everybody is not a police state - it is simply a society where everything is known about everybody. Three examples would be Denmark, Norway and Sweden, I believe - they are all fairly close to this state of affairs, where everybody's personal information is collected in a central database, but I don't think you could call them police states.

    2. A police state doesn't have to lead to racism, oppression or genocide; these crimes exist because there are people who are ruthless as well as racists or fascists. Being in power and having the tools of a police state is of course a situation that such people would see as ideal, and there are many other good reasons for not wanting a police state.

    It may seem pedantic to point these things out, but I think it is important to keep our minds clear about things. Oppression, fascism, racism - they all start with appealing to people's fear and not allowing a cool analysis of the facts, so by invoking "police state" as well as "racism, oppression and genocide" in this fashion you are actually serving the purpose of your alleged enemies: the fascists, the "oppresionists".
  • Re:US politics... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @04:30AM (#22771050) Journal
    > a) The US political system is heavily biased towards those who claim to be Christians.


    > b) There's a demonstrable negative correlation between intelligence and religious belief, for an intelligent person to be a successful politician in the USA they mostly have to lie about their religious beliefs (eg. Pres. Clinton).

    Not true. Unless you have a rather different study than the one I've seen, the study that everyone cites correlated education, not intelligence, with atheism. Anyhow, I'd rather not get into because you have a point here that I'd like to add on to.

    > Conclusion: The US political system is biased against intelligent, honest people.

    Mostly just honest people. Intelligent people, unfortunately, make good liars. I'm sure you know how helpful that sort of skill is in politics. Part of the problem, ironically, is our high standards. No one is perfect, but those who are better at burying their skeletons might be able to look it.

    The high standards problem, BTW, works anywhere you have some kind of metric that's set too high if you are any less than perfect in detecting cheating. What happens is that once you've set the bar high enough, people have to cheat to clear it, so only those who are able to cheat well pass. This happens a lot in business, where they end up getting rid of all the really good people who just can't keep up, but they unknowingly keep those who cheated their way to the top.

    Thus, the stricter their standards, the worse people they get. It can even cause a feedback cycle when overall performance is terrible (though individuals look good), so they respond by raising the bar even higher...

    In other words, it's very important to make sure that whatever standards are set are actually achievable by honest people.
  • Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jlebrech ( 810586 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @05:01AM (#22771148) Homepage
    You often become what other people view you to be. If you cannot get a job because you have criminal DNA, guess what you will become.
  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AGMW ( 594303 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @05:10AM (#22771182) Homepage
    To be fair to the Police, that is their job! They should be advocating things that will make their job easier - more cameras, DNA/fingerpint DBs, speed cameras, the whole nine yards - its the Politicians job to tell them "NO, not on my watch!".

    Unfortunately, our politicians are too busy feathering their nests to make any reasonable decisions.

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LKM ( 227954 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @05:14AM (#22771190) Homepage

    If you've nothing to hide...

    Do you really think there's even a single person in the whole world who has nothing to hide? How about your medical history, would you be okay with everyone knowing that? Do you not care if everyone know who you've slept with (or, as the case may be, have not slept with but pretended to have slept with)? How about that one time you've shat your pants for some ridiculous reason when you were 8 years old? You don't care if everyone knows this? How about letting the police know how fast you drive? You don't care about that? Surely you've never broken the speed limit? Or maybe crossed the road when the signal was still red? No jaywalking? Never littered? Never thrown a cup of coffee at your boyfriend in the heat of an argument? Never stole your neighbour's newspaper out of his box because you saw an interesting article? Never found a wallet without any identification and just kept the money? Never insulted your friend when he wasn't present? Want your new employer to know you've stolen a sandwich out of the fridge at your previous place of work? Or that you had an affair with your old boss's secretary? Or that you like to wear women's underwear? That you downrob gigs of movies and music off the Interwebs? Or that you jerk off to violent hot gritz fat chicks midget porn all evening? Or that you tend to post pages and pages of dumb crap on Slashdot instead of working (which, by the way, is obviously the only one of these points which applies to me, for the record :-)?

    Nobody has nothing to hide, and our society only works because we're allowed to keep secrets. If every bad deed were punished, everyone would constantly be punished. Privacy is an important right; without it and without the ability to do "small" bad things, our society would not work.

  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bloke down the pub ( 861787 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @05:17AM (#22771212)

    Nazi Germany and the Soviet union are prime examples. They both got bad beyond any sort of comprehension before the pulled back, but they did.
    No they didn't. Nazi Germany was defeated, occupied and partitioned. The Soviet Union collapsed into something that, for the vast majority of its people, is even worse.
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:43AM (#22772208) Journal
    Of course, you'd better hope that you haven't been anywhere near anywhere that might become a crime scene, and that the police don't muck up the DNA comparison (like they have done before) and mistakenly arrest you for someone else's murder. (Also, if you thought having your DNA would help the police rule you out as a suspect, you could always voluntarily give a sample when they ever actually suspected you of everything.)

    Also, while DNA matching is currently only used for crime scenes, there's no guarantees that it won't be abused for anything else in future, and the definition of "crime" may well expand to include things like political activities and "subversion" (broadly defined). Having everyone's DNA on file would make it much easier to clamp down on those too...
  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitig ( 1056110 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:52AM (#22772254)
    Hmm, lose my child or risk them seeing a targeted ad...lose my child or risk them seeing a targeted ad...sure is a tough call. After all, there's no risk of the mobile phone provider delivering targeted ads based on which cell the phone is in, is there?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:40AM (#22773132)
    "plus I have chronic nightmares in which I'm being chased, which is a symptom of the holocaust that apparently commonly affects first, second, and sometimes even third generation holocaust survivors."

    Of course it could be a result of the commonly observed placebo affect where people who believe they suffer from a psychological condition start to show symptoms of that psychological condition.
  • Re:And? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:53AM (#22773246) Journal
    To be fair to the Police, that is their job! They should be advocating things that will make their job easier

    True, but I would also hope that the police take an objective rather than selfish viewpoint on this - they should advocate what they think is best, rather than what makes life easier for them personally.

    E.g., I'm sure a programmer's life would be easier if they didn't have to fix any bugs, and could ignore what customers want. And I'm sure a lot of them do that. But it would be silly for them to advocate that as a serious suggestion.
  • Re:And? (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2008 @02:46PM (#22775896)

    Attractive, Female, Brit? Sorry does not compute. Division by zero when trying to calculate probability distribution.

    If you see something attractive on the street here you can bet a few quid that she will be speaking Polish straight away. At best that will be English with NZ or AU accent. Most likely Polish, Lituanian or Russian though.

    I've recently been to Bulgaria, my first trip apart from to the USA to a non-western European country. Even though this is utterly anecdotal, I can confirm that the average Bulgarian woman is better looking than the average British woman. The women are just generally slimmer, and to me they just appear healthier because of this.... and then internal biology kicks in and healthier women would make a better mother for my child -> more attractive women.

    The western obesity epidemic is real.

    There are attractive women in the UK (and when they are hot they are fucking beautiful), but the sheer number of mingers just pull the average right down, and I find that a fucking embarrassment for us in the UK.

    The massive use of pills from early age, junk food, lack of PE in schools along with jaws deformed from being stuffed with a dummy till the age of 4 have created an outright sick looking nation. And if you look at some of the older generation moms it is clear that things did not use to be that way (it is getting better lately, at least some parents have started keeping track of what their children eat).

    The lack of exercise is probably the worst factor, as this lack of exercise becomes habitual for the kid (has for me, and I'm a flabby fuck who never walks anywhere). Significant amounts of kids get driven to school these days, instead of walking, because the papers have used the fear of kidnapping to sell units over the last 30+ years. I'm not a parent, but I would bet that the cliques at the school gate are as bad as the ones on the playground. Once a critical mass of parents are getting their spawn to school by vehicle, the looking-down-on other parents will begin, only accelerating the rate that kids go to school by car.

    On a more serious note, I am a parent of an extremely unruly 6 year old who is doing his best to try to compete for the title of "the youngest person expelled from an independent school in GB". I have long noted that the "naughtiness" of children is more or less constant or has a baseline constant component. A quiet person in his early years will be a hellraising teenager and vice versa. There is nothing wrong with children exhibiting "violent" and "erratic" behaviour. They are trying to find their way into the world. They should be helped and directed instead of being marked as future offenders.

    I managed to last until I was about 12 before being asked to leave a UK independent school because of my behaviour, and was then expelled from the next place in under a year. I ended up at another school that would 1) have me and 2) managed to keep me under control right the way 'til the end of my A-levels.

    My schooling from about 3 to 9 years old was at an independent school where the sexes were grossly unbalanced: maybe only 10% boys in the school, all female staff, and the school was only open to boys from ages 3 to 9, but girls were schooled to 16. Looking back at this place, there was a seriously anti-male attitude (and in the early 80s I feel that feminism could have been a very powerful force on the female only staff[1]). When I used to get in trouble, all I ever remember is being bollocked and being told things like "why can't you behave more like the girls?" or "why can't you behave like your sister?"... Because, you stupid bitch, I'm not a little girl who by default will go out of their way to please others, I'm a little boy who by default will want to investigate shit and push his boundaries. Oh, you're punishing me for this?

    So by the next place, I didn't have much of a good attitude towards teachers. This school ac

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