Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Your DNA in Big Brother's hands

Five times more people in the UK have their DNA records stored on central government records than in any other country in the world. Now DNA records do have a key role in the fight against crime - but that doesn't somehow mean that anything at all done with DNA records is therefore OK.

And there are some tough questions for Labour to answer about why they've built up DNA records far, far in excess of what is needed to help fight crime in other countries.

Questions like:-

Why should the DNA records of innocent people be kept indefinitely?

How secure really are the records? (The Observer newspaper recently pointed out that private firms have secretly been keeping DNA records that should have been destroyed. And only today we learned that the tabloid press, via shadowy third parties, makes use of corrupt officials to get access to records of prominent figures. )

Where are the proper safeguards against misuse of the data?

And what is the explanation for a quarter of the DNA records being from members of the ethnic minorities whilst they only make up under one in ten of the overall population; is there really no racial discrimination going on?

That's why, last week, Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, launched a petition against this over-the-top database. Agreeing that DNA has an important role to play in fighting crime doesn't justify keeping the DNA records for innocent people indefinitely and without proper safeguards.

You can sign the petition at http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/dna

P.S. You can get information on some of our other campaigns at http://www.libdems.org.uk/campaigns/

(Thanks to Lynne Featherstone MP for passing on this information.)
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