Nothing to fear in Brown's brave new Britain

One of the phrases I truly loathe is "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide."  It is too often used as a catch-all excuse for completely unwarranted invasions of personal privacy.  So it is truly shocking to learn that more than 90,000 innocent people have been added to the National DNA Database since the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the practice was illegal last year. The facts are that 433,752 DNA profiles have been added to the database since the ECHR ruling on 5 December last year – 1,480 per day.   5.5m profiles on the database relate to 4.8m people because 13.3% are "replicates" - already sounds like something out of Blade Runner... By applying the Government’s 2008 estimate that 20.8% of people on the database are innocent to the current total, it is a reasonable presumption that there are now more than one million innocent people whose DNA is currently held, including 90,220 since the ruling. 

Only 611 profiles have been removed from the database over that period So despite the European ruling that the adding data of innocent people is a breach of human rights, for every innocent DNA profile removed from the database, around 150 new ones are added. Having just written of the sinister world evoked by Harold Pinter in the current Ovo production (see yesterday's blog entry), it seems that life really does follow art.

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