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Breaking a coalition agreement, the Data Protection Act and the European Court of Human Rights – what a morning!

I was woken up this morning by my phone blipping telling me to read the following article entitled Innocent people’s DNA profiles won’t be deleted after all, minister admits in The Daily Telegraph. Yeah it wasn’t going to cheer me up and make me all bright eyed and bushy tailed for the day ahead I can assure you.

So let’s deal with the political ramifications of this first. In the coalition agreement it states quite clearly that we are going to adopt the Scottish model and delete all DNA records from people who haven’t been charged or have not been found guilty of a crime – unless it is a violent or sexual crime when records are kept on file for five years. This is far from ideal and is in all honesty a disgrace but compare that to what the government are looking to push through now and it seems like a Utopian paradise.

If you have not been convicted of any crime then it seems rather straight forward to me that there are no grounds for anyone to keep hold of your identifiable information. What is to stop a police officer arresting anyone they fancy just to get their DNA and keep it on file? Not a great deal. Even a case of mistaken identity is not a good enough reason to scrub someone’s information off the computer.


Secondly under these new plans then getting the data would be a breach of the Data Protection Act and would not be admissible in court so then why are they being kept? Obviously even though that evidence couldn’t be used in court it could help the law put together a case. Great in theory but in real terms it basically means they any evidence they got after finding out the DNA information could be challenged in court and I suspect all subsequent evidence could (and maybe would) be ruled as inadmissible in court. Maybe someone with a better legal background could verify that for me or tell me my layman’s knowledge of law is shoddy.

Thirdly that pesky Human Rights Act. The European Court of Human Rights has made a ruling and we as a nation are signed up to take their rulings as law but seemingly we are ignoring some of them as we don’t like it. You what? So we can ignore some of the Human Rights Act and some of what the European Court of Human Rights says if we don’t like what they say. Are you freaking kidding me?

This stinks of the Tory right baying for blood. The Home Office minister James Brokenshire is quoted in the piece saying “(the DNA records shall) be considered to have been deleted (even though the DNA profile record, minus the identification information, will still exist)”.

So basically he is saying ‘look we’ve done what we’ve been told but instead of you know, deleting, deleting them what we’ll do is take everyone’s names off the records but leave a marker in them so we can identify them if needs be.’ Not exactly what I call deleting something there. Keeping it and making it identifiable. However I’m some raging liberal who you know actually cares about Civil Liberties and the like.

Towards the end of the piece there is a brilliant paragraph, ‘However within individual police systems, profiles are recorded in batches and it was not possible to delete one without affecting the rest, including convicted offenders.’ So it would be impossible to delete only the profiles of the innocent. What horse you know what. I think in this day and age even the most inept computer script writer could write a programme that deletes all the profiles of innocent people. I’m pretty sure of that guys…

The Home Office Spokesman is quoted as saying they’ll do as they are told from the Eurpean Court of Human Rights but who do we believe more – a PR person or a minister who is in charge of this when both have been directly quoted? Yeah exactly.

I hope all of the Liberal Democrat MPs vote against this bill as constituted by Brokenshire/The Daily Telegraph should it come up in the House of Commons. If your name is on the list then you are not coming in is a rather famous saying. I think the Lib Dem MPs need to adopt an ‘if it isn’t in the coalition agreement then we are not voting for it’ policy for any bill that isn’t of grave importance to the economy, which I will grant is a fluid situation.

European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act is good. Pandering to the Tory Right just to please them is not.

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