Landmark ruling on DNA rights

Dandelion Salad

Press TV
Fri, 05 Dec 2008 03:14:59 GMT

DNA is commonly used to detect a range of crimes in the UK.

A landmark decision is taken in Europe’s top human rights court striking down a British law allowing storage of DNA and fingerprints.

The British law allowed the government to store DNA and fingerprints from people with no criminal records but the new ruling could force Britain to destroy nearly 1m samples in its database, AP reported.

The court criticized Britain’s use of ‘blanket and indiscriminate storage as well.

It is noteworthy that Britain cannot appeal the ruling and has only until March to hand in plans for destroying samples or to make a case for why some should be kept.

Britain has one of the world’s largest DNA databases with more than 4.5 million samples, mainly collected using a cheek swab.

Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith noted, “DNA and fingerprinting is vital to the fight against crime, providing the police with more than 3,500 matches a month, and I am disappointed by the European Court of Human Rights’ decision.”

“The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgment,” Smith added.

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