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Right to private life ‘at risk’ in plan to store DNA of innocent people

In Big Brother, Europe News on October 11, 2011 at 1:02 am

By The Telegraph (UK)

The Home Secretary’s plan to retain the DNA of people charged but then cleared of offences may breach human rights law, a group of MPs and peers have said.

A “catch-all” discretionary power to allow police to hold the DNA of innocent people indefinitely for reasons of “national security” should also be scrapped, the Joint Committee on Human Rights [JCHR] said.

Its report on the Protection of Freedoms Bill, due to proceed through its remaining stages next week, said proposals on DNA retention should be reconsidered.

Theresa May has said the plans to curb the state’s right to intrude in private lives would see the names of one million innocent people removed from the DNA database. Only adults convicted or cautioned would have their DNA stored indefinitely, while those charged but later cleared would have their profiles stored for up to five years.

But the committee said this would create “a significant risk of incompatibility with the right to a private life’’. The Bill would also “create a broad catch-all discretion for police to authorise the retention of material indefinitely for reasons of national security’’. “We are concerned that the minister has not provided a justification of why this power is necessary and proportionate, particularly in light of specific measures targeted towards retention in relation to counter-terrorism and immigration,’’ the report said.

“Without further justification or additional safeguards, these measures should be removed from the Bill.’’

Dr Hywel Francis, the chairman of the…

Full article…

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