DNA Databases

Jaydock

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Hi, I'm interested as to what people on this site think of DNA databases, like those currently in operation in the UK and United States.

The United Kingdom National DNA Database was set up in 1995. As of the end of 2005 it carried the profiles of around 3.4 million people, over 585,000 of them taken from children aged under 16. At the end of 2006, this figure had risen to more than 4 million records, making it the world's biggest DNA database at the time.

The database grows by over 30,000 samples each month, and since April 2004, anyone arrested in England and Wales on suspicion of involvement in any recordable offence (all except the most minor offences) has their DNA sample taken and stored in the database for 100 years, whether or not they are subsequently charged or convicted

Does this represent a threat to civil liberties, and should such a system be introduced in Ireland?[/b]
 


G

Gimpanzee

I'm all for them - should be done as part of the registration of births in the hospitals. I have little concern about the civil liberties waffle - if some evil-doer wants to get a sample of your DNA for their dastardly Orwellian plan it is virtually impossible to stop them anyway. Scientists have started publishing their own entire genomes, to be poured over by geneticists all over the world, and they aren't concerned.

Aside from the security benefits there is massive potential for medical benefits based on studies focusing on localised populations - like knowing what diseases Irish people are predisposed to.
 
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Its both a threat and a help.

A young girl was murdered in Croydon and the scum bag had lived near her years before but police had no record of him living there as was staying with a friend.

He got arrested for minor affray at a pub and when sample came back it matched what they were looking for. No chance of him being found otherwise.

http://www.redhillandreigatelife.co.uk/ ... murder.php

I'm still opposed to it though.
 

M R-Foynes

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I'd have no problem with them though I think the first step should be national ID numbers and cards along the lines of Sweden which is both practical and necessary.
 

Citizen

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Do not give them to AIB as they may get them mixed up.

AIB has apologised after 15,000 payment advice slips with bank account details and home addresses were sent to the wrong customers.

A spokesperson for the bank said that a computer error had caused the receipts, which acknowledge foreign currency lodgements to be sent to the wrong addresses.

The bank says it sincerely regrets what has happened and that it has informed the Data Protection Commissioner.
- RTE


Likewise do not give them to the UK Revenue people.

Or the Nationwide Building Society

or really to anyone except our Taoiseach.

Senator Martin Mansergh has reminded us how responsible Mr Ahern is.

He is truly reponsible for everything.

(I must look up that word responsible in the dictionary again)
 

ivnryn

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Gimpanzee said:
Aside from the security benefits there is massive potential for medical benefits based on studies focusing on localised populations - like knowing what diseases Irish people are predisposed to.
All of those benefits can be obtained by taking a sample from volunteers and anyway, that is not the reason why the system is being proposed.
 

The OD

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Gimpanzee said:
I'm all for them - should be done as part of the registration of births in the hospitals. I have little concern about the civil liberties waffle - if some evil-doer wants to get a sample of your DNA for their dastardly Orwellian plan it is virtually impossible to stop them anyway. Scientists have started publishing their own entire genomes, to be poured over by geneticists all over the world, and they aren't concerned.

Aside from the security benefits there is massive potential for medical benefits based on studies focusing on localised populations - like knowing what diseases Irish people are predisposed to.
And adjusting your health insurance premiums accordingly.
 

QueenELizardbreath

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Gimpanzee said:
I'm all for them. I have little concern about the civil liberties waffle - if someone wants to get a sample of your DNA it is virtually impossible to stop them. Scientists have started publishing their own entire genomes, to be poured over by geneticists all over the world, and they aren't concerned.
Phew.... I was getting worried for a while there, but sure as long as the scientists aren't concerned it must be a great thing. Thank you for clearing that up for us Gimpanzee.

Gimpanzee said:
Aside from the security benefits there is massive potential for medical benefits based on studies focusing on localised populations - like knowing what diseases Irish people are predisposed to.
Everyone will benefit, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, it will help cure disease, it will stop invisable superhuman terrorists yada yada yada :roll: .
 

GJG

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odie1kanobe said:
Its both a threat and a help.

A young girl was murdered in Croydon and the scum bag had lived near her years before but police had no record of him living there as was staying with a friend.

He got arrested for minor affray at a pub and when sample came back it matched what they were looking for. No chance of him being found otherwise.

http://www.redhillandreigatelife.co.uk/ ... murder.php

I'm still opposed to it though.
Firstly, sadly, DNA or no DNA, some murders will go unsolved.

This is an excellent example of why DNA trawling should not be allowed. In this case we got a hit. Probably. But consider this. the FBI examined Lewinsky's dress and found Clinton's, and two other unknown samples. No attention was paid to them because they weren't relevant to the case, but it demonstrates that DNA samples can get anywhere for all sorts of reasons.

Take a scenario: A middle-class student borrows a dress from her room-mate while the room-mate is away for the weekend. It gets a bit grubby so she dry-cleans it before leaving it back, so her room-mate won't notice.

The next weekend the room-mate wears her own dress and coming home is attacked and murdered.

The police examine the dress and find semen sample. In a world where there is a universal DNA database, they just run the sample and they get a hit. Local guy, minimum wage employment, not too bright, not well liked. Arrested, he says he was at home alone watching telly at the time. Can't remember what was on. Says he never met the victim.

So, with the golden evidence - the DNA match - he is charged and convicted. But what we don't know is that he works in a dry-cleaners. And he had a quick wonk before handling the dress when the girl got it dry-cleaned. Neither he nor the police nor anyone else know what happened, except that they have an almost religious belief in the power of DNA evidnece. An expert at his trial says that it is 99.9999 per cent accurate. The jury, loving the number, convict and he gets banged up. Or injected with poison if it's the US.

I strongly believe in using technology to solve crime, but we should not be blinded by it. DNA is about as private as information gets, and nobody should be required to hand it over with out very good reason. If somebody is a suspect, then sure, take evidence to see if it points towards their innocence or guilt - when you get a warrant. These rules of evidence exist for a reason.

The notion that you can simply trawl a database and bang up anyone who fits the bill has no place in a democracy. DNA evidence is acceptable to confirm or contradict an existing theory. It is not acceptable to use as proof of guilt or innocence alone. Every generation thinks that it is the zenith of science. The Birmingham Six were locked up on the basis of the best available science at the time.
 

Auditor #9

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He might not have wonked in the view of CCTV cameras but you can't avoid getting recorded on them these days - especially if you have nothing to hide. No doubt there will be cases like your example above of reasonable doubt with strong and weak alibis. Though very convincing in most cases, DNA evidence wouldn't necessarily sway juries where there is reasonable doubt. There are always the poor basturds who go down for nothing anyway. Do you think there could be more of that happening with powerful tools like forensic DNA at the hands of authorities? We have seen from the Maddy case that DNA was used extensively as far as we know but still traditional evidence was needed.
 

GJG

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Auditor #9 said:
He might not have wonked in the view of CCTV cameras but you can't avoid getting recorded on them these days - especially if you have nothing to hide. No doubt there will be cases like your example above of reasonable doubt with strong and weak alibis. Though very convincing in most cases, DNA evidence wouldn't necessarily sway juries where there is reasonable doubt. There are always the poor basturds who go down for nothing anyway. Do you think there could be more of that happening with powerful tools like forensic DNA at the hands of authorities? We have seen from the Maddy case that DNA was used extensively as far as we know but still traditional evidence was needed.
The real danger is that this will hugely influence the way that the authorities - police in particular - will work. Why bother looking for real clues when you can just look up in the database to find out who is guilty. And if the DNA isn't quite enough to convict, as with the Birmingham Six, just batter a confession out of the suspect - he's guilty anyway.

This is the same argument as removing the right to silence/presumption of innocence. Yes, it might get you a few quick wins against real crooks, but in the long term the effect on the way law is enforced is very negative.
 

Auditor #9

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The phrase 'With great power comes great responsibility' was just going through my mind while reading your post. I thought it might be of significance to the topic so I googled it and it's from ... Spiderman. But it still stands doesn't it? We need to educate people according to developments like these which could impact society massively; we possibly also need more laws...

The Birmingham six were unfortunate in that that happened to them in an atmosphere of terrorism and war on terror almost like we have now, didn't it? The likes of cases like Maddy and Joe O'Reilly are not just horrific cases anymore but are a new kind of animal in the overlapping worlds of science and law.

It's a really really new area and I think you're right - we should be very cautious about it.
 

GJG

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Auditor #9 said:
The Birmingham six were unfortunate in that that happened to them in an atmosphere of terrorism and war on terror almost like we have now, didn't it? The likes of cases like Maddy and Joe O'Reilly are not just horrific cases anymore but are a new kind of animal in the overlapping worlds of science and law.
Corrupt leaders always foster a sense of panic because it means that their corruption comes under less scrutiny. Take your pick, it's crime, Irish, drugs, communists, Jews, Muslims, but it's always something.

Auditor #9 said:
It's a really really new area and I think you're right - we should be very cautious about it.
Thanks for your comment, and your right that DNA is new, but the principle is goes back to the Middle Ages. It was common to torture people into confession until wise leaders realised that this was counter-productive and insisted on the presumption of innocence, the right to non-self-incrimination, no searches without warrant, no torture. They didn't do this because they were wooly liberals, they did it because they knew that a just society was a more stable one. In recent years idiot leaders have attacked all of these rights.

If the authorities select a culprit and then just search for evidence of their guilt, they will find it often - even when they have the wrong culprit. When they search for evidence, not just for confirmation of their suspicions, they are more successful. That is as true now as ever.
 

storybud

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"Watson, check the time of death like a good fellow", it's ok Holmes I have a DNA match with my superduper scanner,replied Watson

Holmes replied " well how in the hell I am supposed to drag this into a two hour movie if the case is solved in the first scene" growled Holmes and quickly walked to the other side of the room like a spolied child not getting the adoration he craved.

"Well what is the super duper scanner telling you titface", Holmes was very annoyed,

"It was the Butler wot done it " said Watson

I am the fvcking pretend Butler tonight said Holmes,did Moriaty plant my DNA somehow?

"Not unless he and you have a very , very close relationship" ?



It is the new fngerprints but far easier for the cops and the bad guys to plant.
 
N

NM_123

Gimpanzee said:
Scientists have started publishing their own entire genomes, to be poured over by geneticists all over the world, and they aren't concerned.

Aside from the security benefits there is massive potential for medical benefits based on studies focusing on localised populations - like knowing what diseases Irish people are predisposed to.
This is true, but different. In the future parents could be counselled on their newborn's genetics status (if they want) for diseases etc ... eg predisposition to asthma, diabetes.

But this is separate to having a criminal DNA register, and I would hope (but not expect) that the hospital register would be separate to the one for all newly born kids.
 
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It also depends on how many strands of DNA that are used as too few and you get a bigger match than you think but they aren't going to volunteer that.
 

Helium Three

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NM_123 said:
Gimpanzee said:
Scientists have started publishing their own entire genomes, to be poured over by geneticists all over the world, and they aren't concerned.

.
.
The first genetecist who tries pouring anything over my genome can expect a clatter.
 


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