DNA Testing Freedom Fears
DNA testing is raising concerns amongst civil liberty groups. It is estimated by the Home Office that by the year 2008 4.2 million DNA samples will be held on a criminal DNA database. The thought that around seven percent of the population’s identities will be stored on the database has raised some concerns about civil liberties. Genetic profiling and DNA testing has increased over recent years and has seen this criminal database grow at a rapid pace.
DNA Testing in the Fight Against Crime
Although the majority of DNA samples on the database are those of convicted criminals, there are also samples that are from completely innocent citizens. It is thought that the British DNA database is larger that any other in the world. DNA testing is becoming increasingly used in police procedures. However the storing of genetic information from completely innocent citizens who have never been charged is most controversial. Campaigners believe this creates a list of suspects that can be used to pre-judges thousands of innocent people.
DNA Database Expands
DNA testing and the DNA database is still however considered a most powerful tool in the fight against crime. However, it’s felt that the every increasing growth of the database is totally unacceptable in an open democracy. Many feel this is an infringement on their privacy. DNA testing can be used to link suspects to crime scenes. Hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent by the government in expanding the database.
DNA Tests Help Catch Criminals
According to Home Office figures, 15,700 crimes have been solved thanks to the help of DNA testing. Some believe the huge impact that DNA testing can have on apprehending criminals outweighs the civil liberty issues. Examples have been given which highlight the success of DNA testing in crime, for example the DNA sample taken from a drink driver that also then matched him to a murder and rape committed 27 years earlier.
Could DNA Databases Be Discriminatory?
DNA testing in crime is used more and more to help police track and convict suspects. However using DNA databases in other areas such as the health service have also been debated. There are however ethical concerns about taking a DNA fingerprint and fears the information it contains could possible be used in a discriminatory way.
Civil Liberties Abused
Recently a news report has raised concerns that the Labour government was turning a generation of innocent young people into suspects by including their DNA on the national DNA database, without their permission. It is estimated that 100,000 children are on this database. Civil liberties see this as quite sinister and once more raised concerns that such information may be open to misuse or abuse.
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