Court: UK's DNA Database Violates Privacy Rights

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2008 7:12 PM CST
The British government may have to delete hundreds of thousands of DNA profiles.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A European human-rights court has ruled that Britain has gotten a little too Big Brotherish in its effort to build a DNA database of its citizens. The court ruled that the UK has no right to keep DNA evidence from criminal suspects who are later cleared, the Guardian reports. The sharply worded ruling, which criticized the practice as a violation of basic privacy rights, could force Britain to destroy nearly 900,000 profiles.

Britain has such data on 4.6 million people from its court system. Even though about 900,000 of them were never convicted of a crime, authorities refuse to eliminate their profiles. The court criticized the "blanket and indiscriminate nature" of the policy, and a British rights group hailed the decision. A government official said Britain is "disappointed;" the nation has a few months to decide how to respond.