The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big Brother's New Clothes

The Ministry of Tough has announced its plans to exclude the DNA profiles of innocent people from the national police database, which plans involve keeping the DNA profiles of innocent people on the national police database. The original idea, if that is the word I want, was to keep DNA profiles of people arrested for "serious violent and sexual offences" for twelve years whether the data-inputee was found guilty or not; the European court of human rights has ruled this illegal and the House of Donors is wobbling a bit, so the Ministry of Tough has decided, after its usual inimitable fashion, that the measures are not draconian enough. The new plan is to retain for six years the DNA profiles of anyone whom the police feel like arresting, regardless of such fripperies as the presence or absence of evidence against them; to retain for six years the DNA profiles of children who are not cautioned or convicted of an offence (or three years if the offence for which they are not cautioned or convicted is a minor one); and to retain the DNA profiles of people who are not guilty of terrorist offences ("suspects" in modern parlance) until the day they die. A spokesbeing for the Home Secretary and science buff Alan Johnson said: "The reality is that many investigations of counter-terrorism actually take a very long time indeed"; so long, in fact, that the process of trial and verdict, far from being the conclusion of the case, is merely a single, vaguely inconvenient, rather wishy-washy phase of the ongoing battle for optimal toughness. Britain's leading liberal newspaper, which apparently has been reporting on a different Ministry of Tough to the one by which the rest of us have been watched all these years, refers to all this as "unexpected".


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