WRITTEN ON December 5th, 2008 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Foundation of Trust, Transformational Government, What do we want?

FIPR and others have long argued that the UK’s excesses in data retention and data sharing are illegal under EU law, and that there will be an expensive and politically humiliating reckoning. Well, the ruling on DNA data retention is a clear first step (Guardian):

The rapid expansion of the DNA database in Britain was halted yesterday by a damning ruling by European human rights judges that the retention of the profiles and fingerprints of more than 850,000 innocent people was unlawful.

The unanimous ruling by the European court of human rights scuppers Home Office plans to extend automatic retention of DNA samples to those arrested for low-level offences such as traffic violations and littering and for the Europe-wide sharing of records. The national DNA database contains profiles of 4.3 million people who have been arrested by the police in connection with “recordable” offences that carry a potential prison sentence.

The piece goes on to suggest the Scottish approach – of retaining only the details of violent and sexual offenders – might be a workable compromise. That doesnt preclude testing of course, and discarding the records of the innocent.

Next stop: children’s databases, national health records, the more intolerable ambitions of the Benighted ID Scheme, and the architectural assumptions behind that creaking edifice we call Transformational Government.

Wibbi the UK publlic sector obeyed EU privacy and human rights law in letter and spirit. Wibbi we didnt have to be told by a bunch of time-service, pension- and expense-claim absorbing Euro-bureaucrats how to do the right thing. But we’ll accept help in fixing our UK problems from whatever quarter its offered…

UPDATE: terrific analysis piece in the Indy, looking at Comms Data Bill and data-sharing provisions vs EU human rights report and EU court judgement.


What am I saying? You read it all here, of course, ages ago. But the Indy is proper MSM – ink smeared on dead trees, man. It’s real. And it has nice graphics.

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