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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    DNA-UK brings me back to earth and on the Blog!

    OK - I'm back from Africa and back on the case.

    The Open Rights Group (ORG) began today's post:

    This morning, the news media are reporting a startling recommendation by one of the UK’s most senior judges: that the Police National DNA Database (NDNAD) should cover every citizen in the UK, and every person who visits the UK. You can listen to Lord Justice Sedley talking with the Information Commissioner on the BBC’s Today programme here.
    I also heard this longish Today programme item. While - like ORG - I thought that
    Lord Justice Sedley’s recommendation does highlight the urgent need to address the regulations governing the NDNAD. Currently, DNA records of innocent people, including thousands of children, are kept indefinitely.
    ... I could not believe that he was suggesting that the logical response was to capture the DNA of every citizen of, and visitor to, the UK. Very 'Big Brother'. ORG again:
    Bioinformation can reveal extremely private information about an individual’s family relationships and physical health. As we wrote in our submission to the Nuffield Council of Bioethics consultation on the forensic use of bioinformation, the Open Rights Group opposes the DNA sampling of the entire population, and can see no circumstances under which it should be considered.
    Here, here. Of course, we all know that there isn't a UK government IT response that could begin to do what Lord Justice Sedley suggests, but sadly this also suggests that the government will be unable to find a way of removing the DNA records of the innocent from the database.

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