A renowned DNA scientist, whose work eventually paved way for creation of the DNA national database, has cautioned that the government could lose public support for the database by keeping genetic details of several innocent people in it.
The inventor of genetic fingerprinting, Sir Alec Jeffreys, asserted that many innocent people were “branded as criminals” by the practice of holding genetic particulars of everyone arrested irrespective of a conviction later.
Along the same, he said in a statement, “I have met some [innocent] people who are on the database and are really distressed by the fact. They feel branded as criminals and I would feel branded as a criminal”.
He further went on to say that the DNA national database is currently filled with a large number of entirely innocent people, and while accurate count of such people is not exactly known, it appears to be “hundreds of thousands”.
Incidentally, a recent ruling by the European court of human rights claimed that the government’s policy of keeping genetic details of innocent people actually infringed their right to privacy.
However, he further said he was left “almost speechless” by reports that the government responded to the ruling by deleting profiles of individuals without convictions, but holding their DNA details on the database.
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No one would have complained about the DNA database (or indeed any other governmental databases) if it hadn't prove to be fundamentally wrong. Millions of records have already been lost in the past few years which have showed that processes are not respected or simply not in place in some governmental and parastatal bodies.