The Guardian reports that the UK Home Office “ministers confirmed they want to see the DNA profiles of innocent people kept on the national database for six years, after failing to persuade parliament to back a longer period of up to 12 years for the most serious offences.” Also, the ministers said “in the case of those arrested under terrorism legislation or national security provisions,” those individuals’ “DNA profiles will in future be kept indefinitely.”
Here’s some background: Last December, the European Court of Human Rights made the decision (pdf) that said that retaining innocent individuals’ genetic data in the UK National DNA Database was a violation of human rights, specifically “the right to respect for his private and family life” set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf). The decision affects individuals age 10 or older who have been acquitted or had charges against them dropped after their arrest in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
The Home Office then said it would revise its policies. As of September 2008, the UK National DNA Database contained genetic profiles and linked DNA samples from 4.5 million individuals. As of March 2008, “857,366 people on the National DNA Database did not have a current criminal record,” according to a UK official.
In May, the Guardian reported that UK police were going to destroy 800,000 profiles in the national DNA database. Profiles to be destroyed “include people who have been arrested and never charged, and those taken to court but found not guilty.”
Now, the Home Office ministers “are expected to introduce their revised package of measures on the DNA database as part of a policing and crime bill in next week’s Queen’s speech. […] The proposal is more onerous than the original package, which proposed a 12-year limit for terrorism suspects who are freed without charge or later cleared.”
The proposed DNA regulations would apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the time limits would only apply to the innocent. Convicted adults would remain in the DNA database for life, the Guardian said.