I read the Guardian article “Police routinely arresting people to get DNA” after it was drawn to my attention by FIPR and came to the opposite conclusion. The “real” issue is that Parliament has not debated the issue and no-one has consulted the public. I am one of those who would like my DNA on file in case I my identity credentials are lost, stolen or otherwise compromised as a result of poor information governance. But I have no more choice than the members of the posses haunting the unpoliced high streets which I go on-line to avoid.
My concern over DNA databases is whether the proportion of errors (e.g. samples registered against the wrong individual) is greater or less than on the Criminal Records and Police Intelligence files used to “prove” people are safe to work with children or vulnerable adults.
I very much doubt the added value of CRB checks is worth the cost of deterring much needed volunteers, let alone the harm done to those wrongly accused or inavbility to use the reformed criminals to whom some of the most vulnerable may well relate rather better than a young ‘ology graduate.
I personally feel that CRB and DNA checking merit a study by the National Audit Office into overall value for money and balance of benefit – perhaps building on the work of the Audit Commission on data quality.
Meanwhile do take a look at the work of the Information Society Alliance – EURIM on Information Governance. This is gathering pace with a draft report on Security by Design (as opposed to by afterthought) nearly ready for final peer review and exercises on Information Quality and Identity Governance now due to start in the New Year.