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Court slams UK police over DNA bank

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Court slams UK police over DNA bank


British police, who have one of the world’s largest DNA banks, have been told they cannot retain the details of people who have been arrested but not convicted. Judges at the European Court of Human Rights said the practice was a violation of people’s rights to a private life after two Britons brought their cases to the court. The landmark decision could force Britain to destroy the samples of nearly one million people on its database, which contains the DNA and fingerprints of nearly 4.5 million people.

The court ruling cannot be appealed, but British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was “disappointed” by the ruling. She said the existing law would “remain in place while they carefully considered the judgement”. Human rights advocates have long said keeping DNA of innocent people is a disproportionate violation of privacy in comparison with the numbers of cases solved. But police have pointed to recent crimes that have been solved that way, including the so-called Ipswich prostitute murders two years ago.
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