We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear …”

News yesterday of the steady expansion of Britain’s national DNA database. From the Guardian:

Civil liberties campaigners last night claimed the government was intent on building a national DNA database “by stealth” as police prepared to enter the two-millionth genetic profile on to the system later today.

The police minister, Hazel Blears, who will load the sample on to the system, claimed last night that since 1995 the national DNA database has transformed the fight against crime, helping to catch not only serious criminals but also more minor offenders such as burglars and car thieves.

The British DNA database was the first and is the biggest in the world with currently more than 1.8 million criminal profiles and around 200,000 DNA samples from unsolved crimes, including blood and semen stains.

. . .

The Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes said this meant those who were never charged or who were subsequently found innocent would be unable to remove their details.

“Now that one in every 30 people features on the police DNA database, the government must come clean on its intentions,” he said. “If ministers want a database of every citizen’s DNA, let them say so instead of trying to create one by deception.”

The civil rights organisation Liberty claimed the government was hell-bent on creating a national DNA database by stealth, and that academics had warned it was not foolproof.

Several test cases are in progress in the US over how unique a DNA match actually is. Even the British founder of DNA fingerprinting, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, has warned that samples involving only a small number of cells could prove misleading, as we are all potentially covered in bits of other people.

But Ms Blears last night defended the growing use of the DNA database. “DNA profiles… play a vital role in the search for truth, establishing innocence as well as proving guilt. Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear and today I will have a sample of my own DNA taken and loaded on to the database.”

Ah yes, law abiding citizens have nothing to fear. But that is assuming that there are only a reasonable number of laws, and that most of us never break them. But what if there are tons of new laws being passed every year, and most of us, including Ms Blears, have no idea what they all consist of, and most of us are breaking some of them every day of our lives? What, in short, if none of us are “law abiding” any more?

1 comment to “Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear …”

  • CPT. Charles

    Some friendly advice:

    A government capable of giving you everything you need is equally capable of taking everything you own.

    A government’s natural urge is to control. If you fail to invest in a stout leash to limit bureaucracy, one day you’ll wake up wearing the leash ‘they’ did invest in.

    Good luck, you’re going to need it.