- The UK to start collecting DNA of newborns.
- The UK has the largest national DNA database in the world.
- A US judge granted a warrant to search a DNA database of over 1 million people.
Britain’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock announced the government’s desire to start collecting DNA of every newborn child. Hence, the privacy of UK citizens will no longer exist. Your DNA is a treasure trove of personal information, including your physical characteristics like eye color, paternity and health. The UK has been a pioneer in privacy intrusion. It is one thing to use DNA to solve heinous crimes and protect society, yet another to use it for the government’s gain and control.
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Like a recipe book it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies. The human genome is made of 3.2 billion bases of DNA.
DNA first made its way into the British courts in 1986, when police in England asked molecular biologist Sir Alec John Jeffreys, who had begun investigating the use of DNA for forensics, to use DNA for the verification of the confession in a double homicide and rape case. Sir Jeffreys is a British geneticist who developed techniques for genetic fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used worldwide in forensic science to assist police detective work and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes.
Since the UK has a universal healthcare model, DNA information about the newborns can be used to force or deny certain treatments. The parents will have zero rights to privacy. The children growing up will always have their information in the government database and their records could be hacked and it could lead to a myriad of threats from financial well being to denial of certain jobs.
Russia is going to start testing the DNA of their military recruits and intelligence officers to deny certain type of careers based on their genetic capabilities.
Besides China and Russia, the UK has been one of the most draconian nations denying privacy to its citizens among western societies. The UK became one of the worst surveillance states when it passed the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016. The law justifies global surveillance program, which intercepts all communications data from around the world, but also allows unlimited domestic powers, including a government database that stores the web history of every citizen in the country. MI5 (the domestic security service of the United Kingdom) is empowered to hack individuals, and internet infrastructure, if necessary.
The UK has the world’s largest national DNA database (NDNAD). Every profile in the UK National DNA Database is derived from a sample of human material, such as saliva or hair, collected from a crime scene. When NDNAD was created in 1995, it only held records from convicted criminals or people awaiting trial.
Over the years, the laws concerning the taking, use and storing of DNA in the UK have changed. The database rapidly expanded to include increasing numbers of innocent people and children.
In the US, a Florida judge recently allowed a warrant to be used to penetrate GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users by a police detective. GEDmatch is an open data personal genomics database and genealogy website based in Lake Worth, Florida.