Britain ordered to destroy its database of innocents' DNA

The deplorable British policing practice of storing the DNA of suspects who've been exonerated or never even charged has been found to be illegal by a European court, and now the database must be destroyed. Remember the kid who was going home on the tube in 2005 and was mistaken for a subway bomber, taken into custody, apartment raided, all data on his computers copied, and his DNA stored forever — even though the police admitted it was all a misunderstanding? Well at last his DNA should be removed from the database.

The court said there was a particular risk that innocent people would be stigmatised because they were being treated in the same way as convicted criminals. The judges added that the fact DNA profiles could be used to identify family relationships between individuals, meant its indefinite retention also amounted to an interference with their right to respect for their private lives under the human rights convention.

The case provoked an expression of disappointment from the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, and the promise that a working party, including senior police officials, will report back to Strasbourg by next March on how the government will comply with the judgement.

"The government mounted a robust defence before the court and I strongly believe DNA and fingerprints play an invaluable role in fighting crime and bringing people to justice. The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement."

Christ that Jacqui Smith is a piece of work. Remember, come the next election: a vote for Labour is a vote for the party that thinks 1984 is a manual for statecraft.

17 judges, one ruling – and 857,000 records must be now wiped clear

(Thanks, beep1o!)