So the EU has ruled that storing someone’s DNA is a breach of their human rights, claiming it impinges on the right to a private life.
Reading about this from various sources, it seems the only reason this DNA registry has been deemed unlawful is that it’s an ‘invasion of privacy’. Call me dim, but I cannot for the life of me fathom how on earth my privacy is breached by the string of letters detailing the sequence of my genetic code being stored on a disk somewhere.
DNA is nothing more than a fact about a person. It’s the same as your height or weight, except that humans don’t come off the factory floor with the sensory equipment necessary to quantify it.
Consider this scenario: imagine that humans are colourblind – is it now an invasion of your privacy to write down what wavelength of light your iris reflects? Of course not, it’s just a fact about your physiology. It’s not a secret, it’s not something that will ever harm you if it’s known by someone other than you. In fact, your driver’s license (and therefore a government server somewhere) already contains data about the colour of your eyes – is that an invasion of your privacy?
Seriously, what’s the fear here? Are we afraid that our children will hack into the DNA database and use the information to ostracize classmates? “Don’t talk to Tommy – he’s so AGACCATA!”
I can only think of the hours and hours of costly police work that could be saved by giving our law enforcement agencies access to as much information as possible. To me, as a law abiding citizen, having my DNA on record doesn’t negatively affect me one bit. I’m no worse off than if it were not on record – it doesn’t hurt me, doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t impact on my day to day life. On the other hand, if DNA records are not being kept, who knows how many crimes will take that much longer to solve or go unsolved?
Pros: find villains. Cons: none (other than the intangible, undefendable and misleading ‘invasion of privacy’). Case closed? Apparently so, but the ruling is ass-backwards.
Seriously, I’ve devoted a lot of thought to this matter, well prior to this ruling, and I cannot fathom how any law-abiding citizen could possibly not support a DNA registry. As a humanist, I say that one of the features of a desirable society is one in which authorities can protect me from those who don’t want to abide by the shared values we as a society have agreed upon – and if having a DNA registry helps them, then it helps me.
Considering to have my DNA stored voluntarily by the Australian police as a media stunt,