I've been having an entertaining debate -> argument -> flamewar with Laurence Boyce on LDV on the notion of a national universal DNA database. Finally had a comment "moderated" (I think they mean "deleted") when I told Larry to "STFI noob" and er, something a bit more complicated to explain but was about as offensive.
Anyway, this thread is partly so Laurence can come here and comment in an environment which won't be "moderated" (promise), and partly so I can outline my concerns on the notion of a national universal DNA database (I'll refer to this as a "NUDNAD" from now on, because it sounds childish and rude):
My first objection is that the idea that any large bureaucracy can build, maintain and run a system as vast as a NUDNAD without data compromise would frankly be hilarious if it weren't so terrifying.
My second is that any government with access to a NUDNAD would be sorely tempted to scope creep it into The War Against Terror, the "war" on drugs, or just to sell the data in it to interested 3rd parties. The consequences of this could be devastating.
That's without even getting to the argument about whether it would be liberal or not to do it.
To be fair, there are a few possible benefits: it would become a lot easier to figure out all of the people who had been at the scene of a crime. That could be handy if the crime scene was visited by relatively few people, and if the identity of any of the people was in question.
However, the idea that a NUDNAD would facilitate personalized treatments on the NHS is a joke - sure, having your DNA sequenced might help, but there's no need to then put your DNA sequence onto a NUDNAD - the GP's computer system would be fine.
Anyway, what do you think?