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The future of forensic bioinformation

By Carole McCartney, Robin Williams and Tim Wilson


The collection and use of bioinformation is an important feature of contemporary efforts to ensure public safety and maintain (inter)national security. The National DNA Database(NDNAD) is widely acknowledged to be a world-leading innovation in the forensic application of genetic technology and information management. The IDENT1 platform, hosting the national fingerprint and palm print databases, also continues to grow in size and technical capability. The collection, retention and use of biological materials, usually without the consent of those from whom they were taken or retrieved, raise a range of policy questions. These include the scope of powers necessary for the effective and ethical collection and use of such materials, and how a balance may be achieved between the exercise of these powers by the police and the rights of individuals. The relevance of much domestic discussion has been overtaken by the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in ā€˜Sā€™ & Marper vs UK, of December 2008, which made a decisive contribution to normative debates about the use and governance of forensic bioinformation and placed the Government under a legal obligation to reform the laws governing the retention of forensic bioinformation

Topics: F100, F400
Publisher: Nuffield Foundation
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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