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DNA Dataveillance: Protecting the innocent?

Gillam, L and Vartapetiance Salmasi, A (2010) DNA Dataveillance: Protecting the innocent? Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 8 (3). pp. 270-288.

DNA Dataveillance-Protecting the - Accepted version Manuscript
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This paper discusses the National DNA Database (NDNAD) and some of the controversies surrounding it with reference to legal and ethical issues, focusing particularly on privacy and human rights. Governance of this database involves specific exemptions from the Data Protection Act (DPA), and this gives a rise to concerns regarding both the extent of surveillance on the UK population, and the possibility for harm to all citizens. This is of wider importance since every current citizen, and everybody who visits the UK, could become a record in the DNA database. Principally, we explore whether these exemptions would also imply exemptions for software developers from codes of practice and ethics of their professional societies as relate to constructing or maintaining such data and the database.


We make a comparison between the principles of the DPA, as would need to be followed by all other organizations handling personal data, professional responsibilities based codes of ethics of professional societies, and the current reality as reported in relation to the NDNAD and the exemptions offered through the DPA.


Primarily, if NDNAD were not exempted from certain provisions in the DPA, the potential for the kinds of data leakages and other mishandlings could largely be avoided without the need for further considerations over so-called “data minimization”. We see how the lack of afforded protection allows for a wide range of issues as relate at least to privacy.


This paper provides the first evaluation of the combination of law, codes of ethics and activities in the real world as related to NDNAD, with concomitant considerations for privacy, liberty and human rights. Originality is demonstrated through consideration of the implications of certain exemptions in the DPA in relation to crime and taxation and national security, and in relating the expected protections for personal data to widely reported evidence that such protections may be variously lacking. In addition, we provide a broad overview of controversies over certain newer kinds of DNA analysis, and other relatively recent findings, that seem generally absent from the vast majority of debates over this kind of analysis.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Computing
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Computing Science
Authors :
Gillam, L
Vartapetiance Salmasi, A
Date : 1 October 2010
DOI : 10.1108/14779961011071079
Copyright Disclaimer : This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : DNA, Data Protection, Computing, Professionalism, Code of Ethics
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 06 Mar 2017 14:29
Last Modified : 06 Oct 2017 08:36

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