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The Criminal Justice Act 2003 further widens the circumstances in which a non-intimate sample may be taken from an individual. The Act merely requires that in order to take a non-intimate sample without consent, a person is arrested for a recordable offence - a significant advancement on the requirement that the individual was charged with a recordable offence and one that will encompass countless more individuals.

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The UK currently maintains the largest DNA Database in the world and is encouraging other governments to implement similar systems in their respective countries. Using international organisations such as Interpol, participant governments will be able to share and exchange the DNA profiles of their citizens subject to vague legislative provisions, such as 'the interests of crime detection and prevention'.

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A campaign to eliminate the DNA profiles of 24,000 innocent juveniles from the database has been instigated by a Conservative Member of Parliament after a lengthy battle to remove the record of a concerned constituent’s son who was arrested as a result of misidentification. The National DNA Database currently holds the records of 750,000 juveniles – some of whom have been convicted of offences but many of whom were only charged, cautioned, questioned or were mere witnesses to incidents.

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The most significant amendment of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (hereafter 'CJPA') is the amendment to the circumstances in which samples may be retained. The Act allows for retention of samples even where charges are dropped or the individual is cleared of the offence. It also allows for such samples to be used for (future) purposes related to the detection and prevention of crime, both in the UK and abroad.

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The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was the first serious expansion of the powers to take samples, particularly non-intimate samples – which included mouth swabs and saliva in addition to hair samples: both of which provide DNA information. Such samples could be taken without the consent of the individual if he is charged with a recordable[1] offence, a significant advance on the earlier requirement that the individual is charged with a 'serious arrestable offence'.

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Although DNA matching was first used to catch an offender in 1987, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is instrumental in defining police treatment of suspects in the early stages of an investigation. Despite the fact that the Act has been amended on numerous occasions since its inception, analysis of the original legislation provides the starting point to map out the development and expansion of the circumstances in which samples containing DNA can be taken from individuals.

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The European Parliament voted today to adopt a new directive allowing for the retention of data "generated by telephony, SMS and internet, but not the content of the information communicated". This data includes email addresses and location data from cell phones. The directive is highly controversial due to the impact it will have on the privacy of European Union citizens.

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Privacy International has joined forces with dozens of other human rights and civil liberties organizations around the world to ask the European Parliament to reject a Directive that would seriously compromise personal freedom in the EU. Below is the text of the letter to Members of the European Parliament, and the pdf is also available.

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In response to the London bombings in July 2005, the Justice and Home Affairs Council and the UK's Presidency of the EU are proposing a number of additional measures including a border registration programme that will mimic US-VISIT, and access to databases on immigrants that will mimic the failed MATRIX programme. The measures are discussed in 'next steps' for the EU (available on the Statewatch website).

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The below letter was addresses to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Viviane Reding (Commissioner for Information Society and Media) and Franco Frattini (Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security).

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In a tipping of the hat to the Americans, the UK is set to establish the largest border surveillance programme to date.  The new programme will involve the collection of biometrics on visitors to the UK, the generation of vast information stores on all Britons and visitors, and a profiling system to identify those worthy of further scrutiny.

This programme does not merely apply to combatting terrorism however; it is for use for general policing matters.

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The French government is considering the implementation of a new project, Project INES (Identite National Electronique Securisee), which will involve a system very similar to the one proposed in the UK. The French are even using similar statements, such as 'international obligations', 'terrorism', and concern regarding 'identity theft'. The Forum for Civil Liberties on the Internet ("Le Forum des droits sur l'internet) was asked by then Minister of the Interior Dominique de Villepin to conduct a consultation round on the issue. On June 16 the Forum submitted its final report.

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In an effort to reconcile its policy laundering tendencies with the lack of a national law on retention, the Government has succeeded in quietly implementing data retention into its Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) bill (now an Act).

This Bill itself was first introduced in December 2002, and made slow progress. It was introduced to the Seanad in February 2005, and in Committee stage, retention was introduced. The bill was passed shortly aftewards.

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The Government Accounting Office of the US government reports that creating a new system to keep track of the locations of aliens or visitors to the US is of 'questionable' value. This report, required by the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002, reflects the challenges faced by INS when they were asked to identify the location of over 4000 individuals in the days after 11th September 2001.

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In a move that mimics the U.S. fingerprinting policy under the VISIT programme, the European Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation that would create a central database for all visa applicants fingerprints and photos. Regulation available on the Europa website.

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We the undersigned are calling on you to reject the 'Draft Council Regulation on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States'. This is an unnecessary and rushed policy that will have hazardous effects on Europeans' right to privacy. This policy process requires additional oversight, and the eventual systems established will require significant controls and a strong legal framework to ensure that this is a proportionate response to the war on terrorism.

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The London-based human rights watchdog Privacy International today attacked Justice Minister Donner's campaign on 'Wet op de uitgebreide identificatieplicht' as an "underhanded" attempt to convince innocent citizens to forego their legal rights.

Last year the organisation advised that the identity legislation would violate both the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child.

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For the attention of Members and staff of the European Parliament,

I am writing to you on behalf of Privacy International, a London-based human rights group, to call on you to stop the implementation of biometric travel documents.

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center has obtained documents showing that the U.S. Census Bureau provided the Department of Homeland Security statistical data on people who identified themselves on the 2000 census as being of Arab ancestry. All relevant information is on the EPIC website.

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The government has introduced draft legislation for a national identity card. The card system will cost at least £3 billion and is likely to become an essential part of life for everyone residing in the UK.

If the draft legislation is accepted by Parliament, everyone will be required to register for a card. Biometric scans of the face, fingers and eye will be taken. Personal details will be stored in a central database. A unique number will be issued that will become the basis for the matching of computer systems.

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The Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia made a call for submissions on whether the USA PATRIOT Act could allow the U.S. authorities to gain access to Canadians' personal information, enabled through the outsourcing of Canadian public services to the United States. The Commission also called for comments on the implications for compliance with Canadian provincial privacy laws, and to see if anything could be done to eliminate or mitigate the risks.

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The global watchdog Privacy International has today simultaneously filed complaints against Google's controversial Gmail service with privacy regulators in sixteen countries.

The move creates Google's biggest challenge yet in the short but turbulent public debate over its new email service.

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The London-based human rights organisation Privacy International today urged Japanese citizens to boycott their new national identity numbering system. The organisation has called on the Japanese government to acknowledge the dangers created by the system, and to immediately dismantle the project.

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The global human rights watchdog Privacy International (PI) has warned that tens of thousands of UK school children are being finger printed by schools, often without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

The electronic finger printing is being conducted as part of a cost cutting "automation" of school libraries. Privacy International has condemned the procedure, branding it "dangerous, illegal and unnecessary", and has called for a prohibition of the technology in schools.

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On July 3rd 2002, the UK Government published a consultation paper on a national identity card. Privacy International has investigated such proposals across the world for more than a decade. Here, we answer all the questions the government has failed to answer.

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1. What is CCTV?

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) is a visual surveillance technology designed for monitoring a variety of environments and activities. CCTV systems typically involve a fixed (or "dedicated") communications link between cameras and monitors.

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During World War II, a national ID card was established to facilitate identification of aliens. Persons were required to carry the card at all times and show it on demand to police and members of the armed forces. In 1951, Acting Lord Chief Justice, Lord Goddard ruled that police demanding that individuals show their ID cards was unlawful because it was not relevant to the purposes for which the card was adopted. This ruling led the the repealing of the National Registration Act and the end of the national ID card in the UK in 1952.

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In recent years, the use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in the UK has grown to unprecedented levels. Between £150 and £300 million per year is now spent on a system that involves an estimated 200,000 cameras. According to the British Security Industry Association, more than three quarters of these systems have been professionally installed. Most towns and cities are moving to CCTV surveillance of public areas, housing estates, car parks and public facilities. Growth in the market is estimated at 15% to 20% annually.

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The French Socialist Party suffered a resounding defeat in parlimentary elections on March 21st and 28th, in part due to a wiretapping scandal that broke a week before the elections. Results showed that they lost over 200 seats in the Parliment and became the minority party. Socialist President Francois Mitterrand will remain in office but is expected to face a tough election in 1994.

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