Monday, April 02, 2007

SPAM: Want 4m V4LID dna pr0f1l3s?

WTF is going on with the DNA database? Five men suspended from the Government's Forensic Science Service (FSS), but it's unclear as to whether this was because they'd been copying the DNA data, or the database software (perhaps the schema, and data management stuff, one would hazard a guess - anything in CVS) used to access it. Or both.

So Liberty are, naturally, raising concerns over the privacy of DNA data, but it seems in this case that they're maybe jumping on the wagon. The key point in the article would seem to be:
"...the FSS began developing a website in 2005 called targeting international law enforcement and private markets."
And the charges are related to industrial espionage. It appears this is about competitive advantage rather than privacy of personal data.

But this in itself highlights a hugely important set of issues. Are UK citizen's DNA profiles - captured voluntarily or involuntarily, but stored indefinitely - to be sold off like lists of e-mails? "the plans were secret", we're told. Why? Competitive purposes? Do these industrial machinations explain why it's so difficult to get data removed from the database? Is the FSS being run by spammers? But then, at least spammers pretend to let you remove your address...

This bears more thought, but for now I leave you with the last few paragraphs of the article, which maybe shed more light than the rest of it put together:

Mr Akhtar went on: "The FSS said if we have registered the domain names using the iforensic word then we must be going to do the same business as them and thus must have taken the database system."

He added the FSS was making IT redundancies and 'we plan to set up a company to offer the services the FSS will be looking to outsource."

The FSS said it could not comment because of the investigation. The Home Office insisted there was no question information held on the database had been 'compromised'.