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European court rules DNA database breaches human rights

Peter Walker guardian.co.uk, Thursday December 4 2008 10.55 GMT

Police forces in much of the UK could be forced to destroy the DNA details of hundreds of thousands of people with no criminal convictions, after a court ruled today that keeping them breaches human rights.

The European court of human rights in Strasbourg said that keeping innocent people's DNA records on a criminal register breached article eight of the Human Rights Convention, covering the right to respect for private and family life.

Keeping DNA material from those who were "entitled to the presumption of innocence" as they had never been convicted of an offence carried "the risk of stigmatisation", the ruling said.

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