The arguments are more complex than might at first be imagined. A taste of the issues is available at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2002/1275.html. Amongst the rather chilling judicial views of the Lord Chief Justice sitting with LJJ Waller and Sedley is:
There is nothing in the Convention setting a ceiling on the level of respect, which a jurisdiction is entitled to extend to personal rights. In this jurisdiction I would not expect a court to necessarily follow the decision of the Commission in Reyntjens v Belgium (1992) 73 DR 136 that:Sedley added
“….. The obligation to carry an identity card and to show it to the police when requested to do so does not as such constitute an interference in a person’s private life within the meaning of Article 8 of the Convention”. (Paragraph 23.)
I would certainly not assume that a comprehensive national DNA database or samples bank, if one were to be lawfully compiled, would constitute an unacceptable invasion of privacy. It would be for Parliament to decide whether the intrusion and surveillance involved in assembling and maintaining such a resource is an acceptable price to pay for its advantages. Certainly the information available to this court suggests that, subject to these considerations, a universal DNA register would be a real and worthwhile gain in the endeavour to ensure that the guilty, and only the guilty, are convicted of crimes. In other words, whether it is the unconvicted population as a whole whose bodily samples are kept or only that section of it which has faced charges, the justification is the same.If the judgement goes against the appellants, as I fear it may, it opens the door for the government to require us not only to carry ID cards with our fingerprints and photograph but our DNA profile recorded on them.
A combination of this loathsome and morally bankrupt government with an amoral and corrupt civil service committed to expanding and cementing the power of the State could well bring this to pass. As the global crisis deepens, even the previously unthinkable becomes possible.
The Police have faced a minor check this week over the Damian Green fiasco, and more of our nation are now convinced beyond doubt that the Police, the civil service and the whole apparatus of the central State are in urgent need of reform, but a critical mass has not yet been achieved.
But let's wait and see what today brings.