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GSP Home > Vol.2, No.1, 2006 > To Clear or to convict? The Role of Genomics in Criminal Justice

To Clear or to Convict? The Role of Genomics in Criminal Justice

Editorial Essay

Anthony Mark Cutter


Recognising that the advent of new scientific or technological developments is often met with conflicting reactions, this paper explores the various attitudes to police uses of DNA. Using the National DNA Database of England & Wales (NDNAD) as a vehicle for analysis, this paper identifies the need to balance the utility of the database, and others like it, with issues relating to the privacy of those whose data is contained within it.

As the paper explores the impact of the NDNAD, and by association other databases designed for the same purpose, we are faced with complex utopian visions of a criminal justice service armed with an all powerful database for the benefit of society, contrasted with the dystopian vision of a criminal justice service, armed with the identical, all powerful database intent on mischief to our detriment.

In conclusion, the paper observes that governance of such databases is difficult in the face of conflicting and competing interests, and suggests a theoretical framework that would seek to create a database that has the maximum utility, but protects those within it from harm.

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