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National DNA database

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Lord Muck oGentry
Posts: 634
Joined: September 1st, 2007, 3:48 pm

Re: National DNA database

#21 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » February 27th, 2008, 12:07 am

Latest post of the previous page:

FloatingBoater wrote: Could anyone say with conviction that without the combined effort against this allegedly ficticious ‘war on terror’ (however stupidly named) how many, many more mass murders would have succeeded.

FB,

Two points here.

First: I for one do not accept that preventing or detecting serious crime is- or even begins to be- an excuse for a universal DNA database.

Second: you have just reversed the burden of proof on a matter of fact. It is for you to show that " many, many more mass murders would have succeeded" in the absence of ...well, what, exactly? If the terrorists you seem to have in mind are dangerous, it is not because they can conceal their identity but because they can conceal their intention. There is no such thing as terrorist DNA.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

FloatingBoater
Posts: 189
Joined: September 16th, 2007, 11:50 am

Re: National DNA database

#22 Post by FloatingBoater » February 27th, 2008, 9:56 am

I apologise for taking the course of this thread off topic.

However, I stand by what I said in my last post and despite how my views may be non-populist, and fail to fall into the worn out group of trendy accusations that the UK and Amereica are the world's bogeymen and the source (for some at least) of all the conflict across the globe.
Humanists are realists. Unfortunately some appear to see only their own leftist version of historical evidence that in their own eyes allows them to stand in gloriously innocent isolation but essentally without a clue of what is really happening in the world.
Bush was disasterously guilty of deliberate deception and manipulation in tying Iraq to direct involvement with the Twin Towers. The action against the Talibs in Afghanistan should have remained the sole obctive of UN intervention.
Ihindsight the British government and nation was mislead without doubt.

There is little in TH's response that impresses me on his knowledge of history, in fact to accuse me of selectivism is risable in that he offers absolutely nothing to the debate except the following ‘interesting’ observation :-
In reply to your demanded answer I say with conviction that “the combined effort against this” actually fictitious ‘war on terror’ has greatly added to mass murder, for example through the immoral and illegal invasion of Iran.


Hmm? ....your right TH, let's leave it there :exit:
Let us accept that the difference between a prophet and a madman is not what they say but whether the crowd accepts the story and tells their children to believe it.

MedMae
Posts: 167
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 9:46 am

Re: National DNA database

#23 Post by MedMae » March 14th, 2008, 10:29 am

and for my second post; :D
WARNING this post may get a little long.

I think a large problem that people have with the DNA database is because of a misconception of what the DNA database will contain. The name implies that it will contain the full genetic sequnce of every person in the country. However the Human genome is over 3 billion base pairs, current DNA sequnces can only sequence DNA up to 750 base pairs in length. That means that over 4 million of these segments must be sequenced per person AND this must be done twice in order to get overlapping segments of DNA to build the whole sequence. Assuming that each 750 base pair fragment takes only 5 seconds to do (It actually takes much longer), it's over 78 years of sequencing time per person. Granted multiple sequences can be done at once but it's just not going to happen, it costs too much and takes too long. (This is using the american billion not the european billion)
What the database would most likely contain is a map of what size fragments are produced from your DNA when run through a PCR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymerase_chain_reaction) experiment with a specific set of primers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_%28 ... biology%29). This can be done quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
This data cannot be enought to convict someone of a crime because the pattern of fragments will not be unique, it will be shared with other people at the very least with people closely related to you. The data can be used to prove innocence though, if the patterns do not match you don't have the right person. (If you have any more questions on any of this feel free to ask and I will answer as best I can.)

As to whether I am for or against it, I am undecided. I am not convinced it will be of any real benefit. If I can be convinced it is of benefit then I support it.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

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grammar king
Posts: 869
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 2:42 am

Re: National DNA database

#24 Post by grammar king » March 14th, 2008, 3:50 pm

I think we're already totally unprotected from the government. We have no constitution, power is already very firmly in the hands of the executive (when it should be in Parliament), and quite frankly the whole system is totally open to abuse. The only thing that's prevented it happening to a greater degree so far is the good will of those in power, and we can't be sure that will continue into the future.

Our liberties are already being eroded and all this about ID cards and a DNA database will erode them further, and provide new tools for any future abusive government.

Besides which, it's obvious that the information they have about us now isn't safe, so why should be giving them any more?

What angers me most is that, as usual, students will be the guinea pigs. It's been suggested that ID cards become mandatory for anyone applying for a student loan.

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: National DNA database

#25 Post by Alan H » March 14th, 2008, 5:11 pm

grammar king wrote:students will be the guinea pigs.
Are they useful for anything else? :D (Don't tell my kids I said that!)

Seriously though, students are an easy target; a captive audience who will have no choice. Airport workers was also an inspired choice: who would want to stand up and say they shouldn't get ID cards? They would immediately be branded a terrorist sympathiser!

Talking of captive audiences and branding, why not include prisoners in the first wave for ID cards? In fact, to save costs, why not just tattoo a barcode to their foreheads?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: National DNA database

#26 Post by Alan H » June 7th, 2008, 8:23 pm

In today's Times:
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Unconvicted pair ‘should be treated like anyone else’ - Times Online
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 083854.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Unconvicted pair ‘should be treated like anyone else’
Sean O’Neill

The future of the world’s most sophisticated DNA database is being considered by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, which draws its members from the nations of the Council of Europe.

The 17-judge panel trying the DNA case includes some with limited or no experience of DNA technology.

The complainants, Michael Marper, 45, and a 19-year-old man from Sheffield referred to only as S, are relying on article 8 (right to private life) and article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the convention.

The teenager had his DNA taken when he was arrested in 2001 and charged with attempted robbery. He was acquitted. Mr Marper, 45, was charged with harassing his partner but the case was later dropped. They argue “that as people without convictions who are no longer suspected criminals, they should be treated in the same way as the rest of the unconvicted population of the UK”.

[Captured: 07 June 2008 20:22:21]

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Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Occam
Posts: 152
Joined: April 6th, 2008, 6:37 pm

Re: National DNA database

#27 Post by Occam » June 7th, 2008, 11:31 pm

First, I see a DNA data base as being quite ineffective insofar as terrorists go. As long as they accomplish their ends, they don't seem particularly disturbed about being identified and convicted.

Personal privacy has been a major part of citizens' rights and liberties. A DNA database is a serious attack against this privacy. Since the DNA system wouldn't address the kinds of malfeasance, bribary, and lying type of crime that occurs with politicians and the police, I suggest that we have an equivalent system that balances loss of privacy between the average person and the government personnel. We now have huge computer memory capacities so we could require that all government personnel and lobbyists wear a monitor that records every conversation they have, every place they have gone, and every relationship they have with anyone 24 hours a day while in office. Additionally, every bit of financial data, income or spending, should be recorded, all for complete and easy public access.

While this may seem extreme and draconian, I believe that some increase in the openness of all government and government connected personnel should occur if we citizens are being required to give up our privacy.

Occam

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: National DNA database

#28 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » June 8th, 2008, 1:33 am

Occam wrote:First, I see a DNA data base as being quite ineffective insofar as terrorists go. As long as they accomplish their ends, they don't seem particularly disturbed about being identified and convicted.

Personal privacy has been a major part of citizens' rights and liberties. A DNA database is a serious attack against this privacy. Since the DNA system wouldn't address the kinds of malfeasance, bribary, and lying type of crime that occurs with politicians and the police, I suggest that we have an equivalent system that balances loss of privacy between the average person and the government personnel. We now have huge computer memory capacities so we could require that all government personnel and lobbyists wear a monitor that records every conversation they have, every place they have gone, and every relationship they have with anyone 24 hours a day while in office. Additionally, every bit of financial data, income or spending, should be recorded, all for complete and easy public access.

While this may seem extreme and draconian, I believe that some increase in the openness of all government and government connected personnel should occur if we citizens are being required to give up our privacy.

Occam

Good point, Occam. I don't know whether you have seen this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/3 ... uthjustice
For civil rights groups, which have complained about Operation Leopard, this is precisely the problem. Some activists have launched a counterattack, subjecting FIT officers to surveillance. Turning their own cameras on FIT, activists have started posting officers' names, faces and badge numbers online.

Adversarial

Back at the station, the officers logged on to one of the websites, Fitwatch, and vented their frustration at "revenge attacks". One said being filmed felt "unnerving".
You may well think, as I do: " Insolence rewarded" or, in the words of my ancient aunt, " Hell slap it into them!"
But I rather like what I take to be your suggestion: let us subject not the police but their masters to precisely this impertinence, with exactly as much justification as they offer.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: National DNA database

#29 Post by Alan H » June 9th, 2008, 12:19 pm

In today's Scotsman:
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MPs warn ID cards could be used to spy on the public - The Scotsman
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/latestn ... id=4163977
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MPs warn ID cards could be used to spy on the public

Published Date: 09 June 2008
By Michael Howie
Home Affairs Correspondent
THE UK government's controversial national identity card scheme could be used to mount surveillance operations on members of the public, a powerful committee of MPs has warned.
The home affairs select committee has voiced fears that the way the authorities use sensitive data gathered in the multi-billion-pound programme could "creep" to include spying.

The all-party committee also urged ministers to make plans on how to deal with the theft of personal details from the National Identity Scheme, which will build a massive database on every person aged over 16 in Britain.

The committee demanded that no expansion in the use of the data gathered for the ID scheme take place without MPs' approval.

"We are concerned... about the potential for 'function creep' in terms of the surveillance potential of the National Identity Scheme," the report said.

"Any ambiguity about the objectives of the scheme puts in jeopardy the public's trust in the scheme itself and in the government's ability to run it."

Under the scheme, everyone over the age of 16 who applies for a passport will have their personal details, including fingerprints and facial scans, added to a national identity register from 2011-12.

If Labour wins the next election, it will introduce legislation making it compulsory for every adult in the UK to have an identity card.

But public support for ID cards has been hit by last year's loss of 25 million personal details by HM Revenue and Customs.

Following that and other data loss scandals, the committee called on government to minimise the amount of information it collects on citizens.

"It should collect only what is essential, to be stored only for as long as is necessary," the report said.

Keith Vaz, the committee chairman, said there could be "potentially disastrous consequences" if data was mishandled.

Therefore, he said, the government should draw up a "broad outline of contingency plans" to deal with potential security breaches.

Responding to concerns that the government was jeopardising people's privacy, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said many people welcomed the use of devices such as CCTV cameras.

"I know that when, as it was then, the Labour-controlled council in my constituency funded CCTV cameras in the town centre to help to protect people when they wanted to go out and have a night out without being blighted by anti-social behaviour, people supported it.

"So I know, for example, with the DNA database that tens of thousands of crimes have been solved because of the use of the DNA database."

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, said the report's warning about the dangers of databases falling into the wrong hands was a sufficient reason to scrap the plans.

"The Scottish Government should also look at their entitlements cards (for people using council services] as it potentially faces the same sort of problem," he said.

WHAT NEXT

THE government has set out a timetable for the introduction of identity cards.

Here are the key dates:

2008 – Some non-EU nationals will have to get them.

2009 – Compulsory for 200,000 UK citizens and EU nationals who work in 'sensitive' airport jobs.

2010 – Voluntary scheme for students.

2011-12 – Biometric passports issued, applicants can choose to get ID card.

2017 – Full roll-out of identity cards.

[Captured: 09 June 2008 12:18:45]

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Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: National DNA database

#30 Post by Alan H » October 5th, 2008, 1:18 pm

In today's Sunday Times:
********************************************************************************
Government will spy on every call and e-mail - Times Online
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 882600.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Government will spy on every call and e-mail
David Leppard

Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain.

GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project.

Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country’s biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone. BT has nearly 5m internet customers.

Ministers are braced for a backlash similar to the one caused by their ID cards programme. Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “Any suggestion of the government using existing powers to intercept communications data without public discussion is going to sound extremely sinister.”
Related Links

* There’s no hiding place as spy HQ plans to see all

* First ID cards are to be issued within weeks

MI5 currently conducts limited e-mail and website intercepts which are approved under specific warrants by the home secretary.

Further details of the new plan will be unveiled next month in the Queen’s speech.

The Home Office stressed no formal decision had been taken but sources said officials had made clear that ministers had agreed “in principle” to the programme.

Officials claim live monitoring is necessary to fight terrorism and crime. However, critics question whether such a vast system can be kept secure. A total of 57 billion text messages were sent in the UK last year - 1,800 every second.

[Retrieved: Sun Oct 05 2008 13:15:21 GMT+0100 (GMT Daylight Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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SkiCarver
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Joined: September 19th, 2008, 5:51 am

Re: National DNA database

#31 Post by SkiCarver » October 5th, 2008, 2:52 pm

The government has no right to any information on us, other than that required for administration and tax collection, UNLESS there is good reason to suspect the individual of a crime.

Having a DNA database of everyone, is to transform citizens into suspects. we are all simply suspects in every crime committed in the UK.

Perhaps to reduce crime, we should all be made to carry recorders, detailing our location and actions, 24 hours a day seven days a week. We could also have 'moral hygiene' courses run by the ruling party to ensure our thoughts are idologically pure.

OR, we could have a government which is there to SERVE the people, not simply there to improve their own position.

I know i am not intending to commit any crimes, and if the police or others try to get my DNA, they will have a fight on their hands.
Atheist by choice, dyslexic by the grace of dog.

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Alan C.
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Re: National DNA database

#32 Post by Alan C. » October 5th, 2008, 4:06 pm

Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain.
Given the governments previous efforts at setting up huge very expensive computer systems, I won't be losing any sleep over this :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: National DNA database

#33 Post by Alan H » October 5th, 2008, 4:47 pm

Alan C. wrote:Given the governments previous efforts at setting up huge very expensive computer systems, I won't be losing any sleep over this :smile:
On the other hand, perhaps they deliberately make a few mistakes to make us think they are not capable of monitoring everything...or is that just too conspiratorial?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: National DNA database

#34 Post by Alan H » February 13th, 2009, 10:30 am

Does anyone know of any calculations for the amount of storage needed to record every email, text, phone call, etc? Someone must have worked it out.

See:

£46m taxpayers' bill for companies to store web use details

and

FAQ on the new centralised 'superdatabase' that will keep tabs on texts and Twitter | UK news | The Guardian
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: National DNA database

#35 Post by jaywhat » January 23rd, 2011, 5:13 pm

Here it is!
....and as Dave B said in the 'question another' thread:-
Though I am in favour of global DNA registration it is the misuse, by political, commercial or criminal bodies, that puts me off it - I can see no way of making the system 100% secure or ensuring only correct use, for medical purposes or "filtering" in the case of serious criminal action.


I am unsure of this because of those cases of serious crime solved after the passage of time because the record is held of DNA - maybe of a relative even. Would you not agree that it is not the keeping of the record which is the problem, but the use to which that record may be put?

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Dave B
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Re: National DNA database

#36 Post by Dave B » January 23rd, 2011, 8:54 pm

jaywhat wrote:Here it is!
....and as Dave B said in the 'question another' thread:-
Though I am in favour of global DNA registration it is the misuse, by political, commercial or criminal bodies, that puts me off it - I can see no way of making the system 100% secure or ensuring only correct use, for medical purposes or "filtering" in the case of serious criminal action.


I am unsure of this because of those cases of serious crime solved after the passage of time because the record is held of DNA - maybe of a relative even. Would you not agree that it is not the keeping of the record which is the problem, but the use to which that record may be put?
Er, I thought that is what I said - the potential problems from either official "creep" in the purposes for which the records are used and the leakage to the commercial or criminal worlds - the potential for bribing or blackmailing those who have some degree of access to the records does not bear thinking about. Add to that the chances of a laptop/CD/memory stick getting mislaid or stolen, as has happened too often in the past.

It is a case where the problems outweigh the benefits.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: National DNA database

#37 Post by Nick » January 24th, 2011, 1:07 pm

Dave B wrote:...the potential problems from either official "creep" in the purposes for which the records are used and the leakage to the commercial or criminal worlds - the potential for bribing or blackmailing those who have some degree of access to the records does not bear thinking about. Add to that the chances of a laptop/CD/memory stick getting mislaid or stolen, as has happened too often in the past.

It is a case where the problems outweigh the benefits.
If such a data-base is to be any use, it will have to be available to too many people to be safe. Wikileaks?

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Sel
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Re: National DNA database

#38 Post by Sel » January 25th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Huge databases on citizens have no guarantee of accuracy. Here in Canda we have a rediculous long gun registry. It has cost billions of dollars and is riddled with errors. My husband had 12 guns of his Dad's. Most were antiques and could not be fired. Dutifully he registered them and, when the forms arrived, the data on 5 of the 12 was wrong. It took a half dozen letters to get the mess corrected. Of course, all criminals have registered their long guns and do not have illegal handguns!!!

Can you imagine the mess you would be in if the data entry person initially misspelled your name or mismatched your DNA info?

Security and loss of privacy are two more major concerns that I will not address as they have been well discussed already. Suffice to say they concern me greatly.
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

thundril
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Re: National DNA database

#39 Post by thundril » January 25th, 2011, 4:00 pm

Don't wish to be mischievous, but .. er actually i do, so..
Here in the UK an individual has the right to change their name pretty much on a whim. So we could bring this entire machine to a grinding halt by exercising this right every year or so.?

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Sel
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Re: National DNA database

#40 Post by Sel » January 25th, 2011, 4:14 pm

I love it. Great idea.
My next name will be Angela Kim...beats Elsel Marketa (yup you read it right...my first and middle names) . Call me Elsel and die! :hilarity:
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

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jaywhat
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Re: National DNA database

#41 Post by jaywhat » January 25th, 2011, 4:22 pm

thundril wrote:Don't wish to be mischievous, but .. er actually i do, so..
Here in the UK an individual has the right to change their name pretty much on a whim. So we could bring this entire machine to a grinding halt by exercising this right every year or so.?
I think when changing your name you have to give details of your past names etc etc - also other records wil be held by Somerset House, banks and so on . Not sure about this - but you can change your name, but you cannot hide.

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