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Indefinite retention of DNA, fingerprints and photograph of man convicted of drink driving breached his privacy rights

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An important decision was issued recently by the European Court of Human Rights regarding the indefinite retention of personal data (DNA profile, fingerprints and photograph) of a man who had a spent conviction for driving with excess alcohol in Northern Ireland. In the case Gaughran v. the United Kingdom (application no. 45245/15) the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court underlined that it was not the duration of the retention of data that had been decisive, but the absence of certain safeguards. In the applicant’s case his personal data had been retained indefinitely without consideration of the seriousness of his offence, the need for indefinite retention and without any real possibility of review. Noting that the technology being used had been shown to be more sophisticated than that considered by the domestic courts in this case, particularly rega…