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Canada AG proposes changes to fingerprinting practices
Canada AG proposes changes to fingerprinting practices

[JURIST] Canadian Attorney General Rob Nicholson [official website] introduced legislation Friday into the Canadian House of Commons [Parliament website] to amend the Identification of Criminals Act [statute text]. If the proposed amendment passes, it would provide for the fingerprinting [press release] of those arrested but not yet charged as well as other changes in response to the evolving needs of the Canadian criminal justice system. Nicholson hopes:

This bill will increase the effectiveness of the justice system in a number of ways, including giving peace and public officers greater access to warrants relating to search and seizure, and helping address the issue of those who evade justice by travelling to other jurisdictions.

The Canadian government saud it is continually working with its provinces to respond to the needs of the justice system, including issues surrounding flight offense, telewarrants, expert witness evidence, the use of agents, prize fighting, and the pari-mutuel betting system. Opponents are concerned that this specific amendment to the act will be misused[Globe and Mail report].

In March, the European Court of Human Rights [official website] unanimously ruled [judgment text; JURIST report] that the British practice of keeping the fingerprints and DNA profiles of people arrested but not convicted of crimes was against privacy rights and should not continue. Earlier this month, the UK Home Office [official website] released new proposals [press release] to amend [JURIST report] its controversial DNA and fingerprint database [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that would remove the information of innocent people in response to the court ruling.