Why we should all fight against a nationwide DNA database

David Aaronovitch wrote in the Times today that we should not fear a nationwide DNA database and that we should “Ignore the paranoid fantasists“. I cannot concur, and commented thus:

A nationwide DNA database is great way to identify and discriminate against ethnic groups, should any future despotic British government wish to do so. Of course, considering our superb history of arms sales to dictators and nut-jobs, this technology would be great for them too. I can think of a few states around the world where such a technology could be very welcomed, and allow much more effective and targeted genocide.

Hitler would have certainly put this to “good use”, should he have had access to it. Do not forget that much of today’s genetic technology stems from the ground work Nazi scientists started 60 years ago.

Such technology is the absolute power John Acton spoke about when he said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men”. William Pitt also noted, “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it”.

Do not doubt it; A government that controls a nationwide DNA database has absolute power over its citizens.

I have no problem with a DNA database that stores criminals DNA to help solve crimes both past and future. Yet all recordable crime suspects have their DNA taken and added to the existing database, whether proved guilty or not. That already quite adequately demonstrates the deep desire our authorities have for a national database of all citizens, and not just criminals. We, as a nation, are fast approaching that fine line between having enough rope, and hanging ourselves.

To add a twist to a common phrase, I shall note the following for posterity, “That which is given, cannot be taken away”. You can quote me on it.

Problems with Skype and the Cisco VPN Client

I have a variety of problems with Skype call quality, and calls being dropped, whilst connected to a Cisco VPN Concentrator using the Cisco VPN Client. I am using version of the client. I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has problems with this, and if you managed to find a solution, I’d love to hear about it.

Ideally, Skype is allowed Local LAN access, and goes out via that interface, whilst other VPN traffic moves normally across the VPN. I understand this might require split tunneling? Other people have told me that they don’t have these call problems, so I am wondering if it is a problem with my machine configuration.

I am using a vanilla Linksys WRT54GS router, connected to a cable modem (with no configuration access). I have setup port forwarding to direct Skype into a desired port, and without VPN, those calls are crystal clear. Are there any other settings on the router that might improve VPN and Skype quality?

Using the Cisco VPN Client’s “Stateful Firewall” definitely causes problems, but that doesn’t surprise me since Cisco bought in third party code to accomplish this task (Zone Alarm). What implications does switching this off actually have in terms of a security risk?

So, what are the options? What is the best configuration? How can you fix the client without degrading security on the VPN (split tunneling is not recommended)? I welcome any comments.


I have upgraded my Cisco VPN Client from 4.8 to 5.0.04. Although the problem still happens occasionally, it is much less frequent than it was. I hope this helps others with the same issue.