All citizens of Britain and every visitor to the country should be included on the national DNA database, a senior British judge said Wednesday.
Lord Justice Stephen Sedley said the current database of 4 million is insufficient, and that ethnic minorities are disproportionately included.
"We have a situation where if you happen to have been in the hands of the police, then your DNA is on permanent record. If you haven't, it isn't. ... That's broadly the picture," Sedley said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp.
"It also means that a great many people who are walking the streets, and whose DNA would show them guilty of crimes, go free."
Britain's database is the world's largest, containing 5.2 percent of the nation's people. The United States, by contrast, has 0.5 percent of the population on its DNA database, according to the Home Office.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil liberties group Liberty, said the debate about expanding the database "reveals just how casual some people have become about the value of personal privacy."
"A database of those convicted of sexual and violent crime is a perfectly sensible crime-fighting measure," Chakrabarti said. "A database of every man, woman and child in the country is a chilling proposal, ripe for indignity, error and abuse."