Time for a fishing trip

Interesting after part of the EU determined the UK DNA database is a breach of human rights another part of it is authorising warrentless hacking of private computers by the state.

Apparently all it requires is: a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years (emphasis mine)

Which surely opens the floodgates to fishing expiditions searching for anything really, since both copyright infringement and “eXXXtreme pr0n!” will surely carry sentences this long as maximums, and it can be claimed anyone connected to the net may be participating in these activities.

15 thoughts on “Time for a fishing trip

  1. mr_jez

    I think this rather shows the difference between the EU court of human rights and the EU council of ministers, ie. between those who place some value on human dignity and a gang of control freaks.

    Sadly the latter term fits the beautiful souls of our rulers in Westminster rather well, and no doubt we shall see them dragging their heels on the DNA database issue, whilst they lap up their new spy powers.

    Change ends! Next government please!

  2. archangelonline

    For the record, ‘detect’ in the police sense means to determine who is responsible for a crime that’s already been reported. It doesn’t mean to search randomly until you find an offence.

    So there’s not really any fishing involved.

    1. mostlyfoo

      Interesting, well that reduces the peril a little then. Still allowing the state to have a go at peoples machines with impunity is going to end in hilarious consequences when they have a crack at US or Russian machines by accident.

      1. archangelonline

        Interestingly-biased article as well, in that it gives quote after quote to the anti- side (including rentagob Shami Chakrabarti, who deliberately misrepresents the Damian Green incident – that guy had been arrested, and therefore it was fully legal and legitimate to search the guy’s home and workplace… the only issue being that MPs want special treatment due to privacy of their constituents, yet doctors don’t get that same special treatment).

        But then the article only tacks on the ACPO statement at the end (after the article has already implanted its seeds into the minds of the reader – a classic tactic for writing a biased unbiased piece of journalism), before conditionally supporting it with an Opposition MP who has reservations about the whole thing. No quotes from the government?

        The opening line of the article says that the Home Office has ‘quietly’ adopted a new plan. Then why’s it in the national press if it’s quiet? Is this journalist trying to set up a ‘sinister government’ angle?

        This is the result of a Brussels ‘edict’ – as far as I know, they’re not actually called ‘edicts’. ‘Edict’ is merely a term used by the anti-European press to make an EU decision sound like we’re actually ruled by foreigners.

        It allows French, German or other EU police forces to ask British officers to hack into people’s computers and share the information. What the article doesn’t say, because it would undermine an anti-European agenda at play, is that it would also allow British officers to ask French or German police to hack into a French or German citizen’s computer and share the information…

        …you know, like the police are ideally meant to anyway on international enquiries.

        And why pick the French and the Germans? Why not the Danes and the Irish? Or the Spanish and the Italian? One possible reason is because they’re big countries in Europe. However, in the context, it smacks to me playing to our old British prejudices – we don’t like the French and we were at war with the Germans a couple of times, so we can’t trust them either.

        Apparently, police can park outside a ‘suspect’s home’. Why not a ‘suspect’s house’? Did that not sound intrusive enough?

        Yeah, I did an English Language degree, including several modules about stylistics and a particularly good module on the politics of language. I find it comes in handy when someone shows me a news article like this.

        1. mostlyfoo

          Yes its biased and fear mongering, but on the other hand we’re talking about warrentless search and observation of private citizens.

          If the police were just deciding with no judicial oversight to steam open peoples mail, or plant cameras in their bedrooms I think there’d be outrage.

          So much of peoples lives is now conducted across the internet and on computers, yet these places seem to gather a whole new set of daft laws around them which would never be supported if someone tried them against houses, workplaces, post, notebooks and wallets.

          1. archangelonline

            I agree entirely – greater surveillance powers are bloody useful, as are most extensions to police and security service powers, but they have to be properly regulated, and I’m not sure that this one is (local police procedures, i.e. senior officers evaluating and signing off on each instance, as currently happens with covert surveillance ops that don’t require warrants, plus recourse to the complaints system, the IPCC and potentially the courts if your privacy is unjustly invaded, are good, but not enough – the damage will already have been done).

            My point is that you picked a bad newspaper article to inform people about the issue.

          2. mostlyfoo

            True, but I picked the only newspaper article I could find covering the issue, although it seems that the independant is also on the ball now, although they jump onto a panic fueled bandwagon at the end of the article as well.

        2. mr_jez

          Methinks he doth protest too much… ;o)

          Seriously, of course it’s a biased article, *all* articles are biased. And yes, I agree with some of your points, but others come across as a bit silly. Obviously this is a law that works all ways, but I’d rather expect a UK newspaper to look at the Brit angle, just as I’d expect French, German, Danish, Irish, Spanish and Italian newspapers to focus on their national angles. And your suggestion for why only the French and the Germans were mentioned…tell me that you don’t really believe that? It’s just living in la-la land.

          I feel you made an unnecessary ad hominem attack on Shami Chakrabarti, but then we all enjoy a good rant now and again! I gather that the Damian Green incident and its implications are extremely complicated, and the issue is different from that of patient-doctor confidentiality.

          1. archangelonline

            I can’t see why the privacy of an MP’s constituents is any more important than the privacy of a doctor’s patients.

            In fact, a good argument can be made in the opposite direction.

            Yet doctors don’t have this (totally non-existent, legally-speaking) protection against police investigation following a lawful arrest. As ever, it was MPs spouting up with self-interested bollocks and claiming moral superiority.

            Besides all that, as you mention, this is a completely different issue than the Damien Green case, so why’s she bringing it up? And why is the article quoting an obviously factually incorrect statement as if it were a fact?

          2. mr_jez

            A number of MPs, that I believe to be at least moderately principled, such as Tony Benn, spoke at the time about the issues at stake, and I find the issue different from doctor-patient confidentiality. That said, yes, it’s only thematically connected to the matter in question.

          3. archangelonline

            I’d expect a decent newspaper report to look at the subject, not just a biased angle on a subject. Not mentioning that this law will help British police investigate criminals abroad is deliberate omission of the whole reason Britain is a part of this arrangement. That’s not responsible journalism.

            And the German and French angle?

            Yes, yes I do believe they chose those nations specifically. This is the right-wing press we’re talking about. Anything bad from Europe? It’s France and Germany, because of the right-wing press’s target audience’s distrust of anything that comes out of those nations. Editors and journalists know this and play on this for persuasive effect. That passage would have had less impact if less significant nations were chosen.

            I’m not discussing the rights and wrongs of police surveillance here – but the overt and covert bias presented in the article presented on this blog to explain the issue. A media agenda can be just as damaging as a government policy, particularly if it’s allowed to slide by without mention.

          4. mr_jez

            From my perspective you appear to expect a lot from the media, assign them motives on hearsay, and assume that their readership are a bit slow. This may be true, but so might a lot of things… ;o)

            Personally, I just take all articles with a pinch of salt, and am happy to agree to disagree.

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