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August 22, 2013

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Jonathan

"The Tories' love of freedom in the 80s was always partial"
One word about this: Spycatcher

Phil

As dear old Charlie Falconer has pointed out, the police have simply (!) misread the legislation as giving them far more power than it actually does. The Act defines "terrorists" in two places, sections 40(1)(a) and 40(1)(b). 40(1)(a) includes people collecting information which might be useful to terrorists, a category which could easily include Greenwald and possibly Miranda himself. (This is outrageous in itself, but let's stay focused.) 40(1)(b) defines "terrorist" more conventionally, as "somebody involved in terrorism" (slight paraphrase).

The point of all this is that Schedule 7 permits the police to detain (for up to nine hours), to question, to search and to retain property from an individual passing through a port or airport, in order to establish whether that person is a terrorist *as defined in 40(1)(b)*. The 40(1)(a) definition is not available to border plod as a reason for invoking Schedule 7. Someone has blundered (to look at it charitably) and Theresa May has backed them up, presumably on the assumption that if she ignores the problem it'll go away.

Simon Jester

If you think Theresa "Nasty Party" May is a spiritual child of Thatcher, you need your head examined.

Nick

The libertarian leaning pirate party in parts of europe seems to have a partial, somewhat inadequate, answer: internet users.

Staberinde

Miranda wants an injunction against the government looking at his information. Given that he was carrying information stolen from the government, that's actually quite amusing.

The point is: we've never been free to know government secrets. And even liberals usually acknowledge that some government secrets are secret for good reason.

So when there's a leak, even if the information exposes wrongdoing, it's nonetheless right that the leakers should be found and brought to justice.

Bradley/Chelsea Manning paid the price - and should have done. The question is whether 35 years is appropriate.

It's right that the Guardian's computers were destroyed, even though the data was mirrored elsewhere. At least if the Chinese hack it, it's another jurisdiction's problem.

In cases like the Snowden and Manning leaks journalists need to be aware that the scandals they expose are fair enough, but the wider mass of data they've received can be very damaging if it falls into the wrong hands. for that reason, they need to be careful that their own networks are secure and that information which isn't pertinent to the scandal is destroyed. If not, they need to be prosecuted too.

Luke

Staberinde, the current issue is not whether or not the Graun/Miranda have stuff they shouldn't have. It's whether the police were acting within the law by detaining Miranda for 9hrs and taking the stuff from him. See the first link in the original post, and Phil's post above.

In summary, the power to hold and question in the circs they did only arises for the purposes of ascertaining whether the person is engaged in terrorist activities. (a) No one is seriously suggesting Miranda or the Graun are engaged in terrorist activities; (b) we pretty much know what they are doing, so what is the need to question him for 9hrs?

Paul J

There's another factor in play here apart from hypocrisy and capture by vested interests, the fear factor.

Politicians now know that every email, text or mobile phone call they ever made is stored in some vast digital cavern somewhere. That included the emails with racist jokes sent to their best friend when drunk, candid discussions of drug use, lovers trysts, embarrassing conversations about their children, everything.

All that could be easily leaked to opponents or the party heirarchy or the press. And they know it.

That's why there's such little outrage from politicians globally. They're too scared.

Staberinde

Luke, the topic is actually the broader question of what freedom/liberty means to Left and Right, and the degree to which vested interests influence the debate.

whether the correct law was used in the Miranda case and how long he should be detained are technical issues. Unless, of course, you're in the business of generalising from a single case.

Luke

Staberinde, so you think the question of whether the police were actually following legislation enacted by parliament is a mere technical side issue?

Keith

Staberinde and luke, why should the State be able to keep secrets from the people? That means Democracy is a shame as the people cannot hold the State to account without the right to know. That is dictatorship.

And secret courts cannot be compatible with the rule of Law as Bentham argued for unless Justice is done before the gaze of public opinion we cannot know if the state is doing moral good or evil. The gaze of the public restrains despotic oppression.

Clegg and his party shows once again that they are not Liberals. And all or most politicians show that they do not love liberty or even grasp the concept. But they will defend war and occupying other nations on the grounds of a belief in the freedom they do not actually believe in.

Rich

I'd like a narrower definition of "national security". It ought to mean something which is likely to bring down the entire state, like an invading army poised across the Channel. A few idiots blowing themselves up in trains is just criminality mixed with stupid beliefs. It's not a fundamental threat to the nation.

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