back to article Police bail sysadmin in animal rights extremism probe

A Sheffield man has been released on police bail after being questioned in connection with comments posted to the activist news website Indymedia, which included the personal details of a prominent High Court judge. The man, in his 40s and thought to work as a systems administrator, was arrested on Monday and questioned for …

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Silver badge
Flame

it will all end in tears, I just know it

"to let this friend of [animal testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences] know exactly what you think about him"

incitement to communicate? wow, we really are screwed. When will they pull up the BBC directors for inviting people to comment on HYS when related to contentious issues?

Unless he said something specificly nasty he wanted people to do, it could very well mean that someone would read that line and send him an email of commendation for dealing with terrorist scum.

</abuse of power>

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"encouraging or assisting an offence"

Can I now hold the Department for Transport responsible for assisting me to get a speeding ticket?

How many of my points can I palm off on them?

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Anonymous Coward

Chilling

So he is NOT responsible, and took action to remove the judges personal details and the police still arrested him?

Wow, that's really chilling. It's like China.

It makes forum administrators afraid of open discussion, it is the most sinister attack on free speech I have ever ever seen in a western democracy in modern times.

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Stop

8 hours?

I thought Indymedia sys admins wrote all their logs to /dev/null? Did it take 8 hours for the cops to understand this concept?

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Anonymous Coward

er

"It's understood police did not use Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) powers to demand he turn over any encryption keys."

I understood that it is also unlawful to reveal that you have been asked for this information, so how would you know?

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Pirate

Gestapo

Amazing tale. Fear to keep the serfs in their place.

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Bob

I am glad they arrested this bastard

I feel safer knowing that the police are taking action against people who run servers on behalf of other people who let general members of the public post comments discussing the theoretical harassment someone else.

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Be careful what you post to El Reg, guys...

...because they'll be bailed without charge too, before we know it.

WTF actually is "bailed without charge"? Should people running forums, blogs, social networking sites and so-on run in fear now? There surely is no charge to answer anyway; the comments were removed at the earliest time and there is no law requiring people to log IP addresses.

Next there will be a "Three Posts and You're Out" policy for ISPs!! LOL...what bollocks.

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Stop

Offence, offence, offence

Everything is an offence these days.

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Heart

this is a clear message

i readed "if you or your company host a website of those terrorist-like animal-lovers, you will find out that is not worth their payment Vs the inconvinience that we can cause you, have a good day"

the state-blender is at 100% speed and ready to mincemeat the zootards and anyone nearby+dog.

Good. i would like a 2 cheeseburgers of those with salad. YUMMY!!!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Chilling

totally agree, the only difference between UK and China these days is a wafer thin veil of illusion that the UK is still a democracy with freedom of speech.

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Stop

Thought Crime Police State

"intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence" and "suspicion of incitement"

Wow, I didn't realise they had added this law. So now its illegal to even suggest or talk about, for example arranging a strike or political protest demonstration. Because some people going could then get arrested for any number of minor crimes, such as public noise/nuisance etc.. So now anyone behind discussions which caused the strike/demo can now also be punished.

So now we can't even speak out against Nu Labour's Police State for fear of them hunting us down. That is “suspicion of incitement”. Incitement in that case, to stand up and oppose Nu Labour. This is getting truly scary.

"Suspicion of incitement" is pure Thought Crime law. Now we don't even need to commit the crime, just thinking about committing a crime is enough to be punished.

Using this law, they could even take down newspapers and news web sites (e.g. TheRegister!). For example, the Guardian paper has a whole section on the growing Surveillance State. This could very easily be considered "suspicion of incitement" to protest against the government. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/surveillance

The UK is no longer heading towards a Police State. We are now in a Police State. From here on out, it just gets ever more scary. This law is the end of Democracy as we can no longer speak freely, as they can now choose any Thought Crime they wish to punish and so silence.

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@ Sir Runcible Spoon

"Unless he said something specificly nasty he wanted people to do, it could very well mean that someone would read that line and send him an email of commendation for dealing with terrorist scum."

Don't be so bloody stupid. Of course, I can't tell you directly, can I? Pillock.

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Paris Hilton

RIPA

I read about this law a while ago. But didnt think it would actually get inforced. This is one law that I really dont agree with. I always try to look at it with a neutral point of view. But refusing to give away encryption keys gets me a 5 year prison sentance. Id rather die. Than let Mr Big Brother see everything. We need to take a public stance on our attack of free speech in the UK.

Paris Hilton: She is like the goverment. Thinks they know everything.

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Anonymous Coward

New Technology Baffles Poor Old Plod

"The Register understands that the man arrested was not responsible for either of the comments and is not an Indymedia activist or administrator. Rather the server was hosted by UK Grid under a contract in his name, along with several others on behalf of unrelated clients."

So if I were to post unsavoury comments about High Court Judges on someone else's website they'll go after the renter of the server hosting that website rather than me? Cool!

"His home was searched and computer equipment and paperwork seized."

Which, seeing as he's neither the perpetrator nor the administrator will prove exactly bupkiss.

"Indymedia told Kent Police it does not record IP addresses. The same day the force seized a server belonging to Indymedia"

... because they were either too stupid to understand, or just weren't listening to, a bloody word they'd been told.

"arrested on "suspicion of incitement" under the Serious Crime Act."

The Act defines lots of things as Serious Crimes, but renting a server isn't one of them. In fact, given the kinds of things the Serious Crime act defines as Serious Crimes (is there ever any other kind of crime in the mind of Plod & the Judiciary one wonders) it's difficult to see how this would ever stick.

So - IOW - the police have arrested this fellow because it's all they've got to go on, they've tried to frighten him with legalise but couldn't get anything to stick (which is hardly surprising given the Act they decided to charge him under) and have had to let him go ("Arms trafficking!? Bring me my lawyer so he can tell you to fuck off!"). Meanwhile back in the real world they're still no closer to knowing who posted this judge's "personal details".

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Stop

"Wow, I didn't realise they had added this law"

Actually, 'they' removed it in 2008 when Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 came into force and replaced it with three new offences of encouraging or assisting crime.

I should say - I agree with the police pursuing the person who posted the judge's details because the people who make legal decisions about others' lives have to be protected or we'll end up with - at the very least - a financial meritocratic legal system (those who pay more stand more chance of evading jail).

Not only that but the people the judge conviced were a bunch of arseholes for pursuing their targets in the way they did - I wouldn't like to be targetted in this way, and I suspect neither would the defendants.

Arresting the bloke who signed to contract for the server though - /that's/ a stroke of Plod genius approaching US standards of legality: Don't go for the perpetrator, go for the person with most to lose.

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Coat

Uh oh, no more crazy rants for me

It appears I really am just a peasant, I was hoping I was just exaggerating, but apparently it is true. The US already has laws like this but they tend to just keep the media from covering the demonstrations, not arresting people sparking them via blogs and such. But then again, what do I really know? Maybe they do but the media just doesn't talk about it, for the greater good and all ;P Things change with time, hopefully the nuts in charge wise up and realize that knee jerk crazy reactions that are crazier than the crazies they are hoping to keep under control is a crazy and impossible task.

Wait 10-20 years for the terrified-of-change, and the unknown future, old crazies in charge to die, then things will sane up a bit. Damn Baby Boomers (any non crazy boomers not included of course).

It's the hoodies/commies/socialists/liberals/kids/everyone-that-isn't-as-scared-as-me's fault!!! The signs of the apocalypse are there, crap your pants like me or you're obviously in league with the Anti-Christ!!!

Crazy Freaks who are in charge of the world right now are why things are as crazy as they are.

Uh oh, this was a crazy rant, gonna pack up and run to my compound/hovel in the woods!

*grabs jacket and slams door behind him*

It's the one that I won't describe so I can secret myself past the cameras in the streets (US has them too, just not as many... yet :P)

Not sure why I bother going anonymous either, everything that goes cross border is Carnivored(tm) :P HOORAY for the paranoid policing the paranoid!

*HEAVY SIGH*

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Linux

'financial meritocratic legal system' anyone?

"I should say - I agree with the police pursuing the person who posted the judge's details because the people who make legal decisions about others' lives have to be protected or we'll end up with - at the very least - a financial meritocratic legal system (those who pay more stand more chance of evading jail)."

Right - after all, what with access to better lawyers, class prejudices etc the rich don't have any advantages in the current system... everybody knows that judges (those upstanding guardians of justice) only ever make impartial decisions... </sarcasm>

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Anonymous Coward

responses

> WTF actually is "bailed without charge"?

It means the police don't currently have enough evidence to charge you - either they hope they will, or they just hope to harass you & stop you doing things by giving you bail conditions, which could be staying at home, not doing anything to do with computers, not residing in your home town, etc etc.

> Not only that but the people the judge conviced were a bunch of arseholes for pursuing their

> targets in the way they did - I wouldn't like to be targetted in this way, and I suspect neither would

> the defendants.

My understanding of what happened is that the people convicted merely published news about actions that had happened on the SHAC website, but did not actually commit any offence themselves.

And haven't you heard of Pastor Niemoller, "first they came for the...but I wasn't a ... so I didn't stand up.......then they came for me and there was no-one left to stand up"...

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Silver badge

How?

How the fuck did the dumb-ass plod manage to get a warrant to search and seize this guy's property? What the fvck has he got to do with anything?

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Bob

Plod and the bad SLA

Plod is measured on "sanctioned detections" - i.e. arresting someone for a crime. Doesn't matter if it has no hope of going to court, let alone a conviction, they still get a point for an arrest. Finding the person who posted the comment is a lot of work to get one point. Looking up the server guy on whois and going and hassling him is dead easy. What would you do?

This is the same thing that causes plod to arrest you if you twat a burglar with a baseball bat. No jury in the land will convict, but that's not the point - it all helps the stats.

So yeah, while you're being questioned and having your equipment confiscated and your life ruined on a charge that will never stick, look on the bright side - at least it makes the police look good.

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Anonymous Coward

RIPA

In a way I agree with part of RIPA, forcing disclosure of encryption keys is not unreasonable if you have good reason to believe that it will uncover evidence of terrorist activity.

There are some very strong encryption algorithms around which would take a long time for the government's, GCHQ's computers to crack.

But alas, that makes me wonder, because terrorists will be using strong encryption and other techniques such as stenography to hide their communications, and these communications will need to be intercepted in transit and decrypted quickly.

But I think the forcing of disclosure of keys in RIPA should be limited to terrorism activity, with clear evidence that is the case.

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Paris Hilton

bailed without charge

>>It means the police don't currently have enough evidence to charge you<<

This is precisely why we need the Extreme Pornography Law - one thumbnail of Miss Whiplash in his browser cache and another threat to mom, apple pie and Nu Labour can be neutralised.

Paris - to remind you to overwrite your browser cache nightly

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Paris Hilton

Re:How?

***"How the fuck did the dumb-ass plod manage to get a warrant to search and seize this guy's property?"***

By convincing an even more "dumb ass" Beak that there was a need.

Lets face it, most 7 year-olds are more IT savvy than your average plod or beak.

Paris, cos she's probably more IT literate than PC Plod or Judge John Dimwit.

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous Coward

"Right - after all, what with access to better lawyers, class prejudices etc the rich don't have any advantages in the current system... everybody knows that judges (those upstanding guardians of justice) only ever make impartial decisions... </sarcasm>"

Uh-huh well I probably deserved the sarcasm, but are you really saying we shouldn't protect judges identities?

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Thumb Up

If you'd like to help....

The person arrested in this story is a friend and work colleague.

I've posted a blog up with further information and a request for help - I'd be grateful if any of you have the time to do so, or even just spread the link to the blog around so we can highlight what the police are trying to do and why it is so serious.

http://i-squared.blogspot.com/2009/02/help-wanted-chilling-landmark-for-civil.html

Thanks so much for covering this story here already by the way.

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