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back to article Cops and ISP in paedophile data mix up

Police acting on dodgy data from an ISP raided an address and arrested a completely innocent person for being part of a paedophile ring, according to the government's electronic surveillance scrutineer. The 2008 annual report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, published this week, revealed few …

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"Better checks and balances"

"Better checks and balances have been put in place" - only for them to be labelled as unnecessary red tape at the next round of spending cuts and thrown out.

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FAIL

Lucky ..

.. it wasn't a "terrorist" who might have unfortunately been shot in the head several times while being arrested..

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Big Brother

Oh dear

Expect plenty more of this when the school vetting database gets up and staggering.

Has anyone in the grubberment stopped to think that teaching children to mistrust virtually every adult is a) counterproductive, and b) a form of abuse?

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Flame

Let me be the first to say

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

My arse!

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WTF?

Very unfortunate mixup!?

Is that all they've got to say the fucking arse holes. Sack the useless bastard/bastards that made the error right now. This is a very, very serious crime to be accused of and persons in this role should check and double check their information. If they don't understand the process get fucking rid of them immediately!

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Big Brother

DNA

Any word on whether the poor innocent's DNA is now on file "just in case?"

Or do we already know the answer?

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Anonymous Coward

A reliable source that only knows the IP?

"Police approached the ISP after getting information from a "reliable source", suggesting that...."

Wait, how can he be a 'reliable source' if he only knows an IP address and not even a time zone??

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FAIL

Why unnamed.

name and Shame please Mr (& Ms) Jurno's..... do your work!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Why unnamed.

They are unnamed because they are unnamed by Sir Paul Kennedy's report, which is typically low on specifics, presumably to protect the embarrassed - not because I can't be bothered. If I turn anything up you'll find out here.

- Chris

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Anonymous Coward

however

will it still appear on the poor individuals ecrb check, and did the "police" do the old trick of telling the persons neighbours and workplace and local lynch mob before finding any real evidence?

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Big Brother

The report is censored anyway

The various commissioners report to the PM's office, which then publishes the bits it doesn't think in any way embarrassing to HM Govt or prejudicial to the national interest very broadly defined. I think it is highly likely the only reason we are hearing about this is because the person concerned is pursuing a complaint against the police (though I don't know if they are).

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Grenade

IPv6 and statics.

Implement IPv6 and give everyone a static IP , saves the Plod/ISP's fucking up.

What happened to the real PEDO ?

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FAIL

In the olden days

we might just have said "bloody unlucky but at least he can get on with the rest of his life"

Now we say "he's completely fucked-it'll be on his CRB/ISA forever"

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FAIL

"very unfortunate error"

Paedophila is a crime which evokes *very* strong emotions in people. People accused of the crime find it hard to ever shake off the label, even if the accusation is based on incorrect facts (Anyone remember the nurse who had to go into hiding because her house was attacked when the local mensa squad discovered that she was a paediatric nurse)

I hope the police have done a lot more than just "apologise" to the poor innocent person. I also hope the poor sod has had all their details removed from all those databases that they were probably put on.

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Paris Hilton

More stuff you couldn't make up

Someone has had their door kicked in and their house searched because some wonk can't do international time zones? Wonderful.

Can we safely assume that plod will do much the same as they did in Forest Gate and spend thousands trying to find *something* to pin on the unfortunate victim?

Paris probably doesn't understand international time zones either.

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Anonymous Coward

How about myself then.....

came around my house, searched the whole house and computer and found zero and said sorry. They then proceed ,with another force, to completely wreck my life which ends with a 10 year civil court battle and the scummy officer in the dock because I issued a criminal charge. I have learnt, they are all scummy liars who waste taxpayers money and I would never ever trust any officer ever ,ever again. Lies trip of their tongues like the truth comes of ours.

Another thing,. That officer that was involved with the "manslaughter" of Mr Tomlinson, was suspended from the Met and then joined Surrey police. He then transferred back to the Met. Apparently he has other matters against him as well. That is how scummy these "officers" are nowadays.

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FAIL

so...

it's virgin media then?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/10/net_heroes_and_villains_recognised/

Wouldnt surprise me, it took them 4 attempts to install a phone line at my old house before i told them to forget it - and i thought BT were useless

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Coat

Accused

To be accused of that particular crime is so damaging that it can almost be called it's own punishment in terms of that light it'll cast you in, and subsequent reprisals. To be innocent and accused of such a crime is unimaginable and everyone involved in this most epic of fails should be named, shamed and personally charged with libel, defamation of character, negligence and anything else that'll stick.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Except some beauracratic cock up by a halfwit PFY and being permanently labelled, turr'ist, paedo or extremist by Govt & Plod!!

Mine's the one with tickets off this sh1tty island...

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Anonymous Coward

It's not Trojan guy again?

http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/cybercrime/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197008493

Hang on, this 'reliable source' it isn't trojan guy again is it? The guy that plants spyware on peoples PCs by putting links to spyware with suggestive titles suggesting CP on 4chan and similar, if he finds a kiddy diddling image on the PC he remotely controls, he then tips off the police and they do a raid.

I thought they'd stopped him because he was also suspected of planting the image too, since he controls the PC, but apparently not. They even got his evidence admitted into court in the US.

Seems odd that he only has an IP address and is considered a 'reliable' source, surely if he doesn't know the person, or the kid or the time zone, then it's just a spurious claim based on fluff.

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Grenade

And this is why...

They can stick their databases up their collective arses.

Still, if Gitmo is still open in a few years time, I could use a break somewhere nice n warm and the compo would come in handy too.

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Big Brother

Well said, Alfonso Vespucci

* we might just have said "bloody unlucky but at least he can get on with the rest of his life" ... " Now we say "he's completely fucked-it'll be on his CRB/ISA forever" *

And that is the reality of modern so-called policing and law enforcement. Anyone who doesn't fear it simply hasn't been arrested yet. Anyone who doesn't believe we are well advanced in creating a police state simply isn't awake, or stupidly thinks it only happens to someone else not themselves.

How long are people going to let this state of affairs go on ?

Toss-up between black helicopters, big brother, WTF?, FAIL, stop, sad, exclamation, megaphone, handgrenade and flames icons, all of which apply.

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g e
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If it were me

I'd check my standing legally then hire a fuckoff expensive lawyer with the express intent of claiming massive costs which would be the main thing that would be likely to get the assholes fired rather than the scale of their ineptitude.

Then ask the Daily Mail to do an ECRB check on me which gives them a story and me 20k if it doen't come up clean.

Milk it and give them the maximum pain for their efforts cos if you don't they'll carry on in the same bullshit complacent manner and someone else will end up in the same situation next year/month/week. Hit them in the speedcamera piggy bank. It's all they understand.

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Anonymous Coward

Been there ... done that

Back in the day (last century) I was working on radius servers and a cross-reference to see whay dynamic address was being used by which user at any given time.

Unfortunately it went live before being fully tested. The police raided one particular house - in force - following our good work.

If only we/they/someone had remembered BST/GMT change they might have raided the right house ...

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FAIL

What I want to know...

... is whether he had his fingerprints taken when he was arrested. And then whether his record has been wholly and completely expunged when it was discovered he had nothing to do with it.

Also, don't forget that if you ever apply for a US visa you have to declare whether you have ever been arrested - not whether you have ever been charged. There is something to be said for the US grand jury system where someone has to persuade a panel of normal people that a person needs arresting before they can be arrested (unless the copper witnesses the crime I believe).

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FAIL

Has this happened before

Lets face it everybody would deny being a pedo................ Does this cast doubt on some of previous convictions?

What is the argument between Jim Bates and Avon & Somerset police all about anyway?

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Happy

good job

the guy had nothing to hide. He had nothing to fear all through. Mind you I wouldn't have given much for his chances if the News of the World had got hold of his name and address.

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@ac 17:43 GMT

Detained and arrested are to different thing in the US. You can be detained and questioned in the US with out being arrested. Being detained by the police does not stay are your perminate record in the US. You can also have arrest removed from you records to .

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Stop

Very unfortunate

That the poor sod on the tail end of this farce now has his cards marked worse than a photographer, and by the usual standards of this country has probably lost his job and been blacklisted. Thats of course if he hasn't also had to deal with "no Smoke, No fire" idiots that always pop up in cases like this.

The head of the force in question should be summarily dismissed, with no pension rights, along with anyone else who went ahead with this charade

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@Chris Williams

Would the information not be obtainable under a freedom of information request? I mean, there is definitely a substantial public interest angle to this. Incompetence such as this needs to be named and shamed.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Chris Williams

Absolutely, there's a strong public interest. Thanks to our friends at the Department of Constitutional Affairs (now Ministry of Justice), however the Interception of Communications Commissioner* is exempt from FOI by dint of not being listed as a public body in Schedule 1 of the Act.

Ostensibly this because much of his role involves scrutiny of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Why he can't give us the particulars of police gaffes is unclear to me, but there you have it.

Am pursuing further information via other channels.

- Chris

*And the two other former judges responsible for scrutiny of the use of surveillance powers, Sir Peter Gibson and Sir Christopher Rose.

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Black Helicopters

Buttle / Tuttle

Surely I can't be the only one who thought of the excellent Terry Gilliam film Brazil when reading about this fuckup?

A 1985 film in which a man was executed because of a typo in government computers...

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Big Brother

tsk

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.

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Colour me shocked!

I could understand plod and government not understanding technology, but it's now quite clear that they really don't even know the time of day.

Gotta go, as there's a bunch of goons in riot jackets at my door...

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The World's a Magic Roundabout

There is only one true international time standard, 'Z'-time.

Those in the know will no doubt know that wherever you are on the planet, Zebedee will always say it's 'time for bed'.

It's a bit like quoting temperatures without specifying units be it Kelvin, Celsius, Fahrenheit, Rankine or Réaumur (that's just a rumour) and there are more, time should always be qualified by a reference e.g. UTC, or GMT etc. For those people who can't see over their fences using locally defined units is not enough. HAST (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time) for example ought to be qualified as UTC - 10 (if that's really what it is).

They don't bother about such trivia in China, it's all the same time there even if geographically it spreads across about four and a bit time zones and ignores daylight saving etc.

At least El Reg does its bit by using GMT timestamps for the postings.

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Thumb Up

"Am pursuing further information via other channels."

Friend of a friend of a guy down the boozer! (Proper journo work!)

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Anonymous Coward

The police: thick and dangerous

There was a time when the occasional "Thick copper cock-up" could be quite amusing, but those are times long gone. Their nasty little database will doubtless finger the poor bastard, at every possible opportunity, as a 'where there's smoke' as-yet-un-nailed paedophile. Appearing on police radar in any capacity seems to be equivalent to actual guilt these days - Buttle/Tuttle without Terry Gilliam's black humour.

Perhaps when one such wrongly fingered individual is nailed to a tree by a posse of righteous and lagered-up Sun readers, we might begin to see questions asked about why such stupid people are given so much unquestioned authority over the lives and reputations of others.

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Black Helicopters

It's really very simple

The whole "Child Protection" system in the UK works on the principle of "guilty until proved innocent" and it involves a spy network far broader than is generally understood. Teachers, doctors, social workers, police are all part of the system and once a "concern" is voiced by any party and passed on by a "designated agency" it then acquires the status of "fact." Indeed, when it comes to child "protection", to a large extent the same individuals can act as accusers, prosecution, judge, jury and executive agency.

The victim in this instance now has a record which cannot be erased from the files of the police, social work, presumably his local GP and presumably will show up with the CRB one way or another. As far as "the authorities" are concerned it's a case of "we didn't manage to prove his guilt this time, but we'll get him next time."

Take it from one who's been through it. Take it from one who's been through the mill.

However, my score to date is

* one (former) acting senior social worker now working as a labourer to a double-glazing fitter

* two consultant paediatricians now skipped the country for Australia

* one police officer (female) removed from child protection duties and transferred elsewhere

* one school nurse transferred to other duties elsewhere

* one head teacher removed to another school

Sadly, total failure with

* one lying GP (GMC has said in writing (!) that it's OK for a GP to lie in child protection matters)

* one lying Chief Constable still in office

* one lying Assistant Chief Constable still in office

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Justifications

We all know that even discussing paedophiles raises strong emotions, but look at the justification given in the article;

"Police approached the ISP after getting information from a "reliable source", suggesting that children were at risk of falling into the hands of a paedophile ring. "

...children were at risk of falling into the hands... That suggests to me that the police expected to find children on the premises, or at least they gave that impression to the ISP. That is very different from using your computer to look at some dirty pictures.

I would love to think, but I do not expect, that somebody will look at the "intelligence" this unnamed force recieved and how they used it. Did they go back to the ISP and find the correct address? Did they arrest the real offender? Has the real offender been convicted? Or, and I suspect this is more likely, have they left the ISP thinking that one of its subscribers is a kiddy fiddler? Let us hope that no one working there reads the News of the World.

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IT equipment

Just out of interest, I wonder if the poor guy arrested has had his IT equipment back and an apology or is it still sitting in a queue waiting to be "assessed"?

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WTF?

Reliable Source?

It's that old chestnut again.

Remember the BBC got slammed by the government for basing it's "sexed up dosier" report on evidence provided by a single informant? Well the government based the dosier (and thereofore the entire Iraq war) on evidence provided by a single informant, however this was perfectly OK because the government described this source as a "reliable source". Obviously not reliable at all since it all turned out to be lies, but the government were acting in good faith so that's OK.

Likewise shooting somebody in the head is OK as long as you think they're a terrorist.

Compared to starting a war or killing somebody arresting somebody as a paedophile is pretty small beer, as long as you have a "reliable source" and are "acting in good faith".

What happened to the chain of custody in this case. I thought all evidence had to be rigidly documented from its source to its current status in order to demonstrate that it's sound. Obviously in this case that completely failed.

What worries me more than the actions of the police is that somebody authorized an arrest warrant for a very serious offence without checking the presented evidence properly. The whole point of the system of arrest and search warrants is to prevent the police simply going out and doing whatever they want. If the courts are going to rubber stamp requests for warrants then how long will it be before they simply start to rubber stamp guilty verdicts based on the say so of the police?

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FAIL

Only the guilty have something to fear

To err is to be human, but to really fuck it up you need a computer.

I really do hope that this person that was accused in the wrong starts legal proceeding against the plod and the ISP for two reasons, to ensure the ISPs gets their facts right before passing on duff data, and against the plod to establish proof that he committed no wrongdoing to giving the existences of the BB databases and their willingness of assholes to use ‘soft’ evidence on the ECRB databases and to get a legal deceleration that any information (fingerprints, DNA, and the record of the arrest are removed)

This use of ‘soft’ evidence (is that not an oxymoron), is the same sort of bullshit methods used for witch hunting, throw the witch in the duck-pond, if she drowns she’s innocent, if she get’s out of the duck-pond it’s because of witchcraft and will be burned at the stake.

Welcome back to the middle-ages.

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Silver badge

Zulu Time

Give all time in Zulu time using SI notation. No possibility of confusion then.

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FAIL

FFS

This should go to court and a fair price paid for the cock up. This could potentially ruin this invdividuals life therefore he should have this mistake publicly rectified whilst having his identity protected from lynch mobs. All record of the arrest should be expunged by court order and the Police should provide proof to the court that this has taken place.

and then I woke up !

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Big Brother

Your average copper

sees an IP address and goes "that's child porn that" and that's about as much thought as they put into it before kicking your front door down. .

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This is just so depressing

"They" seem to forget that it's our country and "they" work for us. It really is time for a revolution, "they" are all just lying, cheating scum.

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Happy

Zulu Time

We already have this, it's called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and forms the base from which other time zones are calculated.

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Boffin

Computers have feelings too!

The reason this has happened, is because people - especially people who have no technical experience with computers - make assumptions that computers are always right.

Somehow, we are less likely to believe a bank teller who tells us we don't have enough money in our account for a withdrawal, than a computer which simply says 'insufficient funds', printed on a small screen in the street.

In reality, computers are designed by people, as is the software that runs on it.

Sometimes, coders are lazy, and forget to properly sanitize dates into a proper, universal format.

To be honest - it's the coder who should be fined/sued. Not the police for assuming he did his job properly.

If you can't assume people have done their job properly, you would have to build your own house, so it didn't fall down on you - or build your car by hand to ensure it doesn't burst into flames on your way to work.

As for this guy's permanent record - records are very useful..

If your going to abuse children then you can expect a record of that to be linked to your name for the rest of your life. As pedophilia is very much a psychological issue, much like being an alcoholic or drug addict, you are never truly 'reformed'. You are always at a higher risk of an incident.

However, this man was accused due to a technical error.

In an ideal world, his record should show that he was accused of pedophilia, but the charges where dropped because he was accessed due to technical error.

But this is where the problems start - as proper criminals with good lawyers will also push for these sorts of resolutions.

Seeing as the majority of crimes do go unpunished - keeping a record of accused crimes really is just as important as guilty verdicts.

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Anonymous Coward

Come to think of it..

How does one go about checking their own criminal record?

Who knows what gaffes have been made against my name and have gone silently undetected by everyone but my potential employers...

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Alert

The time is coming...

@ Gordon Ross: I believe that if a mistake is made, then the officer(s) in charge must be added to the Offender Registery - HOW CAN WE EVER BE SURE THEY AREN'T THE FIDDLERS TRYING TO SHIFT BLAME?!

@ (AC) It's not Trojan guy again?: Well, you can't just out and say its MI-5/MI-6/NSA, can you? You DO know about the "Cooperative Intelligence Act" that allows NSA to peek at G8 (now G20) signatories and vice-versa? Only exceptions are the home countries of each agency, because that is, by definition, against their charters...

Reason for AC: I am vocal in my community about this, but can't trust all Reg readers to not simply find me contemptable because of what I am about to say, and dismiss anything else I might say...

@ (AC) How about myself then: I hear you. I was accused by my ex-wife for having the bad manners of wanting to be a part of my son's life. How dare I?! One phone call about "concerns with her daughter", and cue one hour of "investigation" trying to convince the child something happened, EIGHT HOURS of "interrogation" trying to get me to "confess" - not including the time the tape stopped to allow the one "detective" to "convince" me (leaving bruises)... Not witnessed by the accompanying officer, so must have been self-inflicted, eh? Then arrest, jail, released on bond ($50,000 bail, the 10% actual amount paid on $500,000 bond from parents scrapping their IRA), and then THREE YEARS of hell dealing with trying to get my day in court, harrassment from neighbors (moved four times during this, each same "detective" "helpfully informed" EVERYONE, even though I wasn't on any list or register), and lost my job, natch. She disappeared with the kids, funded by the plod and "charitible societies". Child continously denied anything happened, but wasn't believed because "she just must not remember - it must have been too traumatic..."

I finally got to trial, and the jury deliberated for less than one minute - seriously. Judge told them they *had* to leave the courtroom to fill in the verdict paper. Acquitted, of course. The "detective" was beyond reproach for simply "doing his job"... AND WAS THE TRAINING OFFICER FOR CHILD ABUSE CASES. Six years later I am still hounded because it shows I was "arrested" on credit checks, employment checks, passport renewal, and I could no longer hold my Secret security clearance. 2nd wife divorced (very amicably) because she wants but biologically can't have children, and we could not adopt because of the record.

I have been publically speaking out locally because these laws are being used against many, many more people than the actual fiddlers; more than 10 to 1 in Midwest USA. Police say it just means that the system is not working because fiddlers walk, "not enough laws", not because they don't do real investigations and arrest without cause. Retaliation FOR LIFE against you, your family member, your neighbor, coworker, boss, mailman, bus driver, etc. are now simple, easy, and cost-free (except for tax-payers) for any perceived slight is within the reach of anyone who can get yours, theirs or someone else's kid in any (in)conceivable situation to satisfy the merest of whims for revenge.

Mark my words, soon they will have us clammoring to monitor us all the time simply to have "proof" we didn't do something...

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Big Brother

Sooo...

So.... did you touch her?

It's okay, we're all friends here :)

(I am presuming if he says yes, then that's enough 'evidence' to get a warrant for El Reg to give us the IP used to make that post.

In three years time when all the red tape has been cleared away, i will track whoever whoever is now using that IP down, and bust into their house.

In fact, screw IP addresses - lets just arrest everyone called Anonymous Coward. That should be ample 'evidence'.

.. wait a sec - i'm also Anonymous coward..

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