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back to article Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

David Miranda, the journalist's partner held for nine hours at Heathrow under anti-terror laws, has managed to get a partial High Court injunction to stop the police "inspecting, copying or sharing" the data they seized from him - except for national security purposes. Lawyers for Miranda confirmed to The Reg that they'd won the …

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Anonymous Coward

So what's changed?

...the government claims "national security", which is the farce that they held Miranda under to begin with, and everything they wish to do / accomplish goes on, as before.

Move along, nothing to see here, the snowball has completely run you over.

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Re: So what's changed?

I expect everything was copied and shipped off to the US before he even got out of the room they locked him up in.

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Re: So what's changed?

They can't leak bits of the info to the Daily Fail/Faux News in order to scoop the Guardian and reduce the impact of any story.

Same technique as publishing the results of an FOI request. It scoops the original journalist who was researching the story, allows all your friendly news outlets to print edited highlights and means it's less likely that real investigative journalists will bother.

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Boffin

Re: So what's changed?

First, holding Miranda wasn't a farce.

Are you saying that the anti-terrorist laws shouldn't exist in the first place?

Sorry, but we've seen enough damage which caused the laws to be enacted in the first place.

From the article "David Miranda, the journalist's partner held for nine hours at HeathrowTh under anti-terror laws, has managed to get a partial High Court injunction to stop the police "inspecting, copying or sharing" the data they seized from him - except for national security purposes."

This is a moot point. The only reason the British Government wanted the documents is for their own purposes. They could give a rats ass about doing anything with it, except to improve their intelligence. The whole 'victory' of Miranda is nothing more than a way for Glenn and company lick their wounds.

Why was Miranda and not Glenn the courier? Simple if Glenn got arrested, the US would do little to bail him out and I doubt the Guardian would have much pull either. Miranda is a Brazilian citizen.

While the Reg wrote a piece about how they could have done this without risking an incident, there is more. There are other ways they could have sent the information without getting caught or even alerting the NSA. (Unlike the Reg, I'm not dumb enough to point it out.)

The reason Glenn and company sent Miranda is that they wanted him to get caught.

'Want' may be a strong word, but hoping for Miranda to be detained would be a better term. After all, it shows that the NSA and other spy agencies along with government anti-terror agencies are watching them and adds credibility to their story.

(Sorry I don't wear a tin foil hat, but if you think about it, people and government agencies can be predictable. )

Bottom line. Regardless of what's in the files we know a couple of things....

1) The spooks lost this round.

2) Glenn can still get the intel without them stopping it.

3) This was most likely a planned side show. (Hint: From Berlin... why did Miranda go through London to Brazil?)

-Just saying...

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Re: So what's changed?

>First, holding Miranda wasn't a farce.

>Are you saying that the anti-terrorist laws shouldn't exist in the first place?

What an absurd oversimplification/

Here's where the "farce" comes into it.

The anti terrorism law used in this case exists for the sole purpose of allowing police to determine if someone is a terrorist.

Its not for "he might have something we want", or "he might rob a shop", or even "he killed a man", its simply to determine if someone was a terrorist.

There is no suggestion - none at all - that Miranda was a terrorist, just an argument that he had something that terrorists might like. Well geez, anyone here carry money? Terrorists might like that too, Book em dan-o.

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>"Sorry, but we've seen enough damage which caused the laws to be enacted in the first place."

You're more likely to die in a plane crash than a terrorist attack, shall we ban air travel too? Exactly how many freedoms are you willing to sacrifice to feel safe from the boogeyman of the week?

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>3) This was most likely a planned side show. (Hint: From Berlin... why did Miranda go through London to Brazil?)

Maybe because there wasnt a convenient direct non stop flight from Germany to Brazil? Transiting in one of the busisiest international airports in the world isn't exactly uncommon.

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Re: So what's changed?

"Jonathan Laidlaw QC said that the information the police had found was, in their view, "highly sensitive material, the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety".

He added that Home Secretary Theresa May believed it was necessary to examine all the data "without delay in the interests of national security". "

I refer all to the comment by Mandy Rice Davies ...

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FAIL

Re: So what's changed?

"Maybe because there wasnt a convenient direct non stop flight from Germany to Brazil? Transiting in one of the busisiest international airports in the world isn't exactly uncommon."

If he expected to travel through the territory of a NATO ally of the USA carrying classified documents stolen from the USA without being touched then he, and anyone else who is of the same opinion is a fool. Did he expect a handshake? Did he expect a polite smile and red carpet treatment? Did he really think that people would pay absolutely no attention to the matter? Does anyone?

Well, perhaps IQs really did drop overnight. To the floor.

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Go

Re: FOI (in So what's changed?)

I hope that you don't mean you think that FOI responses *shouldn't* be published? After all, the public body has just responded to a *freedom* of information request; how would restricting that freedom by giving the requester some sort of monopoly on the knowledge serve the public good? I can see how the requester might *want* that monopoly, but he/she shouldn't be granted it, IMO.

In the interests of information freedom, find all the UK government departments' FOI responses at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?departments[]=all&publication_type=foi-releases. Their search function requires Javascript.

[Hmm. El Reg's typeface is a bit misleading. If you're copying with the keyboard (why?) that rectangle following 'departments' is a pair of square brackets.]

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Just trash it all

The sad thing is that, if Miranda receive any of his kit back, I don't think he can trust it. Who knows if they've implanted any sort of devices to intercept electronic communications, or even to simply record and transmit any ambient sounds around the equipment?

Any way he could make a claim just to have the government reimburse him for the cost of the equipment and in return have all the equipment destroyed?

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Re: Just trash it all

You could probably flog the kit on ebay for more than it cost to buy.

(JOKE: I'm sure some Chinese/Russian/Ecuadorian spies would be interested in examining state-of-the-art bugging devices...)

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Re: Just trash it all

Interesting - try and sell it on ebay and get refused an export licence because it contains classified bugging gear?

There is a precedent: Back in the 60/70s the secret services bugged the Communist Party Great Britain. They found the bug and destroyed it. They were then charged with destroying government property even though the police didn't admit the bug was SIS or that SIS existed. The case was that the CPGB believed the bug was government property and so intended to destroy government property even though of course it wasn't because the government obviously wouldn't bug a legal political party.

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Re: Just trash it all

> They found the bug and destroyed it

Maybe not...?

"The People's History Museum holds the Communist Party picture collection and CPGB artefacts and ephemera including a bug planted by MI5 at the CPGB's headquarters." [emphasis added]

Source [archiveshub.ac.uk]

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Personally I think Snowdon should just release all of the information in its raw format onto the internet. That way there is no taking it back and relevant pieces can be written about what is important and the raw data looked over by anyone who is interested. Frankly, that would prevent all of this rubbish from going on!

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Anonymous Coward

I disagree. Keeping this story alive is a) doing a lot of good in our mayfly society and b) probably keeping him alive too.

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Double agree.

The journos in particular will want to drag this all out as long as possible.

It's all good news and sells papers.

I'm sure the government will want to hush it up as quickly as possible. None of it is painting then in a particularly good light.

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He can whilst hes in russia. He probably has to tread very carefully until hes out of the country.

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Anonymous Coward

"...except for national security purposes."

So the injunction is as good as useless.

Who defines 'national security purposes?' The people who are doing the examining of the equipment of course. Doubtless, they are carrying on as if nothing happened.

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"highly sensitive material, the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety"

c.f.

"If the public learn about government wrongdoing, they'll protest it and then the police will have no option but to use excessive justified force."

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Unhappy

We're playing a game of symbolism here

I agree that in real life this injunction will be ignored. Although if I were the security services I would be *very* careful what I did with anything gleaned from the data. I don't think there was anything unforeseen about Mirandas detention - even if Miranda himself had no idea it could happen. I have a feeling any "data" they do get is certainly tainted.

But as with the mysterious visit from GCHQ to "destroy" the data, this injunction is symbolic. It's symbolic that we do live under the rule of law. But best of all, it's bound to piss Teresa May off, which in itself is a worthy aim.

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Coat

Re: We're playing a game of symbolism here

If it's all the same to you, Jimmy, I'd rather have something more concrete than symbols "that we do live under the rule of law", thankyewverramuch.

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Stop

Re: We're playing a game of symbolism here

Symbols are important. There is nothing as effective or difficult to control as an idea.

Concrete can be smashed up and buried.

Ideas bring down governments.

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Re: We're playing a game of symbolism here

"Concrete can be smashed up and buried."

Don't tell the Spanish government that!

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Devil

Re: We're playing a game of symbolism here (@ DavCrav)

"Concrete can be smashed up and buried."

True, but the IDEA of an unregulated tax heaven close to your country can't be destroyed, as it's very convenient for the thieves narcs politicians elites.

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Holmes

Re: We're playing a game of symbolism here (@ DavCrav)

Right...

It seems that there is little understanding that it was banking secrecy that helped to resist twentieth-century dictatorships and that high tax rates — not money havens — are responsible for tax evasion, as Prince Hans-Adam of Lichtenstein has pinpointed. Clearly the amount of information collected for the purpose of future tax investigation is enormous, leaving little place for human privacy and dignity. Most importantly, it raises a question as to who gave participating states a right to gather information on people that are not their citizens.

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Facepalm

Re: We're playing a game of symbolism here (@ Destroy All Mosters)

Here is another interesting quote about the LvMI:

Its website states that it is dedicated to advancing "the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention."

Yep! Just the kind of people you should ask in matters regarding economy, taxes and government regulation, as opposed to the commies that caused the excess of regulation that brought the last world wide banking crisis.

Anyway, if tax havens are so good, I wonder why the UK hasn't set up one in, say, Cornwall. Or lowered taxes so that British people don't need to travel to far away places in order to scam exercise their God given right to pay minimal taxes.

</irony>

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Theresa May is a spineless cow.

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FAIL

No, she's outright dangerous.

She's presiding over the most incompetent and uncontrolled home office ever, and failing to make any attempt whatsoever to correct their failures and criminal behaviour.

It's said 'Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence'. But I think, as with Straw, history will show her to be malicious.

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Anonymous Coward

Thus...

...the injunction means nothing other than the authorities can't share the info. with the media. Poor boy is in for a heap of hurt.

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Re: Thus...

Technically it means thay can't use the data to query his UK residency status, or whether he has fiddled his expenses. Not that they are really interested in such matters, of course.

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Re: Thus...

"UK residency status, or whether he has fiddled his expenses"

Sadly, I don't think this is true, because we don't have "fruit of the poisoned tree" laws here. So they can inspect the data for national security reasons (which are, as always, fictional), but use what they find for whatever trumped up charges they come up with.

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Some trust for Judges, but not their judgment

In my experience, the courts, especially lower ones are one of the last bastions of the rule of law. I think the Judges do their best to render a genuinely lawful and (as much as the law allows) reasonable judgment. However, as comments from people reading the Reg attest, not even technical people understand this stuff that well. Judges are not equipped to render sound judgment on these issues and the 'experts' they depend on come from the bad guy's camp.

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Happy

Re: Some trust for Judges, but not their judgment

To be fair, the courts are by definition supposed to be the last bastions of the rule of law.

(I know, your point was that the other supposed bastions all too often fail, leaving it to the courts to fix, rather than doing it right to begin with.)

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Re: Some trust for Judges, but not their judgment

@Steve Knox

Touche! I get what you mean.

I am from Canukistan, but this applies even more to the U.S. in my opinion. The Legislature and the Executive have been corrupted beyond any ability to reasonably function. The courts are not all that far behind, but you can still get something approaching justice from time to time. I think that a little cleanup would fix the courts. I am not optimistic that either the Legislature or the Executive can be recovered now.

The U.S. is a Democratic Republic in name only. I fear that the people that wrecked it are more likely than anyone else to seize power in a regime change. When we finally get fed up and do something, the bad guys will use that as justification for turning a de facto dictatorship into a de jure one.

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I should imagine that what has been disclosed so far by Mr. Snowden and The Guardian is the tip of the iceberg. The Gruadian - and probably Mr. Snowden - is usually pretty sensitive about what gets released so as not to endanger people. HMG and USG are probably crapping themselves in case more immediate and sensitive stuff gets revealed. Hence a dump of everything Mr. Snowden has would probably be the worse thing that could happen. Plus HMG likes to show how "tough" it is on people that step out of line (so long as it's not themseves).

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Black Helicopters

But whose data is it?

Apologies if you read a similar comment I made on another thread yesterday. But I'm intrigued as to why no one is picking up on this point.

Whose data is it anyway?

If it is material originating from Snowden, then I assume that all or most of it is US-owned data. It will be highly classified and carry other caveats - for example, the PRISM presentation published by the Guardian was TOP SECRET and carried the NOFORN marking, meaning that it was not to be seen by non-US people.

So I don't think that the UK Government has any more right to see the material than you or me, than Greenwald or Miranda, than the Guardian itself.

"Theresa May believed it was necessary to examine all the data "without delay in the interests of national security"."

More like "in the interests of finding out what the Americans are up to"!

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Holmes

The 51st state informs...

Very good.

The unstated (and entirely unchallenged) assumption here is that USUK are joined at the hip. Not entirely unexpected, as the last 10 years was enlivened mainly by the sound of brains falling on the floor and politicians fartingly rolling over, but still...

"Ah, shit! I meant to take care of him, not fuckin' take care of him!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But whose data is it?

I think you're right, the government doesn't have the right to see the data, but the viewing of the data by the British government is not a criminal offence. The taking of the data and distributing it to people without the authority to see it *is* a criminal offence within US law and jurasdiction within the geographic territory of the USA.

So whilst the British government has morally no right to see it, the Yanks may not like it, but they can't take any legal action against the British Government for examining it.

And anyway, all the guys at Cheltenham have to do, is copy the material, decrypt if necessary ( but I suspect Miranda handed over the keys because if he didn't he could be prosecuted under RIPA) and do that without even telling the Americans.

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Re: But whose data is it?

>"Theresa May believed it was necessary to examine all the data "without delay in the interests of national security"."

>More like "in the interests of finding out what the Americans are up to"!

It's highly likely some of the documents were classified USA material, assuming this is the case, Theresa May has pretty much admitted examining classified documents belonging to the secret service agencies of another country. Americans won't be happy. (if there is a NOFORN caveat applied to the docs).

(Unless, the Yanks gave her permission to examine them so she can report back to her USA masters what kind of material these people have acquired).

These are American documents, nothing to do with the British. Our government by examining the documents is effectively spying. It's intercepting classified documents belonging to another country.

Now whilst it might be argued, that the USA and UK are in joint partnership with their intelligence activities, that doesn't give the right for one country to intercept the classified documents of the other.

You don't know what the security marking is on the documents until you see the front page of the document, if it says "SECRET - USA Eyes Only, NOFORN", do you honestly think that the reader wouldn't take a peek inside?

if you know it's classified material, you shouldn't be looking at all, unless you are duly authorised and on a need to know basis. The fact she is home secretary does not give her the right to examine ALL classified documents belonging to the UK, the only people inspecting those documents should be the Yanks (and arguably journalists!).

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Windows

Re: But whose data is it?

NOFORN has a quaint hillbilly ring to it: "We don't want no fornahs readin' this heah"

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Re: But whose data is it?

Who are you trying to kid?

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Re: But whose data is it?

In that so much of the PRISM data is from or to, non-US Cits the NoForn marker means that while it may be in the possession of the US Gov Organs, it DOES NOT ! Belong to them as a Right.

In Secrets We Trust /// NOT !

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Mushroom

Did you see...

Theresa May squirming every time she mentioned the word 'terrorist' on the BBC news? Good - so did I.

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Black Helicopters

Agreed--seems like a semantic excercise

Can only look for docs affecting national security, but terrorism and SigInt are serious national security issues, so police and the gchq are probably looking at it right now.

Still, good to keep security services at least slightly on notice....

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Theeere we go!

"Home Secretary Theresa May believed it was necessary to examine all the data 'without delay in the interests of national security'."

I could SMELL that coming from reading the subtitle. Miranda isn't even suspected of terrorism, but he was arrested under antiterrorism legislation. Now the authoritaaahs have some intel, no way will they give it up. I suspect they'll sift through every last byte. The "partial injunction" is just a formality.

The Bolivian prime minister gets forced out of the sky based on no real evidence. Now a Brazilian citizen has been falsely arrested in England. If Obummer had been made to land in Bolivia, there would have been war. If a British citizen had been wrongly arrested and robbed in Brazil, the police would have been sent to taser an old man. The opinion of the USA and England regarding South Americans seems rather poor.

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Re: Theeere we go!

Yeah. Is it just me or is it starting to get awfully chilly...

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Isn't amazing...

... how life imitates art?

This whole situation reads like it's been ripped directly out of Alan Moore's and David Lloyd's brains:

-- http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/images/f/fic(vven5.gif

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Devil

Irony strangely uncommented upon

I find it strange but does anyone find his last name rather ironic?

Does this jog your memory?

You have the right to remain silent when questioned.

Anything you say or do can and will used against you in a court of law.

You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.

If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning, if you wish.

If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.

Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

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Big Brother

Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

No, it is not lost on us, at least not those of us who have been exposed to any substantive amount of US "Police Procedural" fiction (whether by book or television), or practical experience (i.e., people who work for Law Enforcement, or -- on the other side of the coin -- have been arrested themselves).

However, the unfortunate fact is that, for all intents and purposes, any Statement or Entitlement of Rights is a moot point at this juncture. Any association between his name, and the US Supreme Court case which forced reform upon the United States' collective constabulary has been almost diluted into nothingness.

You know, it's funny... I look back on the bombing of the Boston Marathon, and also back at 9/11, and I've come to realise something: It's not the people (i.e., Joe Citizen) who are atraid of terrorism. Angry? Yes. Afraid? No.

It's the Politicians who are afraid. The individuals we elect to Parliament and Congress use the threat of terrorism to forward an agenda, and they are afraid of looking bad to their Legislative Peers if it appears that they are doing nothing to confront it. Each elected official wants to "prove" that he/she is the "Strong National Defense candidate" (despite the fact that no one really knows what that even means anymore), and they're all afraid of losing their grip on the reins of power that we as citizens have bestowed upon them. It's a combination popularity contest and game of one-upmanship, with real and life-altering consequences.

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Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

My very first reaction, equally confused at the lack of comment, put it down to the average age of Reg readers?

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