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back to article London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

City of London cops have ventured outside the M25 to cuff a suspect in Nottingham under the suspicion that he runs a "proxy server" which allows users to access 36 verboten sites. Officers from City Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) said they'd arrested and questioned a 20-year-old man suspected of running an " …

Um... what's the crime here?

"ISPs - You must prevent access to these websites."

"OK, no problem."

"Hey - person - you just allowed access to a website we didn't tell you, you couldn't access!"

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No "real" crime...

Unless looking at things and reading things is wrong. Ah I remember now there are laws that determine what you can look at, see and read legally.

So mother (uk gov) decides what is good for us and bad for us and hence what we can see or not see.

I guess that mother doesn't like one of the children picking the lock on the larder to allow all the other children to see what mother is eating.

Such a fat mother, keeping the juicy truth to herself whist feeding her children on what she thinks is best for them. Mother always knows best :-) It's for your own good.

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Unless the 20 year-old man has managed to set up a proxy server using the services of one of the ISPs which were ordered to block the website, there is no crime, is there?

Are we getting into territory that if you use a non-BT/Sky/TalkTalk/etc... UK ISP or a foreign ISP you're providing illegal access because you didn't go along with a high court ruling that was not aimed at you?

Mindboggling.

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even if he did...

He has only violated the ISPs terms of service. It is the ISPs which were ordered to block the sites.

Still, anything that gets these vile terrorism-supporting scum off our streets is a good thing for the rest of us who have to obey the law and who would never dream of visiting a site on the block list...nosireeebob!

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Re: No "real" crime...

@adnim Of course. This is proven by the recent case of two people being arrested for smut pictures on their phones, which they received per whatsapp and thought they had deleted. That case set a great precedent and now looking at things is a crime. If you wanted to look at it or not is irrelevant.

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Re: No "real" crime...

proxys and VPNs are legal

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Re: even if he did...

Here in the US it's a crime to do something where the primary aim of that something is to circumvent a law. If a law is circumvented as a secondary effect of the something it's an entirely different ball of wax though. The whole concept is insanely convoluted and stuffed to over flowing with caveats, exceptions and gray areas. I assume the same is true for you guys.

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Re: even if he did...

It's absolutely the same in the UK (with the same issues over interpretation). If somebody acts as to subvert an injunction, then they may - and I repeat may - be committing a criminal act.

Of course it's no surprise that US and UK jurisdictions are similar in this area as both are based on the same common law roots.

There are two interesting things here. The first is the reach of the law. A UK citizen resident in the UK is an easy target. The second, and maybe more worrying, is if the scope was ever extended to those who give advice on how to bypass injunctions on ISPs. The latter would make a huge number of people vulnerable, but as the common law in this area is not well established, who knows.

Incidentally, in this case I suspect the USA authorities will (eventually) close loopholes as the US is, if anything, far more intent on "protecting" IPR than is even the UK or EU authorities. I think there are already treaties being discussed...

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It's the City of London police - they don't need to do evidence or law or courts. They are a private corporate security outfit

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Re: even if he did...

Ah, but has he tried to usurp the law in question? I think not. The law says an ISP must block these sites and they are still doing so. Therefore, no usurping of the law. The law does not say you can't see the sites, just that the ISPs must block them. So, being a non-ISP, what's he done wrong?

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Black Helicopters

Re: even if he did...

"Of course it's no surprise that US and UK jurisdictions are similar in this area as both are based on the same common law roots."

In principle, maybe. However, the USA has a written constitution. The UK has nothing to protect against governments making it up as they go along(*), and the hereditary principle in no way improves that situation.

P.

(*) Except the ECHR, but that is looking distinctly temporary...

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Re: even if he did...

I've never understood why the US constitution is held up a shining example of immutable rights. The thing has been amended, appended and reinterpreted more times than I care to count.

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There is no crime - at best you'd be in contempt of court, but that's unlikely given how the relevant court orders aren't against you, they're against specific ISPs.

I'd sue the fecks and own my own police force by the end of the week.

This is an obvious case of misconduct in public office by whomever sanctioned the arrest which carries very very very long maximum jail sentences.

When they're questioning you don't answer anything, just ask the obvious questions "have you been smoking crack?" and "can plz haz solicitor?" and you'll do fine.

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WTF?

Re: No "real" crime...

Was it o'l Bligthy or North Korea the guy live?

I get the impression it is England but it sounds like North Korea?

I am confused now.

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Re: even if he did...

"I've never understood why the US constitution is held up a shining example of immutable rights. The thing has been amended, appended and reinterpreted more times than I care to count."

Well, when certain people and groups here *cough*NSA*cough* violate people's constitutional rights, that action is definitely violating the US Constitution and therefore illegal. Although they continue to do it, one can hope eventually these bad actors will be brought to justice. On the other hand, in the UK your rights are not specifically codified anywhere, so if bad actors want to pretend those rights don't exist there's nothing for you to point to to say they do in fact exist.

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Re: even if he did...

"Well, when certain people and groups here *cough*NSA*cough* violate people's constitutional rights, that action is definitely violating the US Constitution and therefore illegal."

Yeah, how's that working for you?

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Re: even if he did...

Another thing . . . here in the U.S., we have a federal statute, upon which law enforcement rules, regs, and policies must be based, which says that Fair Use gives the individual the RIGHT to make or obtain a backup copy for works which the individual paid for.

Nothing in the statute says where that backup has to come from, only that you must have - at some point in your life - lawfully purchased a valid copy of the product.

Q.E.D. downloading a copy of something you paid for - at some point in your life - is not and cannot be a crime. Proof of ownership? Keeping receipts for everything under the sun? What's that they say about "Possession is 9/10's of the law"?

Lawyers and Copyright Trolls may claim otherwise, but a simple reading of the statue is all that's needed. Basic Law says you do not read into a law something it does not explicitly state. Basic (American) Law also states that a law which cannot be easily understood by the people to whom it is to apply is Void For Vagueness. Corrupt NSA-influenced Judges, DA's and those whose profession is centered around the District of Criminals will say otherwise, but they've already shown they, and their words, are not to be trusted.

In Europe, well . . .didn't the infamous Marie Antoinette case offer guidance?

(No, I'm only a little bit cynical.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: even if he did...

There are many legitimate reasons to use proxies in the UK, I'd say they far outweigh the illegal reasons.

The primary example being ordering things online with your UK credit card while you're abroad.

The anri fraud systems in place in the ecommerce industry are 'dumb as shit', they check the IP matches the country where the card was issued.

Hundreds of thousands of Brits who live abroad either full time or part time still use UK banks and order things on the internet from all over the world, software, etc and are routinely blocked by these 'fraud filters' - it's a real pain in the ass.

So many times has my order been 'put on hold' for an investigation, once they refunded the legitimate purchase of several hundred dollars even though I'd been issued a working serial number - complete dumbasses.

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'It's the City of London police - they don't need to do evidence or law or courts.'

Ah, so he was black then?

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@streaky

They take away your IT equipment for 'forensic analysis' - hey, you might be downloading child terrorism copyright infringement porn - and if that's your main tool for work you're screwed. They keep/destroy your equipment, you can't earn, so lose your house. Once you're destitute they drop all charges and everything's hunky dory, no misconduct, nothing to see here, move along.

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Anonymous Coward

'arrested'?

nobody has actually been arrested in this country for about 20 years as far as i can gather, violently beaten and abducted, computers stolen....you now have to rip up all the floor boards and rip down ceilings looking for the cameras and other devices, destroy all food, burn clothes- no longer safe to live there if they know where you are it's not safe to be there anymore....

and you say no crime has been committed?

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Re: even if he did...

and also....

....if i sell hammers. somebody buys hammer....that somebody runs up behind some random stranger and hit shim seven times in the head with it, he has no head anymore......is the hammer guilty of a crime? am I guilty of a crime?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @streaky

Been there and experienced that.

I was arrested and questioned for 8 hours; released and all charges dropped in 4 days.

Computer equipment returned a year later in a "non functional" condition.

Some of it I managed to get working again, but a laptop and one HDD were trashed, and a lot of flash memory cards and OS disks were "missing" (along with ~£200 in mixed foreign currency)

As mentioned above, they ALMOST CERTAINLY know they cant convict him of anything, but by seizing his equipment they put him out of business, and if he has enough to buy/lease new equipment, they will just keep arresting him until he runs out of money.

By the time the first arrest comes to court, they could have arrested him and seized equipment a further 10-20 times.

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Re: No "real" crime...

1) Ask a friend in 3rd country where smut is not illegal to send porn to various MPs.

2) Anonymously report the MPs to the police for being in possession of illegal porn

3) Profit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @streaky

@AC. Luckily, I've never been in that position. However, if you are never convicted and the equipment returned, surely the police have to pay for any damaged/missing items? I was aware Customs had the right to trash stuff and not worry about it, but I thought the police were different?

In your case, I guess a lot of coppers are now running your operating systems etc.etc. They're either thieving b**tards or too incompetent to ensure they return everything in good order, so should loose their jobs either way.

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Are they going to start arresting everyone who runs subscription VPN services next? O_o That guy set up a portal to access... 32 sites was it? My VPN subscription (for which the normal use is watching French and German telly) allows me to access PRETTY MUCH EVERY BLOCKED SITE.

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Re: even if he did...

>>In principle, maybe. However, the USA has a written constitution. The UK has nothing to protect against governments making it up as they go along(*), and the hereditary principle in no way improves that situation.

Ummm... the UK has a massive constitution, from Magna Carta onwards, it's extremely developed, mature and enshrined for centuries, Bill of Rights, Claim of Rights, all the numerous provisions, statutes and acts, which by the way the US constitution (or "Constitution for Dummies" as it's known as) is based upon.

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Re: even if he did...

>>On the other hand, in the UK your rights are not specifically codified anywhere, so if bad actors want to pretend those rights don't exist there's nothing for you to point to to say they do in fact exist.

hahahahahahaha!!!!

The US constitution is built upon British documents, Magna Carta for a start, and it's no coincidence that the first ten amendments are called the "Bill of Rights", they are called that because they are based on the British "Bill of Rights" from the 1600's, you're just a bunch of copycats from an upstart British colony.

Besides, how valid is your constitution when you have sedation acts which means the government can do whatever they like to you if you act against them?

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My guess....

I suspect he was actually providing a proxy service, providing access to copywrite material is significantly different to merely using a proxy.

This is why Google don't provide links to (some) torrents, but it's still in the fine line between holding material you didn't pay for and giving access to the same said material, with a vaguely competent lawyer he should be fine, for a start they would have to prove loss or damage, you can't be guilty of speeding merely by having a car capable of speeding.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The UK has nothing to protect against governments making it up as they go along

"In principle, maybe. However, the USA has a written constitution. The UK has nothing to protect against governments making it up as they go along"

A common misconception.

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i'm no anonymous coward.....and thumbs down.....govt paid trolls then presumably?

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Re: No "real" crime...

nice plan...but those on the govt payroll and those who collaborate are immune from that you fool!

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Coat

Re: even if he did...

".is the hammer guilty of a crime? am I guilty of a crime?"

the hammer is most certainly guilty of a crime. and will therefore have to do time.

ergo Hammertime.

yeah ok, i'll go now.

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Re: even if he did...

27 is more than you care to count?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: even if he did...

@Fibbles

"The thing has been amended, appended and reinterpreted more times than I care to count."

So? There's no rule that says it was perfect when written and can can never be improved. (That's just an assumption in YOUR mind).

The difference is that the amendments were by mutual consent, NOT by decree.

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Re: @streaky

Firstly he should not have signed to say they took it, secondly got a solicitor and a barrister to ensure that all numbers etc were listed, that all monies were listed with note serial numbers, that the police have returned the equipment in the condition it was in including restitution of time costs eg interest on money held, and to ensure that as a consequence the software on the computer etc was kept up to date.

You must realise that the filth are exactly that, that 33% or the bill are bent, that 33% could not give a fxxk and that only leaves about 33 % that MAY be any good.

For example we were told by a police force that a drunk juvenile (12) on drugs was nothing to do with the filth by the control room causing a serious disturbance at 23:00. This within 500yds of where a girl of the same age was murdered and said gang of thieves never found the culprit!

However set up the VPN from abroad for the UK even the Met have trouble with that. Mine is from Spain and I do not live in the UK but it is not for filth with which I do not agree.

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Re: even if he did...

Indeed, the United Kingdom is a satellite nation of the leaders of the free world which in turn is governed by the financial capitalists', namely the corporations that in turn have a huge influence on the law through their enormous lobbying network. Goodbye democracy and welcome to the new autocracy.

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Re: even if he did...

"Here in the US it's a crime to do something where the primary aim of that something is to circumvent a law"

Yes - A crminal law.

The blocking of websites is a civil matter, all the court orders are in civil court, naming individual websites/IPs and applicable to individual ISPs (who must have more than 50,000 customers.)

There is no crime here. It's a civil matter and the COLP are operating WELL outside their legal jurisdiction.

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Re: even if he did...

Did you run a background check on the individual to make sure they haven't already bought 10 hammers?

What did you do to ensure that they haven't been accused of participating in a violent crime in the past?

Did the individual say anything you thought was suspicious?

If the answers to the above questions aren't satisfactory then, yes, you have committed a crime.

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Pint

Re: even if he did...

And yet, UK residents have lost the right to stay silent when accused of a crime. How did that happen?

Everyone reading this forum knows you can be imprisoned indefinitely in the UK for not giving them your keys, even if you don't have any to give!

There is nothing that the UK govt cannot make legal (or illegal) just by changing the law.

There is a reason the founding fathers wrote it down, and there are separate branches of Govt. With as much "flux" as there was in Europe in the 1700's, it is clear they understood the malign intent of the ruling classes to abuse any and all political power. It is not a finished document, but it remains an amazing statement of "self-evident truths".

Of course the US constitution has roots in many documents prior to it, English being the working language, but let's not forget the French revolution and the somewhat amazing Ben Franklin.

As with most things English, the Americans found unique ways of improving upon them...

Beer, as that is one thing the Americans have improved drastically in the last few years...;-)

P.

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>>"Ah, so he was black then?"

This is the Met. Whilst they are a bit racist, in general they're willing to fit people up for a crime regardless of race or ethnicity. They're very fair like that.

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>Ah, so he was black then?

The one good thing you can say about the City of London police is that they don't care about your race, creed or colour - anyone who isn't a giant corporation is equally guilty.

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Linux

Re: @streaky

I had two clueless Scotland Yard defectives (they really were "dicks") try to steal my computers because they didn't run Windoze or anything else they recognised: I must have been up to no good....

The error of their ways was explaned to them by my (very expensive) legal eagle, and my successful damages claim ran to six figures.

I don't think they're defectives any more - they'll be lucky to be directing traffic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No "real" crime...

Actually, that's not something a mother does. It is something a father does.

For the mother.

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Re: even if he did...

So the argument is, that it's better to have something written down, and ignored, than it is to have nothing written down at all?

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Jolly good work.

It's good to see our no bobbies engaged in top crime prevention. None of that soft stuff like people being beaten up or killed or raped or kidnapped or kept in the cellar (ooo... that reminds me) etc etc etc. NO! Downloading stuff over a length of cable is where the REAL crime is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jolly good work.

It is though, think of all those poor execs, actors and musicians who can only afford a £300 of wine instead of the £1000 bottle they wanted. When you download that DVD you had no intention of buying anyway you have robbed them of the money you wouldn't have spent not buying the DVD.

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Silver badge

Re: Jolly good work.

This was the City of London cops. They're not "real" police, they are corporate police. Real policing in London is carried out by the Metropolitan Police although technically within the City of London's area the City of London cops are also responsible for real policing.

Good to see that in a "raid", a private individual from the Federation Against Copyright ViolationTheft, a private for-profit organisation funded by large studios, was invited along for the ride.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jolly good work.

"Good to see that in a "raid", a private individual from the Federation Against Copyright ViolationTheft, a private for-profit organisation funded by large studios, was invited along for the ride."

They probably took a video of the raid, which will find its way onto dodgy sites, be downloaded etc. and round and round you go..

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Re: Jolly good work.

"When you download that DVD you had no intention of buying anyway you have robbed them of the money you wouldn't have spent not buying the DVD."

So if you weren't gonna pay for it then why the fuck watch it? Would you be impressed if your boss told you to turn up tomorrow but he/she had no intention of paying you anyway? You do realise that not everyone in the media industries are on million dollar incomes yeah..?

Oh of course, you're a FREETARD == gimme gimme gimme gimme more more more!

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