back to article Tory terror police were 'fishing' for Liberty

Damian Green said being arrested and questioned by anti-terror police would have been a frightening experience, if it hadn't been so comical. Green said it was like the Keystone Kops - police called David Cameron's office to try and track Green down and they inititially surrounded the wrong house. Police took computers, …

COMMENTS

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  1. Gregor
    Unhappy

    Yet another example

    of the Government overstepping the mark. I do not like the Tories, at all, ever, but they are Her Majesty's Opposition, and should be protected in the fullest extent of the law when they are fulfilling their duties accordingly. These duties include holding the Government to account.

    I'm not even going to waste energy discussing the uselessness of the Speaker.

  2. Dan
    Thumb Down

    Bad

    'Disturbing' doesn't even cover it...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    How long...?

    I wonder how long before an awkward opposition MP suddenly gets involved in a mysterious car accident on a lonely stretch of road?

    How did I end up living in a third-world country without moving?

    Anon because... well, there are a lot of lonely stretches of roads near where I live!

  4. Sam C

    An example of why we need to fight draconian laws

    The whole "if you're innocent, you've nothing to worry about" argument doesn't take into account police incompetence (or is it malice?). The more power we give to the police, the more chance we'll end up with wrongful detentions / convictions, either because they have prejudice against groups like Liberty (an entirely legitimate and relatively moderate organisation), or because they don't like you for whatever reason.

    I think the G20 fiasco shows just how much we can trust the police as an organisation.

  5. breakfast
    Paris Hilton

    @How long...?

    Well, a few years ago the only senior labour politician who had made a genuine ethical stand against the iraq war and could have lead a convincing Labour resistance to Blair died out in the middle of nowhere.

    Almost certainly a coincidence, but it does have a certain FU quality to it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Facism, plain and simple

    I'm reminded of the illustration of a frog in slowly heated water boiling to death; how can we be so blind / complacent to the gradual enroachment of facism upon our government and society? (disguised as things like 'anti-terror' law, 'political correctness' and Gordon Brown's 'moral compas')

    Orwell must be turning in his grave saying 'I told you so'. While the movie 'V for Vendetta' looks less and less like a fantasy and more like a documentary every day.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fishing Expedition

    How often do minor offences lead to full scale searches looking for evidence of more serious crimes? Quite often I believe. Look at the case in Plymouth where those teenagers were arrested under anti-terror laws when the original accusation was graffiting. The Damian Green case is disturbing for many reasons, but one is that the police regarded it as an excuse to go flicking through just about. Was the intention intimidation?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did they take DNA samples?

    Download truecrypt www.truecrypt.org

    It's free, it's has the backing of a person I know professionally (but you do your own research). Set it to encrypt the whole volume, the performance is enough that you will not notice it is encrypting and decrypting on the fly.

    It's really up to MPs to protect their own and their constituents privacy. E.g. your cellphone is tracked, as is everyone else's, so when your constituent comes to visit that's logged in a database too (will be a big central database is Jacqui gets her way), as is your private visits and any other information of 'national interest'.

    So for example, if your cell phone showed you visiting a clinic that specialized in stds a few times, a 'protector of the national interests' in blue might suspect you had an std, which he then might have a little dig to see whose cellphone you called and who you collocated with (whose phone was in the same location as yours often). Thus your secret may be 'reveal' in 'the national interest' to a newspaper by a politically motivated officer.

    I wonder if they took DNA samples from that bed, or if it was just searched for hidden documents. That would be interesting wouldn't it, a politically motivated officer could reveal any DNA test results from the MP. If the DNA national database was there, they could locate who slept with who and leak that.

    The ability of officers, empowered to grab any and all information, with unlimited access to mass databases of private information, and to treat 'the national interests' as 'the labour government interests' is quite terrifying.

    The UK faces no great threat, no worse than any other western nation, yet look at what they've become.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Propaganda?

    I certainly don't like what labour and their cronies in the police have done here, but why are we pretending that they are the only ones capable of spreading propaganda?

    At present we only seem to have the word of an MP that the police searched for items relating to Liberty.

    Hardly the most convincing evidence.

  10. Gordon Silver badge

    Sam C - Trusting the Police

    Dont blame the police - blame the real culprits.

    I think its a little unfair to tar all the rozzers with the same brush. In any organisation there are people who will exceed their limits, whether its battering a protester or nicking an MP on a politically dubious charge.

    Saying you dont trust the Police as an organisation is harsh. Its should be expected that the police try to push the boundaries - infact its healthly that they do so. Criminals arent known for staying inside those boundaries.

    Where there has been a massive failure is among the people who are MEANT to restrain the police and dictate their limits - namely the current government - who have gone out of their way in the last 8 years to suggest any conduct is acceptable if its to defend the state from harm. The harm of course being anything the current Govt decides it is.

  11. Francis Fish
    Happy

    Detained for only nine hours?

    Lucky man.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Facism, plain and simple

    Yes - but years of political corruption and incompetence have spawned the greatest voter apathy of all time... so the general response to walking into a fascist state is going to be 'meh' until such time as they roll out the swastikas.

    Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Don't think for a moment..

    Don't think for a moment that the Tories wouldn't abuse police powers in the same way if they were in government.. in fact the same is true of pretty much any political party. Even the fluffy ones.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gordon

    Police should not "push" the "Boundaries" Police should operate within the law, at all times, with no exceptions, and the law should not be "open to interpretation" as far as the Police are concerned. It's the courts job to interpret the letter and meaning of the law, it is to the police to act upon the "letter" of the law as appropriate for the situation. Ergo a police officer may decide based upon the situation and environment that a person should simply be warned and sent on their way for a breach of the peace in one situation however in another situation they may decide to arrest the person.

  15. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Boffin

    Liberty "moderate"?

    Yeah, about as moderate as the average left-wing, anti-capitalist group. Which makes it all the funnier - why on Earth would the Tories be sharing info with Shameless Chakrabarti? That's a bit like searching for "KGB" or "FSB". Much more likely this was a random search word thrown in to deflect attention from some real searches (which would seem to have worked given the response of the journo community). Either that or Labour secretly view Shami and co as a risk to national security rather than just a bunch of attention-seeking oxygen-wasters.

    If the reports are true, it does paint a picture of the whole Police investigation as both rushed and inept, which is at odds with the thorough cybercrime work done by such people as the Metropolitan Police's CCU. Maybe only those coppers trusted to toe the Party line were involved, such as Bob Quick, and not real resources.

  16. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    Worrying times

    Schmidt (and her equally unpleasant predecessors) have deliberately created their own politically-motivated Cheka.

    But they are too incompetent - or just plain too dumb - to have made any contingency plans for the situation (becoming very likely) when the creation spirals out of control, and turns against, and bites its master.

    This does not bode well for the rest of us..

    Back in 42 days (internal haemorrhage permitting)

  17. Cameron Colley

    RE: Sam C - Trusting the Police

    The police "as an organisation" is proving itself to be corrupt. If they were "pushing the boundaries" to nick burglars, thieves and rapists then your argument might hold -- but they are not, they are using badly though out (or cleverly vague depending on your standpoint) laws to harass and detain people on the off-chance that they might find some innocuous information (photographs, documents...) that they can use to press terrorism charges even though they no the person poses little or no threat.

  18. Will
    IT Angle

    How does he know?

    Surely most people reading TheReg have some idea how forensic searches of computers are done - and in case you don't, take it from me that it doesn't involve leaving information about your keywords on the PC being searched.

    How does he know what they searched for?

  19. Wokstation

    @Anon Coward (DNA samples)

    Refusal to give a cypher key on demand from the police is a criminal offense...

  20. Matthew Brown
    Unhappy

    I would rather risk...

    ...the Tories _starting_ to exploit these powers, than let the existing administration continue to do it as flagrantly as they do.

  21. MnM
    Thumb Up

    @Ted

    Chin up! I prescribe regular sit-ups and The Count of Monte Cristo.

    Hope you don't mind me borrowing Schmidt in the meantime :)

  22. Jeff

    @Will

    if this was a search of e.g. his house of commons email, then I'd imagine it to be a high security system with auditing and logging at all levels.

    Either that or b. someone was present whilst they searched or c. this information was divulged by the police to the MP in question after legal pressure.

  23. Luther Blissett

    Wot, no mention of Smith?

    Alrighty, just to balance things out - control see control tea control vi the following:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article6120207.ece

    (Things are pretty ugly - you have been warned)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Phwoar!

    I would love to make the perfect Shami Kebab with Ms. Chakrabarti. With, uh, plenty of sauce...?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re refusal to give key...

    RTFM (truecrypt) and you will be enlightened

  26. Cameron Colley

    @Aimee

    Since we all read your comment then we no longer have any free space on our hard drives -- "it's not encrypted" reads the same as "I forgot my password" when you admit that the two are technically the same.

  27. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @Gordon

    "Its should be expected that the police try to push the boundaries - infact its healthly that they do so."

    No way in hell is it "healthy" that the Police push the boundaries, see the G20 protests (aggressive tactics, concealed ID numbers, assaults etc) for what happens when those boundaries start getting pushed!

    The job of the Police is to Maintain the Queen's Peace so that people may go about their lawful business without let or hindrance and investigate breaches of the law, however they *MUST* do it within set limits otherwise they start becoming "Judge, Jury and Executioner".

    Remember that the Police are a civilian organisation subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

  28. Ian Rowe
    Unhappy

    Re: Liberty "moderate"?

    I am intrigued as to where your perception of Liberty and more specifically Shami Chakrabarti comes from. I can understand a resentment of the organisation for not tackling issues like the smoking ban with equal vigor as they do other issues. I can also understand a dislike for Shami's reputed lack of humour.

    I could hardly use those two points to dismiss the organisation as a waste of oxygen and regard Shami as shameless. In fact, having listened to her myself I am quite impressed. Maybe you can enlighten me as to her unrealised shame.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Curious..

    What I want to know is, how it came about they were searching for Shamis what's her name in the first place?

    The cops were investigating allegations of unlawful disclosure of government information, so what prompted them to search for the name of the director of Liberty when she couldn't have played any part in the investigation?

    Did the Home Secretary or other politician construct a list of people's names that had been a thorn in the Labour government's side and hand that to Mr. Quick and ask him to dig for any dirt on them?

    I think there should be an enquiry into this, independent of course.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Naked MI5 Officers

    There's one in the bush outside my house!

  31. Alfonso Vespucci

    @ How does he know what they searched for

    They asked the only person in the building who would know....

    "OK Green. If you think you're so clever, how do you spell Shammy Chack Rab Batty?"

  32. Tony
    Boffin

    @Will

    "Surely most people reading TheReg have some idea how forensic searches of computers are done "

    I actually suspect not - I have had some specific training in this area (although I am not a specialist), and it is clear that the majority of IT people are unaware of the correct procedures. (For reference, below)

    http://www.7safe.com/electronic_evidence/ACPO_guidelines_computer_evidence.pdf

    From the text in the article, it's possible that the police actually breached their own guidelines - now the text of the article could be incorrect, but if it is the case that they failed to follow the guidelines, any evidence found would be inadmissable in court. It is also likely that the whole case would be thrown out.

    Note that it is also the case, that generally, text of emails is not admissable as evidence, although any data on the transmission of emails is potentially admissable.

    An interesting point is that the police have to get permission to access the PC otherwise they are in potential breach of the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. This would have to come from someone that has the authority to issue this permission; I don't know who that would be in this case as it depends upon who owns the equipment / system it is connected to.

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