back to article British spooks seize tech from Snowden journo's boyfriend at airport

The Brazilian partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald – Edward Snowden's go-to reporter for the dissemination of sensitive papers about the NSA's dragnet surveillance programmes – has been released from custody. The 28-year-old was held for almost nine hours for questioning by Metropolitan Police officers when he passed …

COMMENTS

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  1. Christoph Silver badge

    He was lucky :-(

    He got off a lot easier than the last Brazilian they went after!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was lucky :-(

      The legislation used against him was allowed to be passed by the voters. The abuses of that law are also now being ignored by the majority. Half the voters don't even show up in an election. What does that say about the process.

      The voter is the boss, not civil servants. If you don't like it, fight against that law and all the other ones invading your privacy on a minute to minute basis. Terror, security, and fear are being exploited by governments who want to keep you in line, rather than you keeping THEM in line. Don't blame the government. Blame your own lackadaisical attitude in letting others decide your fate.

      If nothing is done, then don't say a thing when you or someone you care about is held without charge and has their electronics seized on suspicion.

      1. Bogle
        Stop

        Re: He was lucky :-(

        The Act used is from 2000 (Labour). The use of the Act was yesterday (Con/Lib). So who, for crying out loud, are you proposing I should vote for? Plaid Cymru?

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          I'm pretty sure the only voters involved with the passing of the act were politicians.

          I doubt it went to a referendum.

        2. Bogle
          Coat

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          Sorry, I'll assume the downvote is from a Plaid Cymru MP. Hywel, is that you?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He was lucky :-(

            Baaa!

            with love

            Shaun

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: who I should vote for? Plaid Cymru?

          The only party with consistent strong opposition to the security forces is probably Sinn Fein

        4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Meh

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          "The use of the Act was yesterday (Con/Lib). So who, for crying out loud, are you proposing I should vote for? Plaid Cymru?"

          I think his point might have had something to with the idea that silence = compliance.

          Just a thought.

          1. dan1980
            Megaphone

            Re: He was lucky :-(

            "I think his point might have had something to with the idea that silence = compliance."

            And it would be a fair point if outrage = well, anything really. But it doesn't.

            Look to the US, where, from opposition, Obama criticised the use of 'national security' as an excuse for essentially throwing entire cases out of court and promised that his government would be far more selective, only blocking certain, classified and sensitive information but never blocking the entire case. And, in Government, what has he done? Use the exact methods he was criticising (and promising not to use) in exactly the same way and for exactly the same purpose. In fact it seems likely now that the use of that provision has exceeded even the worst indiscretions and heavy-handedness of the Bush administration.

            So go ahead, vote-in the other, barely distinguishable crew of smug gladhands if that makes you feel better.

        5. Spoddyhalfwit

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          Fortunately we have the Queen and her quite marvellous son, they are very concerned about the rights of us common folk, and would shoot down any draconian laws like this. Thank god for democracy eh?

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Bogle (Re: He was lucky :-( )

          <cough>...compulsory preferential voting...<cough>

        7. dan1980

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          Same here (Aus) unfortunately, and evidently in the US too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The legislation used against him was allowed to be passed by the voters.

        There was no vote by the general public. There was no vote on war in Iraq. Bliar brought that in, and embarked on his illegal war in Iraq. Vote by public is not part of the process. Sheeple will vote for anything at a general election

        1. Scroticus Canis
          Big Brother

          Re: The legislation used against him was allowed to be passed by the voters.

          So right about Bliar helping start the Iraq war (with fabricated evidence for which he has still not been brought to book) and so right about the sheeple voting for anything. Let's not forget they voted him in again after he was shown to be a blatant bloody-handed liar.

          Anyone else remeber him saying he was given "a mandate by the country" when he got in on less than 40% of the vote? Isn't the UK's consituency system a wonderful example of democracy - NOT! Without a decent proportional repersentation system the UK is doomed to get the government they deserve rather than the one they want.

          1984 ain't knocking on the door; it kicked it in and plundered your house for a long time now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The legislation used against him was allowed to be passed by the voters.

            >Let's not forget they voted him in again after he was shown to be a blatant bloody-handed liar.

            I was so disgusted by that I left the country. Never returned. I still don't understand how they (the electorate) could do it. For the promise of taking successful peoples money and handing it to them? They liked that spray-on grin so much they couldn't control themselves? Fuckwits.

            I don't think PR would make the tiniest improvement though. There'd still be broad cross-party support for every mindless malignant bill to further oppress the plebs. Tinkering with the "representation" model couldn't change that... may even weaken what trace constituency accountability might exist!

      3. squigbobble
        Flame

        Re: He was lucky :-(

        "Allowed to be passed by the voters"

        This isn't Switzerland (AFAIK the only true democracy in Europe). Do you actually have a clue what a representative democracy is? Every 4 years there's a popularity contest that one team wins (for varying values of 'win', as we've lately seen) then you cross your fingers and hope that the contest winners won't do anything stupid in the next 4 years, which they invariably will do. There's a variety of systems in place to stop the proles from interrupting things in the period between popularity contests, these have both positive effects (political stability) and negative ones (the winners can do virtually anything they want as long as it takes less than 4 years) so we're stuck. Then there's all the stuff that's being driven by the civil service, people that few proles know the existence of and even fewer voted for. When politicos start talking about the voters having any sort of influence it's either 'cos we're in the run up to another popularity contest or they're trying to deflect blame from themselves by making you feel guilty for somet' you had no choice about.

        On a side note, did you vote for us to invade Iraq? No, 'cos nobody asked you to. Somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 proles demonstrated their opinion on that and it made not a blind bit of difference. That's the anti-interruption systems kicking in. The IRA had more power in the UK than the voters do now :(

        1. Magnus_Pym

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          Democracy? No we have the them-and-us-merry-go-round system instead. Anything bad that happens is blamed on 'them' and anything good was obviously a gift from 'us'. Every so often the 'them' and the 'us' swap places so the blame game can be perpetuated. The whole thing is run by career politicians who's sole aim in politics is to further their career. Where is the incentive to serve the people when serving a party makes you so much richer? Where is the incentive to say something meaningful when you can blame the previous incumbents and keep the merry-go-round spinning profitably on. It's only every five years or so that we get a say and even then we can only say some variation of 'us' or 'them' so who cares.

        2. Efros
          Pint

          Every 4 years there's a popularity contest

          Every 5 years mate, our colonial cousins have 4 year terms.

          1. despairing citizen
            Happy

            Re: Every 4 years there's a popularity contest

            "Every 5 years mate, our colonial cousins have 4 year terms."

            unless the PM realises that the evidence he is so utterly incompetant that even the average voter will figure it out in the next couple of months, hence time to have a snap election.

          2. squigbobble
            FAIL

            Re: Every 4 years there's a popularity contest

            *facepalm* I'm shite at remembering numbers :|

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Miek
        Linux

        Re: He was lucky :-(

        "The voter is the boss, not civil servants. If you don't like it, fight against that law and all the other ones invading your privacy on a minute to minute basis. Terror, security, and fear are being exploited by governments who want to keep you in line, rather than you keeping THEM in line. Don't blame the government. Blame your own lackadaisical attitude in letting others decide your fate." -- Oh, Hi, You must have been born yesterday !!!

      5. batfastad

        Re: He was lucky :-(

        If voting was actually that powerful and able to effect the amount of change that you suggest, there is no way we would be allowed to do it.

        I'm not saying that I don't vote. I toddle along and put an X in the box (the mark of the illiterate) from the menu of liars, scumbags and idiots, like everyone else does. But at the end of the day I'm still voting for liars, scumbags and idiots.

        "Politicians are not born. They are excreted."

        - Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106BC - 43BC

        1. browntomatoes

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          Voting isn't the only option you have in a democracy. You can also stand for office yourself.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He was lucky :-(

            or you can work to change public opinion & the political debate without ever standing for office.

          2. Vic

            Re: He was lucky :-(

            > You can also stand for office yourself.

            Do you have the money for that? Because I don't. Not across the country, anyway.

            Vic.

        2. Maty

          Re: He was lucky :-(

          "Politicians are not born. They are excreted."

          Not disagreeing with the sentiment, but I doubt Cicero said it. You'll find the quote all over the net - but never with a reference, and seldom in Latin (and with Aristotle and Zeno as alternative sources).

          In Cicero's day there was no word for 'politician' - a man of a certain status did politics, but he also did jurisprudence and military command. The 'professional politician' is a product of modern toilets.

      6. JCitizen
        Thumb Up

        Re: He was lucky :-(

        Here Here AC - I agree wholeheartedly!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was lucky :-(

      I don't know. What's the place coming to? All these Brazilians coming over here with their strange expectations of life and liberty, taking all our lead and trying to use our airports. They don't seem to have any idea how to live in a police state. The Stasi will fix them, that's what I say.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was lucky :-(

      Certainly was lucky. If they'd managed to find the tiniest excuse to arrest him - something encrypted, a whiff of a "result" on some dubious chemical contact test, or whatever, they'd have had a full month to piss him about. I wonder if they swabbed him. Thank God Neo Labour got the 2006 terrorism act through to protect us.

      Should have been a quarter of a year mind.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: He was lucky :-(

      "He got off a lot easier than the last Brazilian they went after!"

      True

      "Brazilian waxed by UK Gun Cops" as one of Rupe's "newpapers" might report it.

  2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Just shows

    How "intelligence" services anywhere in the world are serving none but themselves and would rather lend a hand to their foreign counterparts to wage their revenge on an embarrassing whistle-blower, than think of their own country's interests...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just shows

      Yep just shows how stupid they are and have just poured petrol onto their already burning PR crisis.

  3. Flatpackhamster

    Keith Vaz?

    TheyWorkForYou.com indicates that he voted very strongly in favour of anti-terror legislation. It doesn't specifically detail the legislation referenced in the article, but for everything else, Keith Vaz voted in favour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keith Vaz?

      Vaz has a remarkable track record for being a contradictory rent-a-quote. A number of stories in Private Eye describe his dubious behaviour ...

    2. JohnG Silver badge

      Re: Keith Vaz?

      "The legal grounds for his detention are currently being disputed by Labour MP Keith Vaz, among others, who told Radio 4 he was concerned about the apparent use of "terrorism legislation for something that does not appear to relate to terrorism"."

      Keith Vaz obviously has a short memory: when his party was in power and bringing in all the draconian anti-teror legislation, there were plenty of people complaining that the laws were too vague and could be abused but the leadership of the Labour government accused them of overreacting. The subsequent rampant abuse of RIPA by councils and others is no secret but while we have such legislation in place, we can expect the authorities to use them.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Keith Vaz?

        "....,Vaz added that he was not aware that personal property could be confiscated under the laws....." Keith Vaz seems to know very little other than the numbers for rent-a-quote journos.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Keith Vaz?

          ...Vaz added that he was not aware that personal property could be confiscated under the laws...

          They were almost certainly after Key material. They will have intercepted lots of encrypted emails from Snowden and associated journalists and contacts, and now they are going after the keys. I hope none of that crowd keep their keys on their laptops in clear...

          1. Vic

            Re: Keith Vaz?

            > I hope none of that crowd keep their keys on their laptops in clear...

            It wouldn't matter if the keys were encrypted - under RIPA2K, it is an offence not to decrypt such materials or hand over the decryption keys when ordered to by someone with the appropriate pwers.

            And that covers far more than police and judiciary :-(

            Vic.

    3. smudge Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Keith Vaz?

      If bandwagon-jumping was an athletics event then Keith Vaz would win more golds than Usain Bolt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keith Vaz?

        "If bandwagon-jumping was an athletics event then Keith Vaz would win more golds than Usain Bolt."

        And next is the rev. JesseJackson.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keith Vaz?

      The odious little shit. They inflict this repugnant legislation on us, then when they get slung out of office, they try to use its existence to score points against the other lot.

      ...and the tossers then have the gall to feign consternation at the fact "it has become fashionable" to loathe them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keith Vaz?

        "Re: Keith Vaz?

        The odious little shit"

        I think you're being unfair to genuine odious little shits here; Vaz is a very special case, only one close is Margaret Hodge.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keith Vaz?

      There's a lovely phrase that used to be popular with the local press crew which, writ large, could be Vazs epitaph: - "He'd turn up for the opening of a paper bag if there was half a column inch and a photo in it."

  4. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    "The chances are, however, that terrorism legislation was used simply because..."

    ... it was convenient and let them do pretty much whatever the hell they liked without having to worry about allowing him legal representation or any other semblence of proper process...

    1. dan1980

      Re: "The chances are, however, that terrorism legislation was used simply because..."

      . . . which is exactly the problem that every civil liberties group has with every such legislation across all affected countries.

      Each time, the Government of the day makes reassurances about 'safeguards' and 'reviews' and 'independent commissioners' and implies that anyone worried about the law being used indiscriminately is misinformed or paranoid.

      Each time, a predictable bunch of people will repeat the fallacy that "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" and completely miss the point.

      And, each time the laws will be misused and all the warnings of the civil liberties groups proven to be accurate.

      And yet, nothing changes.

      You can vote out the mob that put the legislation in but the laws are never repealed due to law enforcement saying that (despite them not having it a few years ago) it would be a major setback and cripple their operations.

  5. Red Bren
    Pirate

    No need for a third runway at Heathrow

    Anyone who cares about personal liberty and free speech will be flying via Schipol from now on.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: BluGreen Re: Red Bren No need for a third runway at Heathrow

          Unhappy, moi? Quite the opposite, indeed I was expressing my happiness at the reduction in queues Red Bren's idea would cause at Heathrow, only it looks like the moderator took exception to me expressing the idea that you and your ilk wouldn't be missed, all of which only makes me laugh harder!

          1. BlueGreen

            Re: BluGreen Red Bren No need for a third runway at Heathrow

            Yes, matt, we know you were happy. You expressed that quite clearly. We *all* got that, in fact

            My post, which I must point out was given allegorically because you seem to have not understood it to be expressed in such a device, was that you were, are, and likely ever will be, that which you despise.

            > all of which only makes me laugh harder!

            I actually feel sorry for you.

          2. majorursa
            Trollface

            Re: BluGreen Red Bren No need for a third runway at Heathrow

            @Matt are you OK with the moderator checking the origin of your webconnection? Since you obviously don't care about the revelations made by Snowden we better should go all the way, right? Let's print the IP right next to the name.

            I'm also sure you're not a 'plant' from the Service, because they wouldn't state their 'opinion' in such a abrasive and clearly biassed way.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

              Re: majorusa Re: BluGreen Red Bren No need for a third runway at Heathrow

              "@Matt are you OK with the moderator checking the origin of your webconnection?...." Don't be silly, in order to sign up for an account you have to give El Reg an email account, so they already have plenty to go on. But then El Reg does have obligations under their own Ts&Cs regarding privacy, so it would actually be in breach of their own rules to do as you suggest. And then they'd probably also be worried about the kind of skiddies posting here and what stupidity they might do, getting themselves in all types of trouble with the law, should they be given an IP address. On the other hand, would I be bothered about El Reg giving my details and IP address to the authorities? Not a problem at all.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

      And exactly how are you going to get to Schipol from Blighty?

      Aren't there UK Border Numbskulls at places like Harwich, Dover etc?

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

        "And exactly how are you going to get to Schipol from Blighty?"

        Easy: swim the Channel

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

          Easy: swim the Channel

          That's all very well for you, but I'm not sure your laptop and phone will be too happy. It's likely to find life considerably more comfortable in the clutches of the boys in blue, than in those of the deep blue...

      2. Red Bren
        Unhappy

        Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

        "And exactly how are you going to get to Schipol from Blighty?"

        To quote an old joke, I wouldn't start from here. This isn't about flying to or from Blighty. Mr Miranda was flying from Berlin to Rio but was nabbed during his transfer at Heathrow. From now on I daresay he will avoid any stopovers at uk airports, as will any other journalist that dares to write stories embarrassing the US/uk spooks.

      3. Brian Morrison
        Big Brother

        Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

        Well, I presume that Schiphol will be very useful when it comes to getting from Germany to Brazil without passing through the UK.

        Mind you with the European Arrest Warrant in use then most, if not all, bets are off anyway.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

      "Anyone who cares about personal liberty and free speech will be flying via Schipol from now on"

      Not to mention the in terminal casino and diamond sellers.

      Although I do not believe there are any "coffee houses" on the premises.

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

      I fly through schipol just to avoid Heathrow anyway

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow

      Wouldn't be so sure about that... had my backpack ripped to shreds there in 2001 (post Sep 11, I hasten to add).

  6. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Hmmm, and this from a administration

    that is going after bullying websites ?

    1. Don Jefe
      Unhappy

      Re: Hmmm, and this from a administration

      That's a great point, but don't forget that terrorism anti-terrorism enforcers aren't subject to the law in any Western country anymore, so they are allowed, even encouraged to bully.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guily by association? Classy stuff by the spooks, who clearly don't have any understanding of what bad PR is.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Not guilty by association as he wasn't even charged, but "interesting by association" is mostly what spooks look at.

    2. Bumpy Cat

      He was travelling from a meeting with Edward Snowden's contact, to a meeting with Glenn Greenwald, paid for by the Guardian. Whether this was appropriate or proportionate is up for debate, but he was not stopped just for being associated with Greenwald.

      1. Magnus_Pym

        " Whether this was appropriate or proportionate is up for debate"

        Where was the terror? He was held using 'anti-terror' legislation. Not 'a-powerful-ally-doesn't-like-you' legislation.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Facepalm

          One of the options in the act is to be in possession of information likely to be of use to terrorists. If he was daft enough to be carrying leaks from Mr Snowdon through the UK, then they might be able to claim that this is what he did wrong.

          Because revealing what most people already suspected is tantamount to terrorism now. Or rather, revealing something that embarrasses those in power is tantamount to terrorism.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        But why...

        would that be grounds for stopping him anyway? It isn't.

        As the thugs in the security forces obviously can't be trusted to use the laws properly, the only solution would appear to be to repeal all the 'Terror' legislation, and make them fall back on the good old wishy washy laws that forbid murder, assault, conspiracy etc.

      3. Volker Hett
        Thumb Down

        Ok, so better not travel via UK if you happen to know somebody who published something embarrassing?

  8. g e
    Megaphone

    Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

    The man's barefaced mendacity continues to appal us all.

    This probably won't be reported (with any prominence) in the US media, the speed information spreads across social networks at must really piss governments off.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

      Actually this story has dominated the news here in the States since yesterday (Sunday) morning. Everybody, even Fox News, is getting a piece of it.

      1. g e
        Joke

        Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

        Good.

        Fox, though, eh? Was the headline like 'Thanks to the heroic efforts of brave anti-terrorism officers...' ;o)

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

          Surprisingly it was about abuse of terrorism laws in the UK, but I'm fairly certain they'll eventually segue off that into how the US isn't as bad as the UK in abusing power so everything we're doing is 'OK'!

          Interestingly enough even the semi-literate, gay bashing asshats at Fox News had the class to say 'Greenwald partner' not boyfriend or lover in their articles...

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
            IT Angle

            Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

            To their credit, Fox has been leading the coverage of NSA leakage in the U.S. CNN has been largely asleep at the wheel, and MSNBC has been spotty about it depending on which on-air personality's show is on at the time. I don't watch broadcast news anymore, but David Gregory (NBC) and especially Bob Scheifer (CBS) on the Sunday panel shows come across as spokesmen for the NSA.

          2. SleepyJohn
            WTF?

            Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

            "Interestingly enough even the semi-literate, gay bashing asshats at Fox News had the class to say 'Greenwald partner' not boyfriend or lover in their articles..."

            Er, why is this interesting? Or classy?

            Would you have made the same criticism if the journalist had been a girl?

            1. Don Jefe
              FAIL

              Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

              Congratulations!

              You win a permanent low-grade headache, caused by the point flying sooo close, but just out of your grasp. I feel sorry for you so I'll give you a hint: There's a clue in the title of the article.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

      I find it pleasingly ironic that his name is Miranda, given this is a story about police arrest powers and due process.

      I'm never quite sure about terrorism powers being quoted like this though. As lots of crappy laws got passed because of anti-terrorism, but didn't always state that they could only be used in terrorism cases.

      Hence the local councils using the RIPA powers to spy on people who weren't putting their recycling out, even though those powers were supposedly brought in to fight the terrorist menace. Now admittedly recycling plastics rather than burying them probably does have more of an effect on everyday life than Al Qaeda can manage, but even so a few successful terrorist attacks on planes can soon get the death toll into the thousands - so it probably counts as a touch more serious...

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see

        Let's not forget the Act was passed in 2000, when most people were more interested in floods and the dot com crash than in terrorism.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    But

    why would I be carrying sensitive data around on my electronic devices, knowing it could be confiscated, or at least searched? I could instead store the data using one-time-pad encryption, and hide it steganographically in a bunch of files containing photographs of various tourist attractions and send it to a computer back home (stuck in the back of a disused toilet with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard") using scp or the like. You could even upload them onto the very cloud services PRISM scans, because even the NSA would have trouble with a one-time pad.

    Appalling treatment of the guy. It does very much sound like bullying.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: But

      A Telegraph piece, citing Greenwald, said there were Snowden related files on the seized memory sticks but they were encrypted, for whatever that's worth.

      I think traveling with the stuff was either intentionally crazy to scare the spooks with what they had or possibly just to be hilarious & give them several gigs of encrypted cat pictures and cookie recipes.

      We next day FedEx our encrypted stuff when we travel abroad. It's expensive but it gets hustled through customs and the packages have inspection measures that let us know if they've been opened/compromised. I can't believe Greenwald & Friends wouldn't take similar precautions.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: But

        ...We next day FedEx our encrypted stuff when we travel abroad. It's expensive but it gets hustled through customs and the packages have inspection measures that let us know if they've been opened/compromised....

        I can't believe that you really think that the relevant countries' security services couldn't easily open and read any package without detection....

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: But

          The boxes can't be opened undetected. We've been asked to open them a few times but in those cases the contents were in our view the entire time. There's a whole industry for failsafe package security out there. It isn't about preventing entry, which is practically impossible, it's about knowing if the box was opened.

    2. fixit_f

      Re: But

      Because the guy they arrested is the boyfriend of the Guardian journalist, not somebody directly involved. I'd imagine the journo himself will be communicating only through fairly secure means and will know his rights. However, no matter how careful Snowden and the journo are, there is a good chance that the boyfriend may have been told off the record stuff and committed it to email or instant messenger in an unencrypted form, potentially on an electronic device which doesn't even need a password. While I disagree with what the intelligence services are doing, going after this guy was an obvious move as he's probably not an IT or security specialist and so might well have something they want in an easily accessible form.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: But

        He is a documentary film maker who was travelling from Germany where he had been discussing making a film about Snowdon. So hopefully everything was encrypted or a few more people are going to be getting a 4 am call from the Geheime Staatspolizei

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: fixit_f Re: But

        This was a very public means of rattling Greenwald's cage. Obviously, the NSA and GCHQ will have a close eye on all communications between Greenwald and friends, so that leaves physical transfer of information. It was highly likely Miranda was acting as a courier between Greenwald and chums, so he makes an obvious target for interception. If Miranda had been carrying stolen secret docs in one form or another, he would have been legally party to espionage, and so Greenwald has only himself to blame for putting his boyfriend in the firing line. I'm sure Greenwald and chums will hype the affair as much as they can for the publicity, probably stopping a whisker short of insisting Miranda was waterboarded, but the reality of the matter is it was - again - completely legal. Should the coppers actually find any stolen material on Miranda's gear then it gets really fun!

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: fixit_f But

          "If Miranda had been carrying stolen secret docs in one form or another, he would have been legally party to espionage"

          How is that? A US citizen discloses some information about his US employers, albeit without permission. Even if some Brazilian helped him to do it, where does it create a legal base for his detention in the UK?

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Vladimir Re: fixit_f But

            ".....where does it create a legal base for his detention in the UK?" Snowden had also leaked info about GCHQ, which is an UK organisation covered by the Official Secrets Act, so Miranda could have been arrested under the OSA if found carrying stolen secrets that relate to the UK. If he was carrying stolen US secrets then the US could immediately issue a warrant and apply for an extradition inside the nine hours. The fact he was released meant the UK authorities did not find anything obvious, but that won't matter much if they can find anything in the remaining days they have his gear. And remember, Miranda is not a journalist, so he does not have the additional protection that Greenwald has.

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: Vladimir fixit_f But

              "Snowden had also leaked info about GCHQ, which is an UK organisation covered by the Official Secrets Act, so Miranda could have been arrested under the OSA if found carrying stolen secrets that relate to the UK."

              As far as I understand a) the OSA applies to acts committed on the territory of the UK and colonies and b) "carrying stolen secrets" is not an offence under the Act (only "disclosure" is).

              Presumably, that's why they used anti-terror excuse and did not cite OSA when they kept him. That would be the same anti-terror provisions that were used to detail an old age pensioner who heckled Tony Blair at a Labour Party conference, I suspect. The existence of such laws is more damaging to the country than anything that Snowden did or will ever disclose...

            2. Mephistro Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Vladimir fixit_f But (@ Matt Bryant)

              "Miranda is not a journalist, so he does not have the additional protection that Greenwald has."

              A documentary film maker is not a journalist? How is that? Do you need a Party Membership card to be a 'true journalist'? If bloggers are considered journalists in most western countries, what would a judge say regarding documentary film makers? Any guess? I mean, the number of documentary makers jailed for talking to and filming criminals/terrorists/enemies of the State is not that big, is it?

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: Meph-head Re: Vladimir fixit_f But (@ Matt Bryant)

                "....A documentary film maker is not a journalist?...." Actually, that only applies in the US, where journos and bloggers have legal protection (mainly under Section 230 of Title 47 of the USC, IIRC), in the UK they have no special legal privileges. In the US and EU courts, Greenwald can claim some protection from extradition as a journalist (that was the reason for A$$nut's comical trip to Sweden, to work for a Swedish rag in the hope of claiming the legal protection of being a journo). David Miranda is not a journalist, and being a blogger or film maker does not give you the same protection in US courts and zero protection in UK courts. If the British Police had found stolen NSA docs in Miranda's possession then he would have zero protection from an extradition request from the US, whereas Greenwald would have had some.

                More info can be found here:

                http://www.slideshare.net/onlinejournalist/law-for-bloggers-and-journalists-uk

                https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal

                1. Mephistro Silver badge

                  Re: Meph-head Vladimir fixit_f But (@ Matt Bryant)

                  "David Miranda is not a journalist, and being a blogger or film maker does not give you the same protection in US courts and zero protection in UK "

                  Nothing can be done about the USA, but in the UK case, chances are the EU and the European Courts would have something to say on the matter. And seriously, denying journalist's status/protection to bloggers and documentary makers seems totally opposed to the 'spirit of the Law'. Aren't TV and radio journalists protected? what's the difference with a documentary maker?

    3. Old Handle
      Thumb Up

      Re: But

      Actually, physically delivering a large batch of one-time-pad keys (i.e. the "pad") would make alot of sense. To be clear, it is 100% pure speculation that he might have been doing this, but it would be a reasonable thing to do.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Voting power

    Under which Government did this take place? What will future parties do? Vote accordingly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Voting power

      Vote for the torries, you'll get screwed

      Vote for labour you'll get screwed

      Vote for Lib Dem you'll get screwed.

      Here's the general run of events when a new party gets in.

      First term, rip out all the stuff the last party did

      Second term, Implement your own costly equivalent to the previous parties stuff

      Third term, if it happens, do nothing.

      Nobody lasts to a fourth term.

      Doesn't matter who gets iinto power, they're trapped in a web of the previous parties BS, and then trapped in the 'it'll cost too much' to implement anything of their own successfully.

      You're better off voting for a party who has no chance of victory like the green party, why? Because even though they'd do the exact same thing as every other party in power, they'll never get there, so you can openly complain without worry.

      tl;dr

      Doesn't matter who's in power, it's the same bullshit with a different face.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Voting power

        If all three major parties are equally bad, perhaps we should start voting by conscience. Strategic voting seems pointless at the moment. Vote for the independents who are less party-inclined.

      2. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Voting power

        "Nobody lasts to a fourth term."

        And if they did, the effect would be much the same as a Jehovah's Witness if someone opens the door to them and says "Yes, please come in and tell me about it..."

      3. ShadowedOne
        Big Brother

        Re: Voting power

        In that case don't vote for anyone. I'd imagine a voter turn-out of 0% (or at least less than the minimum for a valid vote) would make it a tad difficult for any party to be in power. Ideally (yes, I know) at that point all the sociopaths, err, politicians would be willing to listen.

        1. Drem
          Stop

          Re: Voting power

          Frankly a better solution is to spoil your paper.

          You' ve done your civic duty bit, spoilt papers get counted, and so count towards turnout, and what credibility would a politician have if there were more spoiled papers than they had votes?

          1. Vic

            Re: Voting power

            > spoilt papers get counted,

            They should do, and they should count as a vote cast, but for no party.

            But I've spoken to election officials who tell me that spoilt papers get discarded. I believe this to be the truth.

            Vic.

        2. Magnus_Pym

          Re: Voting power

          "I'd imagine a voter turn-out of 0% (or at least less than the minimum for a valid vote) "

          There is no minimum. The frankly bizarre police commissioner elections showed us how much difference low turn out makes to politicians.

        3. Sandra Greer
          FAIL

          Re: Voting power? 'fraid not

          What we have in the U.S. is get-out-the-vote efforts by the lunatics, such as the "Teabaggers". If all the sane people declined voting, we would have an even more insane government than we have now. It would resemble Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Voting power? 'fraid not

            I think a big part of the problem is that all these parties work against one anotehr. Lets face it, when you look at their lists of plans for the future, you can generally swap out maybe 2 main issues of a dozen, and the rest are the same.

            The problem is they all want it done their way, and once you elect the head guy you have no say on anything else. We'd probably be in a better situation as a country is people voted on the issues rather than the parties, and we had a number of smaller votes (on the same day) regarding the various sections of government.

            Y'know rather than voting based on party politics, we vote for John Smith as treasury minister because his main aim is lowering government overheads, while voting for Billy Jean as the head of law (or something) because of his policy on de-holidayifying prisons. (random examples, random names) rather than voting torries because they'll do 8 of the 10 things we want, we vote for individauls so we get what we want in each area.

            Of course it has flaws as does everything, and something like that would never happen anyway (as politicos would wind up losing out)

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Voting power

          "In that case don't vote for anyone. I'd imagine a voter turn-out of 0% (or at least less than the minimum for a valid vote) would make it a tad difficult for any party to be in power"

          It came close enough with Police Commissioners, yet they're in office and making the predicted self-serving fuckups with all the usual non-existent accountability one comes to expect from the professional political class. The post vote hot air by Call Me Dave about them proving their worth despite the turnout was just that, and they're no doubt part of the furniture till someone fancies an 'eye catching' change.

          It would be nice to think it was the lowest our 'democracy' could sink, but I suspect there's a wealth of self serving mendacity waiting to be explored.

        5. Vic

          Re: Voting power

          > or at least less than the minimum for a valid vote

          There is no such minimum.

          This is why the pols bitch about "voter apathy" (which is generally nothing of the sort), but still claim a democratic mandate when it's them that got the most.

          > all the sociopaths, err, politicians would be willing to listen.

          I recommend you spend some time around a politician. The idea of one "listening" is, frankly, laughable.

          Vic.

      4. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: Voting power

        But if you don't vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in!

    2. Vic

      Re: Voting power

      > Under which Government did this take place?

      RIPA came in under a Labour government.

      > What will future parties do?

      The exact same thing.

      > Vote accordingly.

      That gets tricky when there isn't a fag paper between any of them...

      Vic.

  11. Magister

    I would note that a number of people seem to have watched too many US based courtroom dramas and get confused over the various rights.

    In the UK, you are entitled to ask for legal council and they should not question you once you have asked for this; but if they use the catchall phrase "terrorism related" that goes out of the window. They should also provide legal council no later than 36 hours after requested; but again, that's different if the detention is due to suspected terrorism.

    https://www.gov.uk/arrested-your-rights/legal-advice-at-the-police-station

    Note that this was changed under the hurried legislation brought in against the wishes of a very large number of people and despite all protestations that it would only ever be used in genuine cases; and we are seeing how they really intend to use this.

    I'm fairly sure that there are many other incidents similar to this; but as the individuals (or their partners) don't work for large media organisations, no-one hears a thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your rights to a lawyer...

      Being questioned without legal advice

      Once you’ve asked for legal advice, the police can’t question you until you’ve got it - with some exceptions.

      The police can make you wait for legal advice in serious cases, but only if a senior officer agrees.

      The longest you can be made to wait before getting legal advice is 36 hours after arriving at the police station (or 48 hours for suspected terrorism).

      So, the government site doesnt even list some examples of some exceptions.

      Doesnt list what might be serious cases.

      A senior officer? Doesn't suggest how senior that should be.

      They can detain you for 9 hours... But what if you immediatly ask for a lawyer? "Certainly Sir, he'll be here in 48hrs, at which point we'll start the 9 hour clock shall we?"

  12. Captain Save-a-ho
    Black Helicopters

    I know I've heard about this before

    Per the infamous John Galt:

    "You have heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis. You have said it yourself, half in fear, half in hope that the words had no meaning. You have cried that man’s sins are destroying the world and you have cursed human nature for its unwillingness to practice the virtues you demanded. Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster. In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.

    You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues."

  13. Kingston Black
    Big Brother

    These people really put the n in cuts

    The spooks and their lackies must be running really scared - what has Snowden got that they're terrified the rest of us might learn?

    This flagrant, state sponsored bullying makes one ashamed to be British...

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: These people really put the n in cuts

      "what has Snowden got that they're terrified the rest of us might learn?"

      There's a slim chance that that information is in the various "insurance" files that Wikileaks have released.

      Worth a download (and the indefinitely long wait for the key) perhaps?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: These people really put the n in cuts

      "... what has Snowden got that they're terrified the rest of us might learn?"

      The courage to stand up and speak when enough is enough, perhaps?

  14. IHateWearingATie

    Article incorrect to suggest they were Ultra Viries...

    If you read the legislation carefully, you'll find that they can detain him for up to 9 hours and nab his stuff for up to 7 days in order to work out whether he is a terrorist (as defined by 40(1)(b) ). They do not have to have grounds to suspect he is a terrorist - see para 2(4).

    So, they have not exceeded their powers, and as long as they return his stuff within 7 days (assuming they find out he isn't Bin Laden's twin brother in the meantime) the law will have been complied with.

    That's not to say it is right though. This legislation gives the border force carte blanch to perform a dragnet on people coming through the borders, and leaves it option to (alledged) abuse in cases such as this.

    I shall be writing to my MP, who, being a Tory in a marginal seat might actually pay some attention. Or not. We shall see.

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
      Pint

      Re: Article incorrect to suggest they were Ultra Viries...

      So basically that law gives the government the right to detain whom they please - without even having to think up an excuse about the victim being a terrorist?

      Great.

      BTW, this part of the article:

      "This is a routine hazard for people of interest to spooks or serious police investigations, and it could be seen as a little odd that Greenwald, Miranda and Poitras didn't anticipate it."

      is rather nasty, isn't it? Why shouldn't you use a laptop etc if you're "a person of interest"? It's not their fault that western legal systems get corrupted by these 1984 style laws, is it?

      Icon because that's the only thing that will save my blood pressure now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Article incorrect to suggest they were Ultra Viries...

        So basically that law gives the government the right to detain whom they please - without even having to think up an excuse about the victim being a terrorist? Great.

        Yup. That's why it was introduced in such cushy terms such as "temporary", "emergency measure", "to stop terrorists" - the voter had to be left with a sense of urgency and a feeling that actually delaying this fantastic destruction of civil rights would have severe consequences.

        Since 9/11 I have not been able to shake the feeling that this destruction of civil rights was the actual aim. Even if it wasn't, it sure as hell still looks like it. Given that I'm normally on the side of the law, this feeling of discomfort is acute.

  15. b0llchit
    Mushroom

    Association and retaliation

    Maybe Brazil can [dr]etain $RANDOM politicians from the UK under the pretext that they believe an invalid passport has been spotted. Then question the chap for 9 hours where he got his passport faked and confiscate all the electronic gadgets (including watch). Should make for some interesting dust cloud.

    1. Mayhem
      Joke

      Re: Association and retaliation

      Much better to wait until its Olympics time again, and hold up all the UK & US political types.

      "Oh I'm sorry sir, I know you had stadium tickets, but you see they appeared to be forgeries and we were worried about terrorists. You can go through now. Yes, yes I know the race has finished, but I'm sure you want people to be safe"

      1. Kit-Fox

        Re: Association and retaliation

        The only thing wrong with this post was you put a joke icon next to it

        dear brazil government, please do the suggest retalitory measures suggested by the above commentard and in all seriously make the idiots who allowed this to happen pay through the nose for it

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Association and retaliation

      Maybe their police could murder a british tourist on a train? "Oops, we thought he was a bomb laden terrorist". Make sure the video evidence goes missing too.

      Or maybe divert politicians flights and search them?

      Or refuse them airspace?

  16. TJ1

    Care? Do something!

    Like many others I have watched from the sidelines as authoritarian legislation creeps up on us bit-by-bit. I've spoken to my circle of friends about it passionately but without seeing any lever to make a difference.

    Some of the terms of the Terrorism Act 2000 are likely illegal under UK obligations to the European Court of Human Rights - specifically detention without arrest, detention without legal representation, obligation to hand over possessions, obligation to provide information.

    I wonder if this incident could be a catalyst for at least reigning in the excesses that the state is guilty of?

    Individually we cannot hope to make a difference but if each of us takes 15 minutes to write to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary (as Minister responsible) and our Member of Parliament then combined it might poke their consciences and remind them that we elect them to represent us, not to represent authoritarian state agencies that break the spirit and letter of the law.

    Write on paper rather than email - they and their officials have to spend time replying individually rather than firing off a single canned-response email.

    I recently began planning and implementing encryption of all my Internet traffic and servers by default including using only HTTPS for the web sites I manage, deploying Apache 2.4 and Perfect Forward Secrecy, VPNs for all traffic moving over my ISP's connections, digitally signed and encrypted email using either or both of S/MIME and PGP. Many of those are using layers within layers of encryption on the same basis as The Onion Router.

    I do it not to protect my own traffic, but to make it harder for the illegal and immoral snooping of routine Internet traffic topick out those that have a legitimate need for such encryption. It is much harder for NSA/GCHQ to analyse patterns of meta-data or content if everyone routinely uses high-grade encryption.

    1. Mike Banahan

      Re: Care? Do something!

      There are significant downsides in sending your emails with digital signatures. Whilst I would (and do) routinely encrypt emails to certain recipients I avoid signing them. Almost any body of text a few lines long or longer can be misconstrued in malicious hands to appear seriously disadvantageous to you. If the bloody thing is signed into the bargain you have serious harmed deniability, where your response would be "but I didn't write it".

      I would advise against routinely digitally signing ANY document unless you have absolutely no other option.

      Though I don't have a link to the article in question, I think I remember an example which goes along the lines of:

      - chap sends a signed message to his mistress saying "Our time together is over, you bore me and I no longer find you desirable"

      - mistress strips out the signed part of the message and sends it on with forged email headers to the poor sap's wife who believes it implicitly as it is even signed by the sender. The fact that the To, Subject and From headers don't form part of the signed message are forgotten in the heat and emotions of the moment

      1. Cheshire Cat
        Stop

        Re: Care? Do something!

        Actually, certain header lines (including Subject, To and From DO get included as part of the S/MIME signature on a digitally signed email, specifically to prevent this sort of thing.

    2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Care? Do something!

      ...I recently began planning and implementing encryption of all my Internet traffic and servers by default including using only HTTPS for the web sites I manage, deploying Apache 2.4 and Perfect Forward Secrecy, VPNs for all traffic moving over my ISP's connections, digitally signed and encrypted email using either or both of S/MIME and PGP....

      Not going to worry the spooks one bit. They will use extensive computer databases (paid for by you) to seperate out items of interest.

      And unless you operate a sophisticated key management system all your countermeasures are useless anyway...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I finally understand where the 'tin-foil hatters' are coming from.

    All of this just makes me want to unplug the internet, and disconnect from society completely. Why the fuck should I want to be engaged in a society which is filled with people who treat others as so many in our societies do. All them police officers, intelligence officers, and civil servants, they're all part of our society. It's them who are doing all of this. Why the fuck should we sit back and accept these traitors in our midst, behaving as if rules of common decency don't apply to them, excusing their disgraceful, immoral, disgusting, and damned right unethical treatment of others with their 'anti-terrorism' excuse.

    1. Don Jefe
      Alert

      To be honest unplugging from the Internet would probably be the most powerful tool the public could use against 'them'. The world moves on and politicians become more corrupt but the citizens are too busy playing games, streaming movies, fapping and shopping to care.

      The Internet has become the greatest distraction of all time and the politicians love it. Having so much of the populace concerned about trivial matters allows a tiny minority to stay involved in 'the real world', vote and determine everyone else's fate.

      I know it is likely impossible, but a day of no one using the Internet would be terrifying to the people who have us all stacked, sorted and ready for processing. They don't listen to letters, concerns or complaints, let them listen to silence for a day.

  18. Michael Shaw

    How do we prevent the continual and increasing creep of a police state? Politicians seem to have a vested interest in bringing it on.

  19. nsld

    We may be blaming Obama too soon on this

    It was only a few months ago that Treasonous May the home secretary was spouting that we needed the latest incarnation of IMP to store all the data to help prevent terrorist acts like the murder of Lee Rigby.

    Then Snowden threw her under the bus with the revelation that GCHQ where already doing exactly this with an extremely flexible interpretation of UK law and it all went very quiet.

    It would not surprise me if this was not a UK centric operation as the government is clearly spooked by what Snowden has leaked to date and are fearful of what is to come.

    The misuse of terror legislation is nothing new, like all law passed in haste with little scrutiny it only serves the authors and not the people it applies to.

  20. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    World cup and Olympics

    I wouldn't plan on visiting if I was a copper

  21. squigbobble
    Trollface

    Poisoning the well

    I'm idly curious as to what would happen if you had a laptop loaded with viruses (unwittingly, of course) seized and scanned by the rozzers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Poisoning the well

      Forensic data analysis never ever boots the suspect computer. The hard drive is removed and cloned bit-level. IIRC a hash is then generated and given to the suspect, along with a copy of the clone.

      That way (1) the suspect can't argue "they added the child porn after they seized it" and (2) you don't risk tripping any little helpers the suspect may have placed on their machine.

      1. 4ecks
        Big Brother

        Re: Poisoning the well

        I'm not sure that I would want back or trust any of the hardware after the secret police had their mitts on it. Who knows what "little helpers" they might leave you with?

    2. S4qFBxkFFg
      Go

      Re: Poisoning the well

      Could be amusing, I prefer the idea of several big HDs, full to the spindles with copies of the BadgerBadgerBadger animation, with each copy altered slightly in a non-significant bit of one of a random frame's pixels such that each copy generates a different hash.

      For a 1TB drive, that's almost 5 months of badgers, even before compression.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Linux

        Re: Poisoning the well

        That could be a new Olympic endurance test. How many hours of badgers can you take, before the madness kicks in...

        There's millions of badgers, all under one roof,

        It's called Badger Land, Badger Land, Badger Land!

        Obviously the winner would get a black and white stripey medal. I'm going to use the Penguin icon, due to El Reg's lack of foresight in providing a badger one. Goodness knows how they could have made such a basic error.

  22. Miek
    Linux

    The Stasi of this country know no bounds. The Terrorism laws are now used simply to detain anyone they like for whatever reason. Under previous "Stop and Search" guideline/laws, the Police were simply not allowed stop and search people "Just because" they had to have reasonable cause to suspect that a crime was being/had been committed. I would like to know what exactly these Officers were a) Looking for? and b)whom ordered this?

  23. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Why anti-terrorism legislation

    I am certainly not a lawyer, but my first thought was that if the intent was fishing for information then anti-terrorism legislation could be the only applicable one under the circumstances. My understanding is that the guy did not enter Blighty, he was in transit between Berlin and Rio, so there was no customs or border control in the way, was there? But anti-terrorism applied.

    It could even be justified, with some legalistic contortions. If he was suspected of trafficking in Snowden's or related stuff, then that is related to NSA/GCHQ "sources and methods" and to disclosure thereof, which can be construed as "aiding and abetting" (not sure if the term is American, it is appropriate enough in the context, anyway).

    It is still, IMHO, abuse of the intent if not the letter of the law. As such, it is daft from the publicity point of view. It has (hopefully?) just become so much more difficult to argue that "moderate encroachments on liberty" are fine and grand because if you have nothing to hide...

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Why anti-terrorism legislation

      Interesting that you are the first person I've seen that mentions the guy was just in transit. That was something that grabbed my attention instantly as it add yet another layer of evil intent to what is already quite inexcusable. How long before they start forcing planes down.

      Oh! They've already done that haven't they?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wont be travelling much again I bet

    So they held him for 9 hours then let him go. But kept his tech gear.

    Odds on theres at least one file in there with encryption. Either intentionally, or even something as simple as left over session file/cookie/licence file.

    Now that the security services can take their time and poke around the drives, they can find something/anything that requires decryption.

    1) Secret court order to require passphrase is supplied

    2) If he doesnt come back from Brazil on demand of that court order he 'could be extradited' Not likely Brazil will allow that

    3) If he flies through Europe/US he'll get grabbed in transit.

    4) "Whats the passphrase to decrypt : adobeCS6_licence.lic"?

    5) Cant provide it? Jail for you then!

  25. Anonymous Coward #69
    Joke

    The question on everyone's lips is...

    ...did they read him his Miranda Rights???

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/08/Miranda%20Warning.jpg

  26. ysth

    In fact, however, it seems likely that the chances are you are indulging in whitewashing speculative "journalism" without benefit of any actual research whatsoever.

  27. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Cue the terror alert

    How convenient that Reuters is reporting imminent al Qaeda attacks on European high-speed trains? The puppetmasters are working overtime.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cue the terror alert

      …Reuters is reporting imminent al Qaeda attacks on European high-speed trains…

      Phew, at least we'll be safe in the UK then, no chance of high speed trains here.

      Oh look, it's home-o-clock.

  28. tony2heads
    Big Brother

    Brazil

    The world gets more and more like Terry Gilliam's movie everyday - a mix of totally incompetent bureaucracy and strong-arm tactics by the enforcement agencies (I omit the word 'law' deliberately as they usually omit it too)

    1. Brian Morrison
      Big Brother

      Re: Brazil

      "And there is your receipt for my receipt!"

      So apt that the official that said this in the film is played by the same person that played Arthur Dent in the TV version of H2G2.

  29. Parax

    The only thing they are after is a private key.

    They want to know exactly how much he has leaked...

    when I say 'they' I mean the puppet masters in the US not the UK border muppets who can't say jurisdiction let alone spell it..

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: The only thing they are after is a private key.

      They'll return it with the s/w, f/w and h/w deeply hacked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The only thing they are after is a private key.

        it'll be binned so what's the point. (at least I would bin it.)

        They have seen the encrypted files that were sent, they have copies but they can't crack them, since they were encrypted properly, to see what has leaked. They are searching desperately for a key. They have snapshotted every device, they will attempt to break the phone/laptop security/encryption to get the hardcore key for the data files.

  30. Volker Hett

    So I better not fly via UK

    "This is a routine hazard for people of interest to spooks or serious police investigations, and it could be seen as a little odd that Greenwald, Miranda and Poitras didn't anticipate it."

    Since I don't know if I'm of interest to spooks, I better take no chances.

    Next trip to Brazil via Lisboa ...

  31. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Ill-considered, orwellian and horrible PR....

    Considering that Mr. Greenwald's partner was transitioning from meeting with one part of the journalistic team leaking NSA/GCHQ data to another part, I guess I can see why they stopped him. But to stop him for 9 hours without charge is getting carried away. And to stop him under terrorism charges just feeds the "counter-terrorism is getting out of control" theme that all these revelations have been revealing already. In short, the cops would have done better to PHYSICALLY shoot themselves in the foot at the start of the process. At least that way they would have got some time off and only come across as bumbling, instead of malevolent and fascistic.

    So I guess the lesson here is to send any data going back and forth between Greenwald and his compatriots through suitably packaged flash drives being simultaneously sent through international express delivery dropboxes.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Ill-considered, orwellian and horrible PR....

      They probably do that already.

      Why do people only think about the security services removing stuff from the computer -- not adding it?

  32. dssf

    Maybe this is an exercise

    Maybe this is an exercise to set a precedent in which one power will definitely nab a person of interest in a transit hub, and maybe via use of non-law-enforcement agents.

    (Interesting that they did not assail him with charges of gay porn transport...)

    How long before foreign powers start placing in in-transit centers "standby rendition artists/agents" who rotate between airports (to avoid suspicion if they were to stay in a single location (not in a hotel in the in-transit area, but in the waiting air/lounges) for more than 24 hours), waiting for a digital blurp containing the "go-grab code" to knock out or daze someone enough to make them compliant enough to put on a plane and whisk (wisk?) away to a non-interfering country?

    If this is not already in the playbooks for these spooks, then I wonder why it has not happened yet, or at least not enough to be in the news. Maybe Snowden's arrival to the Russian airport with all those mazes of rooms, hallways, tunnels, and magic doors saved his ass from being nabbed by triple-agents playing more than 3 sides.

    Nabbing someone's gear probably means something indeed was what they were after, or at least a copy of what they wanted. It may be that another party has another copy in transit, and he was a high-alert decoy, and some other undetected person in the loop slipped by. This probably was a high-stakes info transfer, and if they relied on just getting Miranda through, undoubtedly not going to have the right to have his equipment in his possession, would be an unsafe move.

    But, keeping his gear away from him probably could mean:

    -- the spooks who are scanning it found nothing incriminating, but just want to send a warning the world "we'll TAKE your shit from you even if you didn't personally do something wrong, if you are associated with someone we thoroughly despise.", or

    -- it could be they used forensics techniques that somehow slipped up their search techniques

    -- they found something, but it is heavily encrypted, will take some time, and might even be only a portion of what they are after, and is somehow possibly a dual-key to decrypt the other part of the file still out there (if such an encryp/decrypt process exists.

    How long before confiscating a person's gear TURNS such people into "terrists"? Yes, we all are supposed to remember the mantra "back up, back up, back up!", but some people forget the meaning of having a reliable backup. Still, theft is theft, whether by a thief on the street or a government agent carrying a badge and unverified warrant.

    Sust jome thandom roughts thrunning rough mi mynd

  33. mraak

    Poor guy

    Stealing military intel and/or distributing it around, why on earth would anyone want to 'stop and frisk' this guy? How awful. If anything, he should be paid business class air tickets and 5 star hotels by our tax money.

    Snowden, Assange, .... all heroes

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gibraltar border

    I wonder if Spanish laws allow immigration officers to stop anyone crossing from Gibraltar for 9 hours as suspected terrorists. Wait for Cameron to cry with Barroso.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Gibraltar border

      It seems that Spanish efficiency allows immigration officers to stop anyone crossing from Gibraltar for 9 hours

  36. veganhead
    Joke

    Brazillian

    I think the Mrs should get rid of her Brazillian, we don't want that one fingering by the spooks on the way through customs.

  37. Mark Broadhurst

    "The Guardian has admitted that it paid for his flights"

    I wonder if they were in on it ?

  38. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Ve haf ways of making you vulvill our interrest!

    In fact, however, it seems more likely that the spooks were primarily interested in any information they may be able to harvest from Miranda's gadgetry

    Hey sure, I'm interested in ${CELEBS}'s vagoo. Doesn't mean I get to finger it.

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So held for about 28:50 longer than needed to copy his personal data I guess

    What's The Terrorism Act good for so far?

    Freezing assets of foreign banks moving through UK banks because otherwise UK councils would lose them.

    Detaining friends (I don't think they've gone through a formal ceremony) of Persons Of Interest involved in "Copnspiracy-to-embarass-another-country-the-UK-is-big-buds-with"

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: So held for about 28:50 longer than needed to copy his personal data I guess

      Yeah, but he's not just a "friend" of the journo (I think you're teeheeing around the fact that - omg - he's a gay man with a bf), his boyfriend is the journo behind releasing of Five-Eyes classified material, and he is in transit from a meeting with Snowden's assistant, on his way to meet with his boyfriend, the whole trip being paid for by the newspaper that is publishing this material. He could very well have been travelling with material that is classified in the UK.

      When you put it like that, they would be remiss in not taking the opportunity to examine anything he can store digital data on.

      1. SleepyJohn
        Big Brother

        'Avaricious gangsters controlling USA rule peasants with terror'

        'Boyfriend of journalist involved in release of classified information NOT stopped in airport while travelling with laptop on trip financed by journo's newspaper'.

        Really? Who was sacked over that negligence?

        This is just a symptom. The sickness is in the title. These Americans do not see terrorism as foreigners inflicting terror on their people, but as an excuse for themselves to inflict terror on their people. Just like the street-corner gangsters they emulate. "Nice life you've got here. Be a pity if anything happened to it."

        The Statue of Liberty should be done under the Trade Descriptions Act.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: So held for about 28:50 longer than needed to copy his personal data I guess

        "Yeah, but he's not just a "friend" of the journo (I think you're teeheeing around the fact that - omg - he's a gay man with a bf), his boyfriend is the journo behind releasing of Five-Eyes classified material, and he is in transit from a meeting with Snowden's assistant, on his way to meet with his boyfriend, the whole trip being paid for by the newspaper that is publishing this material. He could very well have been travelling with material that is classified in the UK."

        Not at all. I meant he has no legal connection to the journalist in the case IE they have been through a civil ceremony. He's just some random stranger who only detailed surveillance indicates is connected to the journalist in question. Do I seem like I'm from the Bible Belt to you?

        Carrying documents you are not authorized to may be many things but it is not "Terrrorism."

        Still lesson learned. No more transits through "thief row".

  40. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Interesting ...

    I'd have thought that Snowden was water under the bridge by now but clearly there's a lot more information that they are very scared he will reveal.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Interesting ...

      Since the US no-fly list still contains the names of journalists who were investigating Nixon - I think it's more a matter of anyone who doesn't support us is an enemy for life

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Interesting ...

        "Since the US no-fly list still contains the names of journalists who were investigating Nixon - I think it's more a matter of anyone who doesn't support us is an enemy for life"

        So to be really spiteful and vindictive you need to be a Federal bureaucrat in the US govt.

        Surprise surprise.

  41. NomNomNom

    with all this terror legislation we're going to need more terrorists

    1. Florida1920 Silver badge
      Holmes

      If terrorists do not exist, the Security State will have to invent them.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "If terrorists do not exist, the Security State will have to invent them."

        There are always more terrorists to find.

        It just depends on how creative you are about how you look for them.

        And of course your definition of "terrorist."

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tinker Tailor...

    "it could be seen as a little odd that Greenwald, Miranda and Poitras didn't anticipate it"

    Maybe they did - "let slip" to a suspected mole that the next tranche would be in David's laptop/camera/tennis shoe/used undies etc, and wait to see what happens on the trip home.

  43. Greg J Preece

    Christ, you know the government are acting like twats when Keith fucking Vaz is on your side.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      @Greg J Preece

      "Christ, you know the government are acting like twats when Keith fucking Vaz is on your side."

      Indeed.

      IIRC He was rather in favor of most of this stuff when in power, hence the various references to "Vazoline" and "greasing the machinery of oppression."

  44. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    Freedom

    We've heard of it but these people haven't.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be worse

    Turns out that the UK has the power to confiscate and scan "any" data storage medium, organic or otherwise.

    This involves strapping the subject into an fMRI scanner and displaying sequential data until the scan gets a "hit" which proves that the suspect was aware of something being displayed and is therefore hiding something.

    Cue rubber hose cryptanalysis, or other methods of persuasion "well they *know* something and we can prove it" etc.

    1. dssf

      Re: Could be worse ... The beginnings of Section 31?

      GCHQ probably has a multiphasic/bayronic quadrantal, triaxilating magneton scanner and can do a hghly localized baryon sweep to find the "data-transporting" DNA traveller...

      On 2% of occasions, the invaded subject dies...

      This may interest some, though:

      "Journalist's Partner Threatens Legal Action Over Heathrow Detention"

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323608504579024644124166008.html

  46. WatAWorld

    Returned tech must be considered deeply hacked and unusable

    Although the story does not mention it, the returned techology must be considered deeply hacked and unusable.

    There are no scans or physical examinations that will reveal all the bugs and holes the NSA and GCHQ can imbed into your computer's software, firmware and hardware.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why stop Miranda ?

    They stopped him to verify that it was really Miranda and not someone else traveling on a genuine passport in the name of Miranda.

    Six Israelis had genuine passports.

  48. WatAWorld

    Guys, it is about adding stuff to the tech, not copying it off.

    Guys, it is about adding stuff to the tech, not copying it off.

    Nine hours, you could replace lots of stock chips with custom made NSA chips.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guys, it is about adding stuff to the tech, not copying it off.

      Why bother ? It's much easier just hacking the Chinese who put the spyware into the original chips at source.

      There is a war on (always has been) between security services,

      It gets interesting (and more lethal for the locals) when the interminable internecine conflicts arise, these can only be solved by outside mediation (Good Friday)

      Spooks will be Spooks.

  49. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Instant delete?

    There have been a few stories recently of border staff taking images of mobile phones from people at airports. Most of the remote delete apps for phones tend to take a while, and you can be compelled to provide your password for any encryption. I know Seagate recently developed an "instant secure erase" feature for their hard disks - I'd certainly pay a couple of quid for an app that would perform an instant delete of all the data on my phone via a big red button or text message.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    these fucking MPs...

    ...Keith Vaz and Yvette Cooper crawl out from their holes and question the reason the cops use anti-terror legislation against a guy who is, quite obviously, not a terrorist.

    The reason is perfectly simple - because Cooper, Vaz et al marched enthusiastically in line behind Bliar and drafted the notorious terrorism act, which contains gems like this:

    "power to stop and question may be exercised without suspicion of involvement in terrorism"

    Not only can they detain and question you, you are not entitled to a lawyer (certainly not for the first hour) and you are required to cooperate and answer their questions or you commit a criminal offence.

    Vaz, Cooper? Do you see now what you did, you fucking cretins? You passed these tyrannical laws, and now you're expressing concern at how they're being used for political harassment?

  51. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    ...In fact, however, it seems more likely that the spooks were primarily interested in any information they may be able to harvest from Miranda's gadgetry, which might give them a better picture of what yet-to-be-published information Snowden has passed to Greenwald and/or Poitras....

    If you can get some encryption keys off this laptop, then a lot of previously intercepted messages suddenly become readable...

  52. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    At the bottom of the BBC story about Miranda's detention...

    ... are these words:

    Have you or has anybody you know been detained at a British airport under the Terrorism Act 2000? Please get in contact using the form below....

    Do you think they will get any takers..?

  53. Marcus Fil

    Own goals

    never help your promotion chances.

    So next time you seek parliament's assent for draconian power pt.3, pt.5 ... you might just be invited to have sex and travel PROVIDED us sheeples in the UK voice our disquiet over this latest blatant abuse to our local MPs ASAP. As for you spooks - if you want this information then go get it in a spooky way rather than showing the world that intelligence gathering is increasingly both viciously and publicly inept. Anyone check inside Mr Miranda's watch clasp or behind his teeth for a microSD card btw.?

  54. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

    Maybe those spooks get too much reverence?

    Umberto Eco once said:

    "By now it should be quite apparent that Big Brother is an idiot who sleeps most of the time."

    -

    So BB wakes up, makes some ruckus, harasses people, demands to know everything about everybody. And shoots himself in both feet.

    That does not seem to be very cunning, does it? Even if the footgun is a high-tech one.

    Dangerous, no doubt. But what kind of dangerous - a devious mastermind, or a cretin with way too much power?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe those spooks get too much reverence?

      Eco is probably only half right; I suspect Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' is much nearer the mark. Incompetent, but perfectly happy to wire your nuts to the mains at the drop of a hat and assume your lack of the 'right' answer proves your deceit rather than his incompetence. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Maybe those spooks get too much reverence?

        Probably so. Then again, Eco does not say they're not dangerous, and neither did I. I'm just having trouble with a popular depiction - omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent agencies. That is probably a huge exxageration.

        Even in 1984, fear of the Big Brother seems to induce more harm than said entity itself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe those spooks get too much reverence?

      You're missing the point. This isn't an attempt at secretly gathering data - the purpose is quite obviously to demonstrate to a fearful public that the authorities have the power to do whatever the fuck they please, and you cannot do anything about it.

  55. bag o' spanners
    Black Helicopters

    Politicians don't really have much say in what the spooks decide to do. They just do as they're told.and hope that their skeletons don't mysteriously fall out of the closet in full view the mainstream media.

    Watch the Coulson/Brooks charade next month for a few more clues as to how 21st century politics is conducted in the ivory towers of Westminster Village.

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brilliant innovative strategy by anti-Heathrow expansion people!

    I must congratulate those people campaigning against future expansion of Heathrow. This innovative action has been a good way of increasing the chance that there will be no increase in the use of the airport as a transit or "hub" in Europe, and so one of the main justifications for the expansion will be removed.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boo Hoo

    Phuck around, go to prison.

  59. BronkytheAss

    I surmise from the tone off this article, that the reporter has some strong affinity with this sort of "let's fuck em about as much as possible and then not return their no doubt very expensive property" kind of tactic.

    Maybe he would agree with the famous smug twat on some topical news quiz who implied that there was no good reason to read the Guardian newspaper, and in one fell swoop, dismiss the often excellent uncovering of machiavellian misbehavior and misdeeds of the good old forces of law and order.

    Or perhaps I'm just in a filthy mood today and have missed the point. Anything's possible

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Yeah, you've missed the point. Crack on.

  60. BornToWin

    Life's a bitch

    ...and then you die.

  61. Purlieu

    Cloud

    What kind of idiot stores 'that' kind of data on something you take through an airport ?

    It's what the Cloud was invented for, oh and don't have live links to it on your laptop etc.

    Schoolboy error.

  62. Benjol

    Re the secret services maybe being more incompetent than amazing: <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/BUGGER">Maybe the real state secret is that spies aren't very good at their job</a>

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      BUGGER

      A fascinating read. For lot of that, pure truth may never come out, but fascinating nevertheless.

      One gem in there:

      "Neither of them noticed that he had been stealing a huge amount of MI5 top secret documents and stashing them at his home. Bettaney was only caught when he took some of the best of these secrets and tried to stuff them into the letter box of the Second Secretary of the Russian Embassy - Mr Gouk.

      Mr Gouk was so confused by this that, instead of passing them on to the KGB, he went round to MI5 and gave them back, and told them where they had come from. MI5 arrested Bettaney and he was put on trial."

  63. Magnus_Pym

    The three rules of politics

    Rule 1. Anyone who says they have power doesn't have power.

    This is because to gain an office that has the appearance of power they must have been allowed to do so by those with actual power.

    Rule 2. Anyone who says they have power is either a willing puppet or a gullible fool.

    This is dependent on whether they are aware of rule 1 or not.

    Rule 3. Anyone who says they have power should not be allowed to have power.

    This is explained by rule 2.

  64. Potemkine Silver badge

    This kind of behavior...

    ...is showing our democracies have lost the war on terror, by abandoning the values they were fighting for.

  65. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    The British Govt. Still fighting The War on Journalists

    I'd like to know which bureaucrat thought this up.

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