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United Kingdom Censorship Government Piracy Privacy Your Rights Online

City of London Police Take Down Proxy Service Over Piracy Concerns 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the shutting-it-down dept.
Mr_Silver writes TorrentFreak is reporting that the City of London Police (a private police force in government-backed livery with an authority that does not go beyond the corporate-controlled City of London area — so not to be confused with the Metropolitan Police) has seized control of a number of domains including Immunicity, a general proxy server that was set up as a censorship circumvention tool. This appears to be their next step after placing banner adverts on websites.
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City of London Police Take Down Proxy Service Over Piracy Concerns

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  • Christmas (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:13AM (#47620659)

    I don't want a lot for Christmas
    There is just one thing I need
    I don't care about the presents
    Underneath the Christmas tree

    I just want them for my own
    More than they could ever know
    Make my wish come true
    All I want for Christmas is
    My own bloody private police force!

  • by thieh (3654731) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:22AM (#47620683)
    The police, who wants to fight piracy which is claimed to be happening by the corporations, go bust servers with neither warrants nor court orders. What exactly are making these claims legit enough to skip due process? Or is due process some sort of privilege that we shouldn't expect them in the first place?
    • by Camael (1048726) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:37AM (#47620719)

      The police, who wants to fight piracy which is claimed to be happening by the corporations, go bust servers with neither warrants nor court orders. What exactly are making these claims legit enough to skip due process? Or is due process some sort of privilege that we shouldn't expect them in the first place?

      They're probably getting away with it because nobody is challenging them AFAIK.

    • by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:39AM (#47620727)

      The police, who wants to fight piracy which is claimed to be happening by the corporations, go bust servers with neither warrants nor court orders. What exactly are making these claims legit enough to skip due process? Or is due process some sort of privilege that we shouldn't expect them in the first place?

      Same legal reasoning that allows police to beat up anyone they feel like and generally make thugs of themselves - no one seems to actually be willing to stop them.

      • That's more the US police. Those in the UK very rarely beat anyone up without good reason. We've got a slightly better oversight system here. If you make a complaint you can be confident it'll get investigated by a proper independant commission, and not the guy who shares pizza with the accused every Friday.

    • by infolation (840436) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @05:34AM (#47621113)
      Only if you read the summary, and not the actual reported news. They arrested [police.uk] the proxy server owner. That needs a warrant of arrest. There's no 'skipping due process' for the police, or the charges don't stand when the person arrives in court.

      PIPCU arrest Nottingham man believed to be running proxy server

      The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has arrested a man in Nottingham on suspicion of running an ‘umbrella’ website providing access to other websites which have been subject to legal blocking orders.

      The 20-year-old man was questioned by detectives from the City of London Police unit at a local police station before later being released on bail.

      The operation, supported by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, uncovered evidence of the proxy server providing access to 36 other websites that had been blocked for offering illegal or infringing content. The domain names of these sites have been voluntarily handed to police and the related web pages now show a police warning banner.

      The arrest is part of the City of London Police unit’s ongoing drive to clamp down on websites providing access to illegal or infringing content, known as Operation Creative. Last week it was announced that PIPCU are replacing advertising on copyright infringing websites with official force banners, warning the user that the site is currently under criminal investigation.

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        I'm not aware of any law saying proxies are illegal in the UK. I doubt this man will be convicted, CPS (crown prosecution service who decide what goes to court) shouldn't advance this.

        To specifically state on a proxy service that you can access sites blocked in the same country as that service is a little dim though.

        • To specifically state on a proxy service that you can access sites blocked in the same country as that service is a little dim though.

          It's simply the truth. Is truth illegal?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I wonder what law they are citing for the arrest? The blocking order was a civil issue directed at certain ISPs. Some ISPs ignored it because they were not named in the order. Non-ISPs, such as VPN providers and proxy server operators, were not required to block access either.

        How does this affect individual users? If I use a VPN to bypass the blockade, is that now an arrestable offence?

        Seems like they are just trying to harass the site operator into shutting it down.

      • by fudgem (3778303)
        Arrest warrrants are basically a thing of the past in the UK - the police rarely need or use them. I imagine the proxy server owner was arrested for conspiracy to commit copyright infringment or conspiracy to commit fraud.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:25AM (#47620695)

    I know it's bad form to provide accurate information on Slashdot but the City of London police are not private at all. Indeed the Wikipedia page linked to in the summary states that it's a govt entity on the very first page.

    I apologise in advance for being accurate.

    • Fascist justice (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      CoLP, while not actually private, is the closest you can get to a law system controlled solely by it's corporate backers. Since there are no actual people in the city, just corporations and commuters, there is no such thing as public scrutiny or pursuit of the public interest, their agenda is written solely by private interests. Coupled with private prosecution [wikipedia.org], it rounds up to a nice libertarian-fascist justice system.

      • Re:Fascist justice (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @04:37AM (#47620921)
        While it is true there are not many real people living in the city, there certainly are some, and they even have at least one Labour (left wing) MP. They also have to send anyone they arrest to the normal authorities for prosecution by normal judges.

        I make no applogies for corruption or incompetence in CoLP (if any).

      • by fnj (64210)

        Since there are no actual people in the city, just corporations and commuters

        According to Wikipedia, the City of London has a resident population of about 7000 and a commuting.working population of about 300,000. There are certainly many "actual people in the city". Or do you believe Wikipedia is wrong on this score?

        Both residents and representatives of the businesses vote in the elections. It is true that the former are outnumbered by the latter.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          That's quite interesting. In North America, the "in thing" is for cities to expand their borders as far as possible, amalgamating the suburbs and smaller towns into one giant mega city with a single mayor, and all services overseen by a single municipal government. This allows the city to collect more tax dollars, and get better deals on buying things because they are buying in larger quantities.
          • That's been going on for a long time. Most of the districts within London are former towns. Give it another century and it'll probably have assimilated all the way down to Dartford.

          • Re:Fascist justice (Score:4, Informative)

            by TheMathemagician (2515102) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @02:01PM (#47624487)
            The City of London is not London. It's roughly equivalent to the old walled medieval City and is now mainly a financial district 'The Square Mile'.
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              Yeah, but from my understanding they have their own mayor and everything, are are a completely separate municipality from other parts of London. Tons of people work there but very few of those people actually get a vote as to what happens where they spend 1/3rd of their lives. This makes it quite odd.
    • Since when did arguing about Wikipedia postings replace discussion about the behavior of an organization that appears to be knocking censorship evasion proxies offline?

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:29AM (#47620699)

    The City of London Police Force is not a private police force, its a public body that receives government funding and is the same as any other police force in the UK, bar the fact that it doesn't have an elected police commissioner. It answers to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary just like any other police force. The reason its separate from the Metropolitan Police Force is nothing more than a historical curiosity rather than anything to create conspiracy theories about.

    There does seem to be an attempt here on Slashdot, in this story and past stories, to cast the City of London Police in a false light.

    Regarding the authority "issue" - the City of London Police seizing a domain name is no different to the Metropolitan Police seizing it, the jurisdictional "issues" are the same. The reason the City of London Police are doing this a lot is because they are highly specialised in economic crime detection, investigation and enforcement, so combating criminal level copyright infringement is in fact one of their specialities.

    • by EmperorArthur (1113223) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:37AM (#47620715)

      Each body or organisation, whether unincorporated or incorporated, whose premises are within the City of London may appoint a number of voters based on the number of workers it employs.

      That's straight from the Wikipedia entry on the City of London [wikipedia.org].

      Here on Slashdot we often talk about corporate person hood. The City of London is what happens when you jump straight to letting those corporations vote. When the government is by the corporations for the corporations it's not surprising that the police force is also a tool of the corporations.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Then the City of London is a private-owned undemocratic (feudal?) enclave, and its police force is not a public police force because it is not appointed by democratic mechanisms. Of course they are still under public supervision and publicly funded, but that doesn't make them a public entity.

    • by Xest (935314) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:39AM (#47620733)

      "The reason the City of London Police are doing this a lot is because they are highly specialised in economic crime detection, investigation and enforcement, so combating criminal level copyright infringement is in fact one of their specialities."

      Yet they missed all the genuinely criminal bankers on their front door step, you know, libor, exchange rate manipulation and many others?

      City of London police should be sticking to the City of London yet they're sticking their nose in everywhere as if they have some form of universal jurisdiction. Similarly they have consistently avoided investigation over many legitimate claims of corruption.

      Whatever their supposed status, one things for sure and that's that they're more corrupt than any other police force in the UK by a long shot, and no one seems to be able to touch them for it to sort the problem.

      They really need moving under the met where there is at least some degree of oversight, even if it's a long way from perfect. Right now I can see exactly why people call them a private police force - because that's exactly how they act and are treated.

      • Ok, so would you have an issue with "universal jurisdiction" if the Met did this, because its exactly the same... As for oversight, did you miss the part of my post where I say that the CoL Police answers to HMIC, just like the Met and every other police force in the UK?

        And id love for you to back up your claims about them being corrupt - its easy to throw accusations around, but I see no proof offered by you.

        Your post is nothing more than more bullwhip regarding this particular police force.

        • by Xest (935314)

          "Ok, so would you have an issue with "universal jurisdiction" if the Met did this, because its exactly the same..."

          Yes I have a problem with universal jurisdiction regardless, but thus far the met doesn't seem to have quite the habit the City of London police do in just randomly turning up on the doorsteps of other police authorities to waste their time for the City of London police's interest. This is even more pertinent given that the whole reason the current government insisted we have elected police chi

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No police force should be allowed to globally seize a domain name. If the domain owner is in their jurisdiction then they should need a court order to shut it down. If the domain owner is not within their jurisdiction then the court order should only prevent those within its jurisdiction from accessing the site. If they wish to globally prevent access then they should request the authorities under whose jurisdiction the domain (or site) owner falls to take appropriate action.

    • by Camael (1048726) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:47AM (#47620765)

      Regarding the authority "issue" - the City of London Police seizing a domain name is no different to the Metropolitan Police seizing it, the jurisdictional "issues" are the same. The reason the City of London Police are doing this a lot is because they are highly specialised in economic crime detection, investigation and enforcement, so combating criminal level copyright infringement is in fact one of their specialities.

      The problem however is the legality of the very act of the police in seizing domain names. Apparently, they do not have the power to do so. Instead, they request the "cooperation" of registrars who are threatened with possible legal sanctions in the same breath. Here is an excerpt of one of their letters [techweekeurope.co.uk] :-

      “Suspension of the domain(s) is intended to prevent further crime. Where possible we request that domain suspension(s) are made within 48 hours of receipt of this Alert. In respect of the information provided by us, we respectfully ask you to consider your liability and the wider public interest should those services be allowed to continue.”

      I don't think you should be comfortable with the police making threats to force registrars to shut down online services in the absence of any court orders, findings of liability or any judgment that the online service is in fact against the law.

    • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @04:15AM (#47620833)

      The City of London Police Force is not a private police force, its a public body that receives government funding and is the same as any other police force in the UK, bar the fact that it doesn't have an elected police commissioner.

      It's far more insidious than just the fact it doesn't have an elected police commissioner and it most definitely is not the "same as any other police force in the UK".

      http://www.theguardian.com/com... [theguardian.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > The City of London Police Force is not a private police force, its a public body that receives government funding

      So it's a thoroughly corrupt police force? They are publicly funded yet work for the sole benefit of a few corporations with little regard to laws.

      It matters little what it say on paper. In practice they are corporate enforcers that intimidate and bully people with their alleged legitimacy as a "real" police force.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:39AM (#47621457) Homepage

      Regarding the authority "issue" - the City of London Police seizing a domain name is no different to the Metropolitan Police seizing it, the jurisdictional "issues" are the same. The reason the City of London Police are doing this a lot is because they are highly specialised in economic crime detection, investigation and enforcement, so combating criminal level copyright infringement is in fact one of their specialities.

      You have not been paying attention. Their usual modus operandi is to send threatening letters to the domain registrar because they have no legal authority for the seizure. They usually arrest the site operator just to put pressure on them - even if they drop the chargers later there is no come-back for them, and the victim has to explain to his employer who he wasn't at work for a few days and his name is all over the press.

      Go read their press release. They crime he is accused of doesn't even seem to be a crime. The blockade was a civil court order directed at a small number of ISPs, not a general law that everyone must follow. I really doubt there will be a trial, let alone a conviction. The CoLP have got what their corporate masters want now - domain seized and shut down, operator's life made hell and a clear message sent to anyone else thinking of annoying them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The City of London is a borough of greater London. It is an ordinary government district and the police force for the City of London is a normal, governmental police force. What a fucking pile of hogwash this summary is.

    • It is an ordinary government district

      It is anything but ordinary. I invite you to watch Secret City [youtube.com].

    • The summary is not correct: the police force is not a private one.

      The City however is very far from being just a borough of Greater London. The city is a strange place, generally controlled by the resident corporations (literally---they vote). The local police force generally answer to the council like in most places. But this time the council is officially a bunch of corporate stooges.

      • by fnj (64210)

        So from your own description the City of London Police report to a council which is a "bunch of corporate stooges", yet somehow that doesn't make it in effect a private police force?

        • yet somehow that doesn't make it in effect a private police force?

          Yes, because it's not a private police force. It's a publicly funded police force, the police are public police officers which means that they can't go on strike etc. They report to the local councils but are ultimately part of the home office.

          Private police forces are funded privately and are not part of the home office.

          An example of a private police force is the now defunct Bulldogs which was a private police force owned, run and entirely

    • What a fucking pile of hogwash this summary is.

      Well, yes, it is rude to single them out. When you follow the money, you find that all government is privately owned.

  • Nor Private Police (Score:3, Informative)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @03:52AM (#47620773)

    City of London Police (a private police force in government-backed livery with an authority that does not go beyond the corporate-controlled City of London area — so not to be confused with the Metropolitan Police)

    The poster didn't read the Wiki on the City of London Police [wikipedia.org];

    The City of London Police is the territorial police force [wikipedia.org] responsible for law enforcement within the City of London, including the Middle and Inner Temples.

    The police authority is the Common Council of the City,

    The Common Council of the City [wikipedia.org] is an elected body. The City of London police is also publicly funded [wikipedia.org].

    What may confuse you Americans is that most British cities have "corporation" in their official name. For example, I live near "The Corporation of the District of Sannich".

    The City of London Police is overseen by an elected body and funded through taxes. It is not a private police force. I think that was just a transparent attempt to sensationalize a news story.

    • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @04:05AM (#47620809)

      The City of London Police is overseen by an elected body and funded through taxes. It is not a private police force. I think that was just a transparent attempt to sensationalize a news story.

      It's a police force controlled by private businesses and backed by the government.

      http://www.theguardian.com/com... [theguardian.com]

    • by mjwx (966435)

      The City of London Police is overseen by an elected body and funded through taxes. It is not a private police force. I think that was just a transparent attempt to sensationalize a news story.

      The City of London police are not strictly a "private police force" by the dictionary definition of the words... they just act like it.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @04:52AM (#47620975) Journal

      The City of London Police is overseen by an elected body and funded through taxes.

      Yeah elected. By the local corporations.

      • by fudgem (3778303)
        The City of London is a bit like how in Robocop II where OCP forecloses on Detroit and takes over the running of a city, including the police. It is an area of London run by corporations, for corporations. There is a directive 4 just as in Robocop, which is why there are virtually no prosecutions of bankers and other financiers in London.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The City of London Police is overseen by an elected body

      Elected by whom? The board of directors of a company is an elected body. Some monarchs used to be elected by a council of nobles. The Pope is elected. The Corporation of London is an elected body, but it isn't elected by the people, so it is not public.

      • It is elected by the people. Every resident of the City has a vote. However given the fact that the number of residents is completely dwarfed by the numbers who commute in each day companies are also awarded votes depending on their number of employees. The company I work for dished these out to volunteers who appear on the Ward registers and can vote in elections. Obviously they could appoint stooges but I know one of the electors and he has never been put under any pressure to vote a particular way.
    • Yep. For the benefit of my (now) fellow Americans: the UK term "corporation" is generally used differently to its US counterpart. Corporations in the US generally refer to private sector bodies, while the term frequently refers to public sector bodies created to manage local cities and towns in the UK. The term isn't exclusively used for city management organizations, but nonetheless it more often refers to public bodies than private ones - the BBC, for example, is a public body that operates under a Royal

  • Here are two facets that I have tons of experience with that will make this test inaccurate unless both are handled somehow. 1. Our physical thinking on a physical level may consist in more than what occurs on the cranial level. The connections in our arms, down our spine, and across our body may play key roles, and the brain may not consistently always run the same, it may go through cycles. By focusing on the brain too much instead of the entire body and diet, incorrect results are likely. 2. In m
    • And an error in some of slashdots code can push this comment from one article to another. rofl! Sorry bout that, someone check for errors serverside!
  • if that is really the case, the logical conclusion is to confiscate all the citizen's computers.

  • "The National Arbitration Forum has just handed down its decision in respect to the three domain names locked down at Public Domain Registry in response to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit takedown requests. The decision is in favour of easyDNS and orders the three names to be transferred to us. - See more at: http://blog.easydns.org/2014/0... [easydns.org]
  • Proxies evade attempts to restrict Internet content by geographic location. I had to use one on our big trip to Europe this spring, when I needed to stream a few missed network TV episodes from their conventional US sites. Not that I particularly wanted to watch TV on vacation, but these episodes would have "expired" and been removed by the time we got back. But not only is there a stupid nonsensical time restriction on accessing TV content, but a stupid nonsensical restriction against accessing them outsid

  • Quite a few people won't understand what the City of London is about, since it comprises the financial district of the U.K., and goes back before the Norman Conquest (1066, which is probably why they were graned special rights above all others). Although this is supposition on my part (and others) it is thought to go back to the time of the Roman Empire, when they occupied ares of the British Isles, and established various short-term corporations to undertake various infrastructure building missions.

    No

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