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United Kingdom Crime Your Rights Online

UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime 391

An anonymous reader points out that UK authorities have warned that sharing the video of the James Foley murder could lead to prosecution under anti-terror laws. Scotland Yard has warned internet users they could be arrested under terrorism legislation if they viewed or shared the video of James Foley's murder, as Twitter and YouTube attempted to remove all trace of the footage from the web. Twitter suspended dozens of accounts that published the graphic footage while YouTube tried to remove several copies of the video, which was first uploaded on Tuesday night. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted: "We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you." The unprecedented social media clampdown came as the Metropolitan police warned that even viewing the video could constitute a criminal offence in the UK. The force said in a statement: "The MPS counter-terrorism command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley. We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under terrorism legislation."
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UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

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  • Re: Jurisdiction 101 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:20AM (#47726803)

    See http://blogs.ft.com/david-allen-green/2014/08/21/is-viewing-a-video-a-criminal-offence-under-terrorism-law/?Authorised=false for a suggestion that the police press office is making at least the viewing part up.

    Their press release should really say which law(s) apply..

  • legal issues. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hooiberg ( 1789158 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:39AM (#47726881)
    And in the Netherlands there was a legal discussion whether it was illegal or not to celebrate his beheading. That it was even necessary to establish this makes me ashamed of my country. By the way, it was decided that it is not illegal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:45AM (#47726903)

    A north vietnamese point-blank to the head execution...

    A girl running from a napalm attack, her clothes half burned off...

    Bodies piled in German concentration camps...

    An explosion over Hiroshima...

    Are these photos now forbidden as well?

  • Re:Jurisdiction 101 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:00AM (#47726957) Homepage Journal

    The point of saying this is so that if they decide they want to put pressure on someone for whatever reason they can datarape their computer and mobile phone looking for stuff like this, and then slap some terrorism charges on them. It's a common modus operandi here for the police.

    For example, say they raid your house by mistake due to incompetence. They will take your computer and any other electronic devices they find anyway, just to "do a thorough investigation". They will look for anything, absolutely anything at all that they could charge you with, because now they are looking at a massive compensation bill and loss of face. Flimsy evidence of terrorism or paedophilia are their favourites, and even if the charges are dropped later by that time the Daily Mail has blackened your name and moved on to some other unfortunate victim. Time for a few Right to be Forgotten requests.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:01AM (#47726963) Journal

    Why would anyone actually want to watch it?

    I didn't care to watch it, but now that the UK wants to declare that it's a crime to watch it, I am now downloading it (thanks tpb!)

    Will I enjoy it? Probably not, but if the governement(s) don't want me to see it, then I probably should see it.

  • by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:07AM (#47726985)

    Society has decided that your freedom to disseminate terrorist propaganda is not worth the lives of the extra hostages terrorists would take if they knew their propaganda would be successful.

    Nonsense on two counts. (1) Who are you to dictate the ethical positions of those viewing this information? I find the information in question to be a remarkably effective tool for educating others about the realities of such savage acts, and to urge them directly defy those who directly sponsor such savagery. (2) Even assuming the material is considered to be in support of terrorism by officials in a particular portion of society, that their citizens have decided to permit silly and hazy laws to be enacted against distribution of such material instead devoting government resources to combating actual acts of terror, and that those citizens have decided to permit their elected officials to threaten their little corner of the planet with those laws, I don't give a damn. My portion of society isn't affected by those threats, and thus those who might consider attempting to threaten me under inapplicable jurisdictions are welcome to go fuck themselves. Apparently, you're invited to the latter party. Would you care for some lube?

  • by Mojo66 ( 1131579 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:27AM (#47727085)

    By their definition, wouldn't be watching a video of a US drone killing innocent people, which happens regularly since years, be a crime as well? I don't know whether such a video actually exists, but I would be curious if media would broadcast it. I'm assuming here, or course, that we accept drone strikes as a form of governmental terrorism.

    Over the years, hundreds of civilians have been killed by drone strikes, has this ever been picked up media in a similar way as this incident has been? Maybe media regard drone strikes as a form of terrorism and consider broadcasting it a crime as well...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:05AM (#47727181)

    > Why would anyone actually want to watch it?

    To better understand just how depraved the people are who made it.

    I'm not joking. Supressing it gives them legitimacy - "the video the government is afraid you'll see" - but letting people watch it exposes the inhumanity of those who made it for everyone to see. The kind of people who might be convinced to join ISIS by watching this video are already so warped that censoring the video won't stop them. But no normal person is going to watch it and come away with anything but deep-seated disgust for the killers.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @06:14AM (#47727437) Homepage

    To play Devil's advocate for a moment, none of those came along with (as I assume the video in question does) an expression of the ideology behind the act, nor were they posed for the sole purpose of being recorded and distributed.

  • by infolation ( 840436 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @06:36AM (#47727557)
    Ironically the Daily Mail, who are normally an ultra-right, police-supporting newspaper in the UK, have actually condemned [dailymail.co.uk] the police's statement that merely viewing is an offence.

    There would also be no public interest in prosecuting a someone for viewing if they didn't intend to promote IS. It would be absurd. So for the Met to say that viewing a video in and of itself could constitute an offence seems to me to be far from reality - Barrister Adam Wagner

  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @06:47AM (#47727597)

    Obligatory Nazi comparison:
    This is essentially the same as the Nazi ban on listening to foreign radio stations. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feindsender [wikipedia.org].
    Congratulations, UK, you are becoming what you once fought against.

  • Re: Jurisdiction 101 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turgid ( 580780 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @07:03AM (#47727669) Journal

    Errr... the UK still has an reasonable approximation of a well-functioning court system. That the police say something is illegal isn't enough to get you thrown in jail.

    It is under Tony Blair's Anti-Terror Laws. You only need to be suspected of something that could be vaguely related to terrorism to be locked up. No jury trial involved, just the police, some politicians and a few judges.

  • Re: Jurisdiction 101 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sillybilly ( 668960 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @07:47AM (#47727875)

    Maybe multiple 9mm shots are preferable to behading, on the beheadee's part, because, as during the French revolution they found out, people could keep blinking after their head was cut, for various lengths, but most around 35 seconds or so. So you don't die instantly, and experience horror for at least 35 seconds.

    Btw the UK may not have a Freedom of Speech 1st amendment right for it's population, it's good to live in the USA, where you can say anything. At least I try to say anything on Slashdot, and I'm still not dead yet, nor in jail over it.

  • Re:You are an idiot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @07:49AM (#47727885)

    You are a moron. If everybody bothered to ignore this, then the extremists wouldn't have any reason to do this since they are only doing this for attention. It is like little kids, you just make it worse if you attend every whining they do, because then they will learn that can just whine to grab your attention.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday August 22, 2014 @07:51AM (#47727897) Homepage Journal

    who are you to claim immunity from the democratic will of society

    Laws which prohibit citizens sharing information are not enacted at the will of society, but by those who would control them by feeding them misinformation.

  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @08:25AM (#47728103) Homepage Journal

    The Office of Inspector General told me any viewing of child pornography re-victimizes the person in the image and, therefor, upon discovering any child pornography, I must report it to OIG and immediately cease use of computer for fear of causing harm to someone, somewhere, by stumbling upon more child pornography.

    The hard drives are scanned for matching fingerprints of known child pornography, then completely purged. You can't rescue any files from the drives, at all, so I hope you have back-ups which magically aren't possibly tainted with child pornography.

    Honestly I think the whole thing is silly and blown out of proportion. Who cares about child pornography? Why aren't we shutting down the human trafficking rings instead? Nobody suffers when I download The Simpsons, so I would assume nobody suffers when some fat dude in his basement downloads Victoria's Seventh-Grade Secret or whatever nonsense.

    Won't somebody think of the children, instead of the pictures of the children?

  • by sabri ( 584428 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:16PM (#47730879)

    As long as England remains a democratic country, that is ...

    The UK is not democratic anymore. It is a Soviet-like police state worse than Orwell predicted. I've said it many times here, and have been marked a troll every time, but at some point the world is going to see that the UK is a plague and a far cry from the heroes they were back in the forties.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.