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United Kingdom Government Politics

UK Government Could Imprison People For Looking At Terrorist Content (betanews.com) 271

Mark Wilson writes: Not content with trying to "combat" encryption, the UK government also wants to criminalize looking at terrorist content. The leading Conservative party has announced plans which threaten those who "repeatedly view terrorist content online" with time behind bars. New laws will be introduced that could see consumers of terrorist content imprisoned for up to 15 years. The same maximum sentence would face those who share information about police, soldiers or intelligence agencies with a view to organizing terrorist attacks.
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UK Government Could Imprison People For Looking At Terrorist Content

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  • Wow!!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:24PM (#55302311)
    And 'Murricans are the evil ones. Between hate speech laws and now what appears to be the true beginnings of thoughtcrime, those sophisitcated Europeans are representin'.
    • In 1984 Airstrip One (UK) is controlled by the same political entity that controls north and south americas too..
      • In 1984 Airstrip One (UK) is controlled by the same political entity that controls north and south americas too..

        Every time I hear Airstrip, I think of landing strip, and that's a whole lot more pleasant a thought. Do go on.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In 1984, the government claims that it belongs to the same entity controlling North and South America. That same government also lies about all other geopolitical affairs.

        There's no proof in the novel that the government controls anything outside of Britain or that the American continents are even populated; they could just as well have been ravaged by war or turned so isolationist that they ignore Airstrip One. It's also possible that the three major powers of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia are in fact o

        • Re:Wow!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sabri ( 584428 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @02:18PM (#55303255)

          Once it's illegal to view any material the government deems dangerous, you can tell them anyone is your ally.

          Exactly this. The U.K. has been working on becoming a full police state for many years now. And every time I point this out I get downmodded here on /.

          But guess what, the joke's on you, silly Brits. You get what you vote for.

          The U.S. voted for a clown and got a clown. The U.K. voted for a police state, and got a police state.

    • I think the US and UK are in a competition to see who can out-crazy the other.

    • Remember, 1984 was a British book and that's what the British got.

      Brave New World was an American book and that's what the Americans got.

      And 1984 was a paradise compared to Brave New World.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The UK wants to divorce from Europe partly because those pesky European Human Rights keep getting in the way if their oppression.

  • Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:25PM (#55302315)

    Assuming the summary is a correct and concise one.

    You can't learn about terrorism without reading about it. Not reading about it leaves you ignorant. Being ignorant removes the tools for combating it.

    This is just a dumb, knee-jerk reaction idea from the start.

    • Re:Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:26PM (#55302323)

      Wouldn't this make anyone who regularly watches the news a criminal?

      • Wouldn't this make anyone who regularly watches the news a criminal?

        Not if they make it illegal to report on terrorism

        • My kids recently re-discovered Dinosaurs on Hulu. They just watched the "WAR" episodes where the media only reports what the government approves to be reported. If this goes through, expect a similar thing to happen. News won't be able to report on arguments against X because the government is in favor of X and has deemed all arguments against X to be "terrorist content."

        • Re:Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ian A. Shill ( 2791091 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @03:59PM (#55303897)

          Wouldn't this make anyone who regularly watches the news a criminal?

          Not if they make it illegal to report on terrorism

          But, it's always been illegal to report on terrorism.

      • Remember the movie "Brazil"? I think its depiction of a government that puts in a lot of effort to divert attention from acts of terror is not too far-fetched.
    • Stupid.

      It only seems stupid if you're not bright enough to see the actual motive.

      • >It only seems stupid if you're not bright enough to see the actual motive.

        Nope. Some of us know that motives don't make actions wise or unwise. There's even folk wisdom related to this - "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions".

        It doesn't matter how well-intentioned this idea's advocates are, it's a stupid idea.

        • I think you missed his actual implication, which is that this is motivated by something sinister. The road to 1984 is paved with "protect the children!".
          • Even with that interpretation, it's still stupid.

          • First they started with the pedos, cos' that's a no-brainer, right? Then they made "extreme" pr0n and cartoons illegal. Now it's "terrorist content" (With the government deciding what qualifies). What next? Attempting to educate yourself in an "non-sanctioned manner"?
            It's kind of a shame nobody said anything about "The thin end of the wedge" years go huh...?
    • Do the politicians intend to put MI-5 officers in jail, for trolling for terror intelligence? or will Her Majesty's Government issue a LICENSE for proper people to view terrorist websites?

      Stop! You're under-arrest for suspicion of viewing... oh, sorry, you've got a LICENSE to do that.

      Wait... it's EXPIRED!!! Stop, you fiend, or I'll blow my whistle!

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        ...will Her Majesty's Government issue a LICENSE for proper people to view terrorist websites?

        That seems likely. A license or equivalent. Enforcing child porn laws has similar protections.

        I have a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook that I downloaded as a teenager in the mid-90s. Should I be afraid?

        • only if you try making anything in the book; excellent way to maim yourself.

        • ...will Her Majesty's Government issue a LICENSE for proper people to view terrorist websites?

          That seems likely. A license or equivalent. Enforcing child porn laws has similar protections.

          I have a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook that I downloaded as a teenager in the mid-90s. Should I be afraid?

          If you are in the UK, yes you should be afraid or at least concerned. The UK government deems it to be associated with terrorism due to the instructions for making explosives. There was a court case in 2007/2008 where the government attempted (but failed) to prosecute someone for possession of it under the terrorism act of 2000.

    • Re:Stupid. (Score:4, Informative)

      by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @01:08PM (#55302711)

      You can't learn about terrorism without reading about it. Not reading about it leaves you ignorant. Being ignorant removes the tools for combating it.

      Well, you're not supposed to research it on your own. Listening to alternative political viewpoints and being able to form your opinions on your own is the greatest evil. Just stay away from those websites and wait for government approved educational materials to inform you about terrorism, and how you should feel about it.

      • Re:Stupid. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @01:26PM (#55302855)

        Yeah. An educated populace is always difficult to rule, but an uneducated populace is periodically DANGEROUS to rule.

        I'd rather have a constant bit of semi-civilized chaos than periodic anarchy.

        However, politicians are just people, like the rest of us. They can be stupid, short-sighted, and blinded by ideology just as easily as the rest of us. Maybe moreso, since that third item tends to lead you to a career in politics...

        • That's why you keep your populace uneducated but distracted ("bread and circuses") so that they never get to be dangerous. And if they ever start heading down the "dangerous" path, you either clamp down on them (a few key arrests, ideally discrediting the growing movement) or you give in with some meaningless concession ("I know you feel overtaxed so every citizen now gets free HBO for three months!").

        • An uneducated populace is easy to rule. Divide and conquer. Make them think an enemy is under every bad. Have them call the police rather than interact meaningfully with their neighbors. Keep them in their own echo chambers on social media. Encourage them to unfriend/block/unfollow people who don't march lock-step to their political leanings. Replace critical thinking and the three "r"s with the three "C"s: Confirm, Comply, and Consume.

          An educated populace will have none of that. They will go and re

          • An uneducated populace is easy to rule. Divide and conquer.

            Yet Hillary didnt win, and her divide and conquer party is disintegrating.

            • by suutar ( 1860506 )

              The other divide and conquer party is having a great time though.

    • by bsolar ( 1176767 )

      You can't learn about terrorism without reading about it. Not reading about it leaves you ignorant. Being ignorant removes the tools for combating it.

      This is just a dumb, knee-jerk reaction idea from the start.

      Authorities likely don't want you to educate yourself about terrorism: doing that might give you the unacceptable idea that it's not all dark their side and not all shiny yours.

      How it works is that the authorities tell you these terrorists are bad and you are expected to accept this as the truth, no questions, no need for you to investigate further.

      So the idea is bad, but likely not a dumb, knee-jerk reaction at all.

    • It also could allow politicians to ban a subject by deeming it terrorist content. "You think you have a right to look at information on birth control? Well, that could be used by terrorists so we've classified all birth control information as 'terrorist content.' You are now under arrest for viewing terrorist content."

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:26PM (#55302331)
    To the best my knowledge, you can be arrested for POSTING content critical of the government (or considered not in "public interests", but as far as I know, you aren't imprisoned for simply reading it (China as so many censor mechanisms in place it probably doesn't matter so much). Does this party even realize what precedent they are setting in proposing this?
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      It's "the end justifies the means" carried to insane extremes. Just proves the old adage that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

  • by aicrules ( 819392 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:29PM (#55302369)
    Come on guys...have you not seen V for Vendetta?
  • How are you Wiggy Buggers over there going to get your rights back without guns?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:44PM (#55302493)

      Your 2nd may not go away because of the gun nuts, but your 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and who knows what else are down the shitter.

      So, congratulations, you have the right to shoot into a crowd, but nobody is doing a fucking thing to protect the rest of your rights.

      Like it or not, America is trending to fascism just as fast as the Brits .. they just don't go around pretending to be a free society and acting smug about it.

      • The 2nd isn't under serious challenge by the government because, unlike many of the other amendments, the 2nd doesn't actually pose any sort of threat to the government.

    • What rights? You have no rights. You have a piece of paper that the government chooses to follow haphazardly and with all your might and all your guns you roll over and ignore your 4th amendment free zones, your places where guns are banned, and your general military police state you find yourself in where police are a protected entity even when they shoot and kill unarmed women in the pyjamas who were the ones who called them in the first place.

      Sure you have the right to a fair trial, apparently ... if you

      • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

        Your cherry picking skills are masterful and very non-representative of the actual state of this nation.

        • Your cherry picking skills are masterful and very non-representative of the actual state of this nation.

          Neither is your comment that you need guns to maintain rights. Quite frankly, guns or no guns, much of the western world are just sitting here eating our popcorn watching the incredible race to fucking up the nation. UK, USA? Who will win? I'm betting it's going to be a photo finish.

          By the way since your 4th-amendment free zone extends 100miles from any border (which technically includes any international servicing airport), I'm not just cherry picking, I'm cherry farming, and going to own a world wide mono

    • I'm not sure I agree that murdering 59 Country Music fans is a practical or effective way of gaining more rights.

    • Oh please. Exactly how many "rights" has the 2nd amendment gotten US citizens back? Every time armed citizens stand up to the government it always ends with them in prison or dead. See Ruby Ridge, Waco, whatever the hell that was in Oregon last year and more.

      You're not going to overthrow the government without the support of the armed services. If you don't have that support, they will kill you. If you do have that support, you don't need guns because they've got them. And tanks. And Apache attack co

      • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

        Same argument as in 1765, look how that turned out.

        Never underestimate determined and / or desperate humans.

        • Not even close. The weapons the "revolutionaries" have in their hands today are no match for the army, unlike back then who were close to parity for weapons tech. Or perhaps you'd like to show me a "well regulated citizens militia" with their own tank division, AA missile systems and maybe an aircraft carrier to round it out?

        • Same argument as in 1765, look how that turned out.

          The revolutionary war wasn't won because of a well-armed citizenry. The citizenry was actually poorly armed, poorly equipped, and poorly funded.

          It was won because of the support of foreign powers who were using the revolutionaries as pawn in a proxy war against England.

  • Not my cup of tea.
  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2017 @12:35PM (#55302423) Homepage
    This is the extension of an existing law [slashdot.org] for âoecollecting or making a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorismâ, or possessing such information.

    Apparently, as it stands, it does not cover streaming, so will be extended to reference it. The proposal would also change the penalty from a maximum of 10 years in prison to a maximum of 15 years.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      So everybody who owns a map can be imprisoned!!! FML.

    • Ah, so it's more a ban on terrorist training videos than terrorist propaganda.

      I'm not sure if that's fully compatible with a free society - a chemistry textbook would be pretty useful for a would-be bomber, but we don't want to ban stuff like that - but it's not as wholly incompatible with it as a ban on all pro-terrorist video.

      • Amber Rudd says she wants a law that allows people to visit a website once. The Guardian [theguardian.com] article says that the links would need to be clicked more than once for the offence to be committed. According to the Home Office:

        the updated offence will ensure that only those found to repeatedly view online terrorist material will be guilty of the offence, to safeguard those who click on a link by mistake or who could argue that they did so out of curiosity rather than with criminal intent.

        Here's a website [terminalcornucopia.com] that would be illegal to visit more than once under Amber Rudd's proposal. It shows how to make a Frag Grenade using materials from airport terminals.

        Here are some other links you might also want to click on.

        cat videos [bit.ly]
        more cat videos [goo.gl]
        cat videos yay! [tinyurl.com]

        I am hoping Amb

  • It's a little incongruous that the OP is suggesting* the UK could imprison people for *looking* at terrorist content, while (it seems at least from across the Atlantic) that you can't swing a dead cat in London without hitting firebrand Muslim clerics openly calling for the destruction of the west.

    *these sorts of posts are always bordering on the histrionic - "this is being considered" becomes "this has been made into law"

    • (it seems at least from across the Atlantic)

      Huh? It does?

    • by radja ( 58949 )

      If you get your impression of a city from the news, it will be flawed and heavily skewed towards the bad things that happen in a city. Even commercial travelling programs give you a better, more objective view of the city.

    • while (it seems at least from across the Atlantic) that you can't swing a dead cat in London without hitting firebrand Muslim clerics openly calling for the destruction of the west.

      Actually it only seems that way if you watch Fox News or subscribe to Infowars. Seriously, the rest of the country (you don't even have to get British people to comment) think you guys have gone batshit insane with your "EUROPE NOW UNDER SHARIA" polemics you guys post everywhere.

      Get out of your bubble and, you know, read som

  • I sure hope assuaging your liberal guilt has been worth it because you're paying one hell of a price.

  • I think a certain amount of political sanity will be restored to the EU once those twats from Westminster isolate themselves.

  • So, when these politicians start getting spammed with emails full of "terrorist content", are they going to report to have themselves locked up? What, there's a "legitimate reason" exclusion that will cover them?

    And no one was surprised when they wrote themselves out of the law that covers everyone else.

  • How is this any different from kiddie porn?

    In many countries, you can go to jail for looking at or possessing child pornography.

    So we're saying that even though terrorists are at least as bad as nonces, that Islamist snuff videos shouldn't be treated in the same way as child pornography.

    What am I missing here?

    • Did you just compare reading a terrorist manifesto to watching child porn? Or reading about the history of Islam?

      What you are missing is an understanding of how broad a term like "terrorist material" can end up being.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      "What am I missing here?"

      Should news station staff be locked up too?

      The fact that this stuff is on the news and they milk it as much as they possibly can. They've been told that reporting this stuff and glorifying killers and giving the killers names and life-history encourages others to commit similar crimes but the news carry on regardless. Giving these killers names and life details on mass media should be banned until the media can get a grip.

    • by Q-Hack! ( 37846 )

      Child porn is a well defined subject. A better analogy would be a general porn ban. Who defines what porn is? In this case, "terrorist content" is a bit nebulous.

  • Say it ain't sooo ooo o o

  • âoeThe past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.â

    - 1984, George Orwell

  • And best of all is that the Government gets to decide what is and what isn't "terrorist material"! Can't wait to see an entire country behind bars... I thought it would have been the USA that would win this race, but this is a power move by the UK.
  • That means in gathering military intelligence about your enemy, you should be imprisoned. Or if you are gathering academic research. Facepalm.
  • What we have here effectively is outlawing thoughts and ideas. Gone are the days of debate or even discussion (those already get you locked up for posting something wrong or MIBS at you door for the wrong search terms). You're not even allowed to think something is bad, just "thinking" about something irregardless of intent is criminal. It's a natural extension from "if you've got nothing to hide, you have no reason to be nervous" to "that thought would never cross the mind of an innocent person". If y
  • Home secretary Amber Rudd said: âoeI want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law.â By far-right propaganda I assumes she is referring to the Daily Mail, Sun, Express newspapers etc.
  • I'll [deliberately] side-step any question regarding the legitimacy of this as a piece of legislation, but would like to ask a question about implementing it.

    The question is, how can someone who has no intent to break the law be expected to know or have reasonable confidence that they *abide* by the law. If I see a link on a page that reads, "how to make your own garden pond" and the link instead takes me to a page about home made explosives, am I guilty?

    If I work in the defence industry to design and
  • If you're dumb enough to browse questionable content openly and without the use a VPN or TOR Proxy, then it's really just punishment for not thinking before you act.
    • Except that they also want to criminalize using encrypted proxies. Because only terrorists use encryption, right?
  • The UK really is in the leading edge when it comes to creeping toward a pervasive police state.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, at least they lead in one regard. If they manage to go a bit faster, they could even be useful as an example what to decidedly not do with freedoms.

  • Its going to be hard to research terrorism if itâ(TM)s illegal to look at their trail on the internet. This should be a big boost to the terrorists. Viewing their content will be âforbidden fruitâ(TM) for disturbed or dissatisfied folks but genuine research into their content, recruitment methods, etc will be illegal. In situations where parents are trying to track down runaway children whoâ(TM)ve hooked up with terrorists the process of looking for their kids will make them criminals. W
  • And so the establishment of a totalitarian regime continues. Expect this nice law to be applied to anything those in power do not like very soon.

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.

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