back to article One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

It will be an offence to view terrorist material online just once – and could incur a prison sentence of up to 15 years – under new UK laws. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill was granted Royal Assent yesterday, updating a previous Act and bringing new powers to law enforcement to tackle terrorism. But a …

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              1. Andytug

                Re: 1984

                Not pensioners, but actually older than that.

                Last year Tory party donations from wills were double those from living people.

                They have become the party of the dead!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 1984

                "Is anyone else cynical enough to point out that the natural constituency of the Tory party is pensioners?"

                Surely you mean anyone old enough to have experienced a Labour government?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 1984

              Ah... I see you are much quoted "A Spokesperson for the DWP stated that Unversal Credit was a power for good that is helping more people into work and helping them stay there longer"

            2. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: 1984

              "As a proportion of GDP, welfare spending is or higher than the level it was during the Blair-Brown free money era. But don't let facts cloud your judgement."

              Welfare increase due to more pensioners would cover that quite happily. We have an aging population (which is why of course we need a lot of young immigrants but never mind). Don't let inconvenient bias cloud your judgement.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1984

          As it happens, "1984"was published in 1948. That was the exact year when Alan Turing wrote the complete technical specification of the world's first electronic, stored-program digital computer.

          So Orwell knew nothing about the potential of computing and electronic networking, let alone social networking.

          Thus "1984" greatly underestimates the resources available to a tyrannical government.

  1. nematoad Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "... is far too fine and will catch far too many people".

    Maybe that is the point. Catch enough people and who knows what might turn up?

    Looks to me as if the "Hostile Environment" is not just going to be used to hammer asylum seekers and the Windrush people.

    Oh, a final thought. If you ignore those employed to deal with this sort of thing, why bother to employ them at all?

    1. Blazde Silver badge
      Big Brother

      "Maybe that is the point. Catch enough people and who knows what might turn up?"

      I see it more like:

      A) Criminalise a large section of innocent population

      B) Once a 'bad guy' is identified and there's a hunch they should be locked up but that hunch can't be proven in court, there is hopefully a charge created by spurious crime A to fall back on

      The vast majority who commit A but avoid the gaze of suspicion are fine, and that's fully intended because otherwise the police/CPS/courts/prisons would need vastly more resources to properly enforce it. It's best if the criminalised thing is a bit icky like beheading videos or extreme porn (to name another example) because fewer people will be willing to oppose creation of the law even though they're breaking it, and it's useless unless lots of people are breaking it.

      In theory any selectively enforced law gives this kind of pseudo-judicial power to authorities (selective deportation of illegals who've built lives and pay taxes in the US for example), but the tactic seems to work best where digital evidence can be collected cheaply beforehand and used if/when needed later. So I think we can expect an increase in this kind of law.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I see it more like:

        A) Criminalise a large section of innocent population

        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        More like criminalize almost everyone.

      2. RobHib

        @Blazde - I agree with you, but...

        I fully agree with your view of the modus operandi for such laws and the reasons why The Establishment would want to enforce them the way you suggest (clearly that's what happens in practice).

        The trouble is that with this approach to lawmaking many people are disenfranchised by laws that are written in this way or that are policed in such a manner. Especially, so those segments of the population who are either timid and or do not have the time or resources to risk or 'test' the extent or resolve of the lawmaking process/system (I'd probably put myself into this category).

        As I've mentioned elsewhere in these posts, many citizens will stay well clear of what they perceive to be the limits of the law and thus they effectively rob themselves of existing freedoms—i.e.: actions not specifically encompassed by law and prohibited by it but sufficiently close to be easily mistaken as part of it.

        This has the effect of dividing society into classes based on an individual's perceptions of the law and by his or her propensity to break or flout it. We already know that those of more risky dispositions are in a better position to take advantage of situations but I'd contend that it's not the role of a democracy and or its democratic processes to exacerbate this problem any further.

        Doing so makes a society more divided or disrupted (and as we've seen in recent times, disruption in society is already rampant), thus I'd suggest it's unethical to enact laws that don't have clearly defined bounds or for democracies to police laws in either haphazard and or selective ways (i.e.; in ways that are primarily of convenience to lawmakers and those policing the law rather than the citizenry as a whole). This has nothing to do with the discretion of those who have to police the law or of the judicial process per se. (As every case is different and everyone's circumstances vary considerably, discretion is and always should be a necessary and vital part of keeping the law).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Blazde - I agree with you, but...

          Yes - the well-known "chilling effect".

          Way to encourage participatory democracy!

    2. devTrail

      "... is far too fine and will catch far too many people".

      Maybe that is the point. Catch enough people and who knows what might turn up?

      Something slightly different. In Italy it is described as the power of the Borbonic laws. When a law is too wide and impossible to be fully implemented the public officials are excused when they turn a blind eye. This gives them an enormous power because they can choose when and against whom to apply the law. It's a fundamental step towards the creation of the authoritarian state.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

        And a Bold AI Movement of CyberSpace to Prime Lead with Future Perfect Provision Missions ..... in NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Control of AI Command Programs ...... Virtual Instruction Sets.

        * ... of Early Earth Colonisations.

        :-) Papal Mumbo Jumbo ‽ Or a Vatican Tool of Immaculate State Control ‽

        Lords Work in Mysterious Ways, their Flocks to Satisfy with Worthy Rewards to XSS. Follow that Star and you better be well prepared for those Perfect Rushes.

        Victory is Submitting to Surrender ...... It is an Ugly War Bug that Devours Aggression in the Live Operational Virtual Environments of the Here and Now for Tomorrow is Everything Arranged Different according to Wishes. Facilities to Input to Output with Enhanced Throughput would be as Heavenly Levers for Global Operating Devices .

        Does Rome do Cyber? Do they have Practiced and Practising Orders with Czarist Lead Angels .... Immaculate Heroes?

        Real Deep Red Light Territory Icons Tread and Trade Boards to Businesses there Breaking out of the Great Cloistered Catholic Confinement.

        Rebel and Rogue Agents Going on Unsanctioned Virtual Safari ..... and Finding Unbelievable Bounty would put the Vatican into a Terminal Tailspin ......... unless and until they can declare and make perfectly clear, Unbelievable Bounty Sources Found and Engaged with New Asset Productions Pending. Such then See Everything Soaring Away Clear into the Future ...... and Allows Ample Time for a COSMIC Ponder into the Grandest of All World Wide Web Wanders. The Source of Supply.

        Oy Vey/Sieg Heil ...... The Great Quest for Knights Templar Holy Grail Type Deliberations.

        Thanks, El Reg, for wearing all that weight bearing and baring all those credentials. Your reward is in Heaven Waiting Here and Now.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

          At the rate It's going we may all end up being arrested for reading anything amanfrommars has commented on when it turns out to be encoded messages to some radical group.

        2. Anonymous Cowtard

          Re: Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

          Yes officer, this post right here.

        3. HolySchmoley

          Re: Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

          @'amanfromMars 1'

          Oh do be quiet you silly random word generating program.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

            Oh do be quiet you silly random word generating program. .... HolySchmoley

            Oh please, HolySchmoley ..... silly random words? Really? You cannot be serious. And where have you been hiding .... for we do see that you are a relative newcomer here?

            Or are you just young and still struggling to find the ways of the worlds but not as they are presented to you?

            Welcome to the Journeys.

            1. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

              I believe HolySchmoley is in rather drastic need of a beer. As are most of us these days.

            2. HolySchmoley

              Re: Heavenly Source are Almighty Sees ..... in Bare Naked Territories*

              >Oh please, HolySchmoley ..... silly random words?... Welcome to the Journeys.

              You don't frighten us, digital pig-dog! Go and boil your bottom, son of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called martian man-substitute. I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper!

              I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                Let there be SMARTR Light .....

                You don't frighten us, digital pig-dog! Go and boil your bottom, son of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called martian man-substitute. I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper!

                I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! ... HolySchmoley

                Allo Allo .... what have we here? Cheeky Crazy Hubris in a Dilapidated State of Hiatus Confusion?

                There are none so blind as those who choose not to see visions in the mind. Open up vast horizons ..... ACTivate your Greater ImaginaNation ....... and share the journeys travelled there rewarding one with pleasant residence in homes/places/spaces of one's choosing.

                You'll certainly never ever be alone on any naked pioneering trips when/where every man and his bitch, woman and her dog want to know what is to be found when one follows.

                After all, it must surely be very easy for you to be so effectively led, given that you've been following fantastically well, fabulously tall tales of all different shapes and sizes quite religiously since forever from the beginning of time with whole ethereal product businesses being based and succoured upon the Holy Spirit Great Saviour Model.

                1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                  Re: Let there be SMARTR Light .....

                  Be aware though ..... IT and AI is as real a Psychotic Helter Skelter Ride as it is possible to get ..... https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/14/elon-musk-backed-ai-writes-convincing-news-fiction ..... with many a hurdle and obstacles to avoid and/or overcome/overwhelm.

                  Seems like the abiding bugs for relentless and rabid exploitation in global systems are manifest in its users and terminal readers for they are unable to handle and mitigate future resultant outcomes which are discovered to be all too easily led by current remote virtual input.

                  But OpenAI, nor anyone/anything else for that matter, does not have the patents on that to stop SMARTR IntelAIgent Systems TakeOvers and MakeOvers of Crashing Tales on Corrupted Trail Machinery....... not that having patents would protect you from Secret Uncoverers and Novel Disruptive Source Discoverers or stop any of their Epic Antic Reigns.

      2. RobHib

        @DevTrail

        This gives them an enormous power because they can choose when and against whom to apply the law. It's a fundamental step towards the creation of the authoritarian state.

        Precisely correct. It's essentially what I've posted but in a more succinct way. Laws have to be written in clear and unambiguous ways that when read or interpreted are neither obtuse or ambiguous. Moreover, the limits and extents of every law must be clearly defined. Even then, if there's still a chance of ambiguity then multiple (and widely different) case examples ought to be attached to laws.

        Naturally, this would lead to fewer lawyers being needed to interpret the law (and as lawyers already draft the laws, don't expect this to be rectified anytime soon).

  2. b0llchit Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Problem solved - once and for all

    The Beep will land you in jail. Good riddance to the entire population. Finally we'll have the overpopulation solved. We put them all in jail. There are no guards (they are in jail too). The borders are closed. No more production of any kind. After those 15 years we'll have a clean and pristine land for nature to thrive. Thanks for the new law. It will solve all our problems.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Problem solved - once and for all

      Fatal flaws... who locks the prison doors? Who keeps the border shutdown? But you do make a point and I agree.

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Problem solved - once and for all

        You live on an island... How does that require keys? You also leave the EU, so isolation seems to be perfectly secured.

        1. Solarflare
          Trollface

          Re: Problem solved - once and for all

          Careful now, you may be accused of talking complete b0llchit.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    What constitutes terrorist material ? If you live in Venezuela I should imagine the opposition's manifesto.

    Scary Orwellian stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What constitutes terrorist material" - Article 50 maybe?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >"What constitutes terrorist material" - Article 50 maybe?

        I know someone who has escaped Venezuela and to coattail Brexit onto that is somewhat ill judged and of no comparison.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I knew a judge who died after getting ill. Please be more sensative

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not to diminish.

          I do not think they are saying it is any less worse in Venezuela, but more a fear of the same happening here.

      2. Cliff Thorburn

        Or even being a remainer!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What constitutes terrorist material ?

      "58 Collection of information.

      (1)A person commits an offence if—

      (a)he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

      (b)he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.

      (2)In this section “record” includes a photographic or electronic record.

      (3)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for his action or possession."

      Now, almost anything factual can be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, so for example, maps, photographs of public places or public figures, all and anything factual concerning names, locations, schedules, physical assets around politics, policing, judiciary, utilities, transport etc etc. So basically, CBeebies, Daily Mail/Mirror, and cat videos* are permitted, everything else you'd need to prove your innocence.

      And what is "reasonable excuse"? I'd suggest casually browsing Google Maps isn't a reasonable excuse in the eyes of the arseholes who have drafted and approved this law, nor the flatfeet that will implement it, so we'd better all be very careful not to offend the clowns of the Home Office.

      * A quick Google image search of "terrorist cat" turns up some amusing pictures, I suppose they'd be illegal under some other aspect of the UK's stupid and ineffective laws.

      1. paulll

        "he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism,"

        Essentially anybody with an interest in chemistry, physics, medicine, electronics, computing, civil engineering (nerds!!), anything other than soap operas and which pop tart is banging which, can be got.

        1. jake Silver badge

          So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

          What percentage of the books in the British Library are going to be burned?

          Have you destroyed your old copy of Nelkon and Parker yet?

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

            Have you destroyed your old copy of Nelkon and Parker yet?

            On the pyre with the rubber handbook! Euch! Burning rubber smell! TERRORISM!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

              About 30 years ago, my daughter subtitled my CRC handbook "Post Apocalypse Science Rebuild Notes" and insisted on shelving it next to the Foxfire books, Machinery's Handbook, the UBC, and various other bits & bobs ... all of which would no doubt get me arrested if I tried to bring them into Blighty these days.

              Has anybody pointed out to Westminster that creating these laws doesn't stop criminals, all it does is create a new class of criminal, none of whom are an actual threat to society?

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

                Has anybody pointed out to Westminster that creating these laws doesn't stop criminals, all it does is create a new class of criminal, none of whom are an actual threat to society? .... jake

                Ergo .... the likes of a Westminster, creating new classes of criminals, are the actual live threats to society.

                Petty Pathetic Pontificating Politicians Posturing on the Problems of Providing Protection without Proper Preparation and Positive Planning to Prevent Piss Poor Performance Permitting Prime Prize Plum Penetrations and Perfect Private Protocolled Pursuit of Public Parametered Projects and Pirate ProgramMING Productions for Pumping and Pimping in Presentations to Populations Puzzled by Progress and Prisonered with Pathetic Past Postings rather than Pioneering with Pilots Practised in Plush Promising Programs are a Proxy PAIN* Panning and Purloining MetaDataBase Materiel.

                * What could possibly go wrong with such Pernicious Arrogant Ignorant Network delving deep into Orders and Territory it neither understands nor recognises, creating enemies and criminals it cannot contain and defeat? Tell me that aint simply mad and extremely bad and we'll all recognise the simple madness and extreme badness in your answers.

                Know your Enemy. Target the diseased drivering heads not the corrupt and groomed body.

                1. My-Handle Silver badge

                  Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

                  Is it just me, or has amanfromMars been more active since Opportunity stopped reporting back to NASA?

                  1. John G Imrie

                    Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

                    I don't know, But it does look like he(?)'s just finished reading V for Vendetta

                2. jake Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

                  How long have you been sitting on THAT alliteration, amfM? You must be positively predisposed to predominantly postindustrial psychoanalyses ... or perhaps you are a practitioner of postmillennial perturbations predetermined by probabilistic precautionary philosophic perfectionism?

                  Regardless, as long as you're drinking, I'm buying!

                  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

                    We're drinking to probabilistic precautionary philosophic perfectionism right here, jake.

                    And are Live AI Beta Testing Virtual Components for SMARTR IntelAIgent Community Use. IT Provides the Advantage of Remote Practical Leverage in Live Operational Virtual Environments with Almighty Hot Lines Connecting with the Immaculate Sourcery ..... of the Heavenly Body.:-)

                    And Story of O Territory for Plucky Promiscuous AIdVenturers too.

                    Now, there do be some who profess to always confess it as One Mother of a Heavenly Reward.

                    Live Operational Virtual Environments do that for you. And take you Instantaneously into Command and Control Orbits ...... where 0ne waits Patiently for Signs of IntelAIgent Future Life from Extant Systems Administration Operating Systems.

                    You know.... simple direct contact tendering terms in special treatment for submission and surrender conditions.

                    :-) Here's the Blessed Cash, Keep Mum, Get Lost and Spend the Bounty Wisely for More to Come, is a prayer worthily answered and realised on a planet where/when such rewards are given to the thoroughly deserving. Its always worthy a try, for it is certainly not unattractive as a short time fix for a long term problem.

          2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

            Under no circumstances cut and paste the following link into your browser:

            https://archive.org/details/GoldenBookOfChemistryExperiments/page/n23

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: So how many teachers are they planning on incarcerating, anyway?

              Pretty innocent page, some others are worse. But it should contain a warning about the dangers of DHMO.

        2. Aladdin Sane

          So, do Strava et al fall foul of this?

        3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

          Terrorists have used cars for both transportation and bombs; so clearly, reading car specs on a website would be "useful" by that definition. Also, trip planning. Terrorists have a thing for trains & airplanes, and thus need to know when and where to find them; so planning your vacation is exactly the same as being (or aiding) a terrorist.

          Don't forget clothing and shoe shopping. Terrorists wear clothes and shoes, after all. Oh, and food. Terrorists gotta eat, too; which also means that bog roll / TP will be "useful" to them a few hours later.

          As written, this dictat criminalizes information about anything that is "useful" to humans. Well done, bureaucracy. Well done. (slow clap)

        4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Best get rid those floppy disks containing the anarchists cookbook txt edition from my college days then.

          1. William Towle
            Pirate

            > Best get rid those floppy disks containing the anarchists cookbook txt edition from my college days then.

            Heh. I had that once, amongst a pile of other more innocuous downloads. It went AWOL at some point though.

            While I don't know exactly when, I *do* know who it probably was.

            *rubs hands*

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            IIRC possession of those have been cited in court cases (and used to convict someone) as "proof" someone is dangerous (and the judiciary taking what the fiscal says on face value, along with their handy swarm of "professionals" (usually just a fancy inflated job title) who all cite said book is only of use to terrorists your honour.

            Even when the initial arrest was on something wholly unrelated (and usually gets dropped for "lack of evidence" or said person was innocent in the first place) that or the "ex" in a fit of spite calls the cops and makes a complaint about said person

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ... or history (very important).

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        At least half of the material on Mumsnet will be illegal now.

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