back to article EU plans ban on bomb-making info on websites

European Union Justice, Freedom (sic) & Security Commissioner Franco Frattini yesterday turned up the volume on terror threats, ahead of the EU's adoption of "an ambitious counter terrorism package" next month. Terrorists, said Frattini, seek new technology, could deploy bioterrorism with devastating effect, and if they got hold …


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  1. tranquil

    that should do the trick... long as there also a ban on GCSE chemistry.

  2. Tony Barnes

    Freedom of anything nowadays?

    Surely the prevention of the spread of any knowledge in this manner is a sure fire way to open up the floodgates of censorship??

    We don't live in China. If we want to find out how to build a bomb, why shouldn't we be able to? The crime is only committed when the bomb is built and used - something that any ardent terrorist will have resourced from places elsewhere than the internet.

    At the end of the day, we "have" the right to do or say anything we chose, so long as we are ok with suffering the consequences. This is just another retarded, knee-jerk step towards Big Brother ruling...

  3. The Other Steve
    Paris Hilton

    Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    "identity fraud, child abuse and terrorist propaganda"

    Ah of course. Draconian measures to protect me from the well known triumvirate of evil, crims, kiddy fiddlers and terrorists.

    He forgot to mention immigrants, some oversight on his part, surely.

    "think about "what we have in common [with the US]""

    Obesity, arrogance, criminal foreign policy, a totalitarian regime bent on removing our few remaining meaningful freedoms ?

    Yeah, it's a long list.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It looks like we're going to have to add burning web sites to the list of things we need to do to stop the terror.

    Me, I'm shitting it all the time, I can't even leave the house, but that's because of the government, rather than the terrorists. ;)

  5. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Too late

    I can already make home made dynamite, napalm, thermite, use readily available chemicals as poisons, and kill people with far less inventive means, like stabbing them.

    Why don't I? Last time I checked, the military might of the western world didn't bomb the shit out of my country because they didn't like the way the dude they put in power ran the joint.

    Nice one, folks.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So MSD sheets would be banned?

    Like this one?

    Especially bad as it includes instructions on how to make it go off..

    And the even more entertaining:-

    And hiding this information makes us safer?

    That's me off to gitmo then..

  7. Cameron Colley

    Anyone ever heard of a concept called freedom?

    I'm sure, when I was in school, they talked about this thing called "freedom" -- apparently my grandparents fought against this bloke called Hitler who wanted to take it away from us, thousands o0f people, lots of them innocent, died in the conflict.

    If anyone knows what this "freedom" thing is, and if there's any around now, I'd be interested to hear from you -- from what I remember older folk saying it was a really important thing to have, worth dying for, in fact.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Didn't the NAZIs loose?

    Can we also expect gangs of brown-shirts to raid libraries and burn unacceptable books in the town square?

  9. Graham Dawson Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Believe it or not...

    It is entirely possible to fight terrorism without restricting our rights.

    There are two ways to do this. The first is to actually be competent and go after terrorist funding organisations... which our government doesn't because they're a bunch of idiots. The second is to do like the EU and simply re-define the meaning of the word "rights" to be "privileges that are bestowed by the state", which is quite obvious from the wording of the human rights act and the directive that spawned it.

    Our rights, as defined in the bill of rights 1689, and magna carta before that, are quite clearly innate, not granted, but in recent years we've been educated to believe that all our rights extend from the patronage of the state. The state serves to protect our rights, not define them, and frankly I think they need reminding of that.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Bomb making?

    Oh so its the websites is it, and not as I would have thought after my mis-spent youth the old chemistry books in the library which have thermite spelled thermit and sulfur spelled sulphur that teach you how to make bombs...

    I remember one book I was reading when of a young age described the processes for RDX, HMX, TNT, Amatol and Anfos for the high order explosives with starter compounds including lead azide and others in great detail, the kind of detail which isn't difficult to follow with a make-do kind of attitude.

    You cannot protect people from information, human knowledge belongs to the world and no matter how it is controlled it still exists. This is why we don't ban or burn books.

    Apart from the fact that banning anything could just as easily motivate people to pursue violent extreme behavior towards the government. I know I'd rather the information be on the internet than not, regardless of its content.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Quick ban methamphetamine making instructions, it'll fix the meth problem!

    Quick, if we ban instructions on making methamphetamine from the internet it will fix our drugs problem! It's so easy, I wonder why we didn't think of it before! Why we could stop smoking in a second by banning instructions on rolling you're own tomatoes! It's not really tomatoes you use in cigarettes, but I can't tell you what they're really made of because it's now banned. Bet you can't guess!

    Reality check:

    You CAN make a secret into public information by revealing it. But you CAN'T make public information into a secret by UNrevealing it. Time works forward and information entropy means information always spreads out.

    Especially when you're only UNrevealing it on the Internet while keeping the same information in books and people heads and printed papers.

    Frattini is the King Canute of information.

    I suspect the Internet *didn't* do it, it's just relatively new, and new things are always blamed when new problems arise. A convienient quick non fix that makes he look busy.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    too late

    I already downloaded the jolly roger cookbook over tor.

  13. Morely Dotes
    Black Helicopters

    @ Nomen Publicus: Yes, the Nazis are loose.

    And running at least the US and UK.

    However... "Terrorists, said Frattini, seek new technology, could deploy bioterrorism with devastating effect, "

    Aside from the fractured English there (is the writer really Welsh, and named Gumby?), all the terrorists need do is order a load of chicken from the St. Hubert restaurant chain in Quebec. That stuff is boring to the point of deadly. A bout of salmonella might add some interest to it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @Graham Dawson

    The Human Rights Act simply incorporates into UK law the European Convention on Human Rights, which has nothing to do with the EU.

    As the UK has been a signatory to the convention since its inception, the only difference the introduction of the Act made was to make it easier to get a domestic remedy without having to go to the European Court.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    They're already doing it

    Have you tried to find ******** or ***** or even ***** genomes on the iNet? No? You won't find them, at least not anymore. Some of the stuff the fringies have looks suspiciously like vaccinia.... or maybe honey in a honeypot.

    Generate a few trillion copies of the Real Thing, eventually one folds up correctly, stuff them all in capsids and and genie escapes from the bottle in the freezer without physically leaving the freezer. Kiddie script stuff off eBay, well, if you are much smarter than a typical suicide bomber handler anyway. (Oh NOOOO! Now eBay will be banned as a tool of the terrorists!)

    Creating something new under the sun, from scratch, now that is beyond the current pale.

  16. Michael
    Thumb Up


    "The state serves to protect our rights, not define them, and frankly I think they need reminding of that."

    I'll drink to that.

  17. Cambrasa


    If I want to find out how to make a bomb I can find that information in any university library. Or on any subscription-based academic database such as sciencedirect.

    And even if I'm too stupid for that, I can probably find it on a p2p network. How is banning websites going to make ANY difference? Yet another useless populist policy. Yet more red tape to stifle the free nature of the internet.

  18. Sean Nevin

    Re: too late

    Don't use the jolly roger cookbook. Don't even use the real thing. Sure there's a few workable ideas in them, but the vast majority of the 'receipts' in there are crap. Don't even get me started about the 'hacking' and 'fone phreaking' tutorials...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    hacking is much better

    I already know how to make bombs doesn't suit me take a few chemistry courses you lazy terrorists better than that though I usually know a few months ahead of the rest of the world about security vulnerabilities in the products I use I can't help it I notice shit. Anyway try to tell these pandering idiots what sort of hell they are capable of being in and they won't comprehend a thing but it does worry me.

  20. Joe

    Now you've done it

    You do realise that all you posters who have complained in this thread are being tracked down as I type by the NSA. Have a look out of the curtains, go on... see the van parked across the road....

    Maybe we should ban the instructions for flying planes too (9/11). Oh hang on, I can see a problem with that - doh!

  21. Anonymous Coward


    To quote a favourite movie:

    "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

  22. Sandra Keegan

    Defense of freedoms

    Comments in this string reflect the strength and the validity of opinions opposed to these EU proposals. What is troubling is the implicit begrudging acceptance of this state of affairs. The mentality behind the Frattini remarks needs to be challenged intelligently and systematically. It will not likely be challenged at all by the representatives of national governments, like the UK, when discussing these proposals, because they will be coming from the police and security authorities of national governments.

    Where will the good governance angle come in? Where will the thoughtful questioning of means and objectives take place? Injecting something like rational discourse into the consideration of the adoption of these proposals would seem like a no-brainer in order to find the right balance between protecting our rights and freedoms and fighting identity fraud, terrorism, etc.

    Magazines like The Economist forthrightly criticise Frattini-type ideas with logical arguments but they are unlikely to influence the adoption procedure at EU level.

    Americans (some - not all) were induced into accepting curbs on personal freedoms and privacy by repeated governmental invocations of protecting the country from terrorists. This is exactly the same type of strategy as Frattini is now using to justify his proposals.

    Some kind of citizens' activism in the EU seems appropriate, if the Frattini-type mindset is not to prevail. Unfortunately, it may already be too late to reverse the trend. But it's surely worth a try. Perhaps we should join or support EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation at

  23. Andraž Levstik

    Welcome to what I like to call...

    Totalitarism 2.0(doing it proper)

    Hitler and Mussolini didn't have a clue how to do it proper... The current breed of freeloaders do...

  24. Anteaus

    Ban everything!

    ... and if we had banned places that show you how to fly a plane, then we could have avoided 9/11.

    Seriously, a fair proportion of chemical compounds are explosive to some degree or other. The ones that are well-known (RDX,TNT, etc) are so not so much because they explode, but because they are safe to handle and store.

    A fact which came to light with the Tube bombings is that a suicide jockey doesn't care too much if the bomb goes off prematurely, and that means his options as to materials are much wider than those of a terrorist who intends to stay alive. That makes the control of such information far harder, if not impractical.

  25. The Other Steve

    @Sandra Keegan

    I was just thinking what a decent comment that was, until I read the last sentence :

    "Perhaps we should join or support EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation at"

    Then I nearly wet myself laughing. I applaud your conviction, but you need someone more credible than the EFF to help you express it.

  26. FrankR

    freedom to blow yourself up

    I honestly think its safer to have these idiots trying to build their own devices and thus getting caught or blowing themselves up than being forced to recruit people who actually know what they're doing.

    Those who rely on the net for this info are easy meat for the security forces, it flushes them out.

    Perhaps we should put up some pages showing how to make bombs which are , er, unstable......"when you've made your TNT you must first redistill it at high temp..."

  27. ET Intel

    @Believe it or not

    "The state serves to protect our rights, not define them, and frankly I think they need reminding of that."

    This was tried some years ago, but failed. I thought that the reason for celebrating Guy Fawkes night was to remind them. Maybe a bigger bang is needed!

  28. Sandra Keegan

    @by the other steve

    Happy to be corrected as to my understanding of the credibility of EFF. But, if not them, then who or what organisation in Europe would have the standing to criticise these proposals in ways that will be 'heard' by those who need to hear it (media included) and persuade enough people to take a stand? Not even the European Parliament will be able to hold back the security freaks intent on 'protecting' us, so he/she/it will have to be persuasive enough to reach the ears of other national authorities, if the police and security folks turn out to be immune to argument, which is likely. Having seen the way the data retention directive was (badly) drafted and adopted, I'm not terribly hopeful.

  29. Andy Davies

    they missed the old schoolboys' favourite - ammonium tri-iodide.

  30. Harry Stottle
    Black Helicopters

    Good Idea Frattini! Apart from...

    1 Your stupidity would knock Wiki offline, together with at least 20 other online encyclopedias who describe the basic construction (bottle filled with a mixture of gasoline, sand and soap suds, with a burning rag in its mouth) of a Molotov Cocktail

    2 publishing that paragraph has just condemned el reg to the censorship bin

    3 define "bomb"

    4 If I'm actually intent on being or encouraging bombers, the last place I'm going to publish my guidance is in a publicly available online website

    5 But that doesn't stop me providing all the gory details in a password protected site or forum

    6 If I want a bit of free publicity for my website, I could simply publish a number of bomb making guides, wait for the challenge and make a public fuss about the censorship for long enough to attract the traffic, then gracefully concede (and get a little bit more publicity for the concession)

    7 Even if such rules were implemented in the EU then, despite being a UK citizen, they couldn't (for example) touch my own website and its comprehensive bomb making guide because it's hosted in the States (where the 1st Amendment protects it!)

    8 You are a bloody good advert for Assassination Politics.

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