back to article UK to introduce new laws and a code of practice for police wanting to rifle through mobile phone messages

A new UK law will explicitly authorise the "voluntary" slurping of data from mobile phones of crime suspects and witnesses. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which was introduced to Parliament this week, contains clauses that will allow police and others to extract data from mobile phones if the user "voluntarily …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Reforms intended to protect the innocent from miscarriages of justice became the focus of BBW's campaigning, with the pressure group arguing the pendulum had tilted too far against victims of crime."

    This is a fraught area. Those who are subject to a false accusation are also victims of crime.

    IME investigators really do want to do the right thing by the victim but working out who the victim is is far from straightforward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what's worse

      Is when the alleged victim turns out to be the perpetrator plod/cps do nothing. No wasting police time, no perjury charges if it gets to court, or worse the victim is falsely imprisoned.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if the user "voluntarily" hands the device over.

    so what's the penalty if you refuse the offer to cooperate voluntarily? Quick taser or a fine, as a friendly warning for 'fuck off', then followed by a taser? Make your choice, citizen, I have no time to stand here all day!

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Trollface

      Only the guilty would refuse...

      If you've done nothing wrong you dont need to worry.

      What are you trying to hide, citizen?

      1. Fizban64

        Re: Only the guilty would refuse...

        I like Marty's answer over quora...

        Marty Riggs

        Answered 10 months ago · Author has 112 answers and 306.6K answer views

        Question asked: Joseph Goebbels coined the term "if you have nothing to fear you have nothing to hide". Does that bother law enforcement? If their argument to search without a warrant is quoting a Nazi, how does that give them the moral high ground over taxpayers?

        Everyone has something to hide. But, that’s another story.

        I would be more concerned about your elected scum, called politicians, who use this phrase to justify monitoring the Internet, your phone, and mail, as well as justifying invasive practices on the war on drugs and the war on terror.

        For me, I never asked unless I was certain I had a damn good reason. One that would get me a warrant if I asked. In other words, I was giving you a chance to HELP me instead of making me be the bad guy. Being able to say, “Your Honor, he was extremely cooperative and helpful during the incident” could actually get them a lesser sentence or charge if the judge was in a good mood. Hell, I could even overlook some minor shit that didn’t matter (in the real world).

        Let’s face it, all governments are evil in a way. The Nazis are just demonized today so that others can look better. Read up on Hitler’s speeches and then compare them to today’s American politicians. Reagan was the last one I heard who spoke against a larger government and didn’t quote Nazis. Since then, including Clinton and Obama, they have used the same old lines and then done whatever the hell they wanted to do once elected. At least Trump didn’t do that. Yet, he’s seen as the worst of them.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Only the guilty would refuse...

          PEDANT ALERT

          The actual thing is

          "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear."

          end PEDANT ALERT

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Only the guilty would refuse...

          Trump?

          1 - Drain the swamp (he filled it with bankers, oil execs, and other corporate shills)

          2 - Make America Great Again

          3 - The best healthcare regorm ever.

          4 - Build that wall.

          I don't recall him promising to lower taxes for the rich, but that was one of the first things he did.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Only the guilty would refuse...

            Lugenpresse

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Only the guilty would refuse...

              Which one of those is a lie?

              Shouting "fake news" is moronic, whatever language you say it in.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Since then, including Clinton and Obama, they have used the same old lines

          while I share the general sympathy with the notion that 'the government is NOT your friend', and I'm absolutely not versed in what constitutes a valid argument, I feel that this one is misguided, i.e. 'all governments use Nazi arguments, therefore, by association, they pick up some of that very nasty nazi-smell. I would reduce it to the simpler one: Hitler built the motorways, therefore all governments that do, are like Hitler. Clearly motorways (never mind narrow and broader impact on environments, death rate, etc.), are not 'evil'. Somehow, I feel, the problem is not with arguments themselves, but what purpose they are used for by politicians. And here, I could happily agree that all politicians use more or less the same, generally populist arguments to achieve one goal, and one goal only, i.e. to rule, and to do so by gaining a whiff of 'legitimacy', both for the interior public (well, we chose him, the will of the people, yeah, if he gets too crazy, he'll be voted out with next elections, etc..) - and to derail international criticism and potential action (well, they chose me, so fuck off / well, they chose him, so it's not our problem).

          Somehow, I feel nothing's changed, i.e. Hitler was a sign of his times, which people generally accepted that you prosecute and persecute minorities (convenient that those minorities were disliked elsewhere). Nowadays, he wouldn't be, because times have moved on. He'd be one of those 'radicals', offering simple solutions to complex problems. But yes, the populist ideas and arguments live on, as we know, only they're packaged differently. Message is the same: I give you a simple solution to ALL your problems, just give me POWER and 'together'... (yeah, together ;)

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: Since then, including Clinton and Obama, they have used the same old lines

            Hitler's speeches weren't all original to him either. If something works, use it. But then this is what happened to the Nazi party in Germany. Previously a well respect socialist movement, however was taken over (as it was there) and the end results were plain to see. Likewise, the Eagle and Swastika were symbols that were taken over and (ab)used and now seen as bad. Hitler was a master of manipulation therefore of course he was going to use phrases and words that others used previously, it's called learning. Modern leaders using similar phrases and words isn't necessarily a bad thing, however it does depend on context.

            On the other hand where politicians are proven criminals and repeated liars, that's really bad. From Trump's apologists who carefully ignore that almost every time he opens his mouth he lies about something and/or attempts to sow division, to those that see BoJo as "just a harmless, slightly eccentric buffoon" and also carefully ignore that he is also a repeated proven liar.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The device can only be examined by police investigating or prosecuting crime

    In other words, 100% of cases (have you ever been approached by a policeman NOT investigating a crime, just asking to see your phone?)

    1. James 139

      Re: The device can only be examined by police investigating or prosecuting crime

      Depends, actually investigating a crime, or looking for a crime to investigate based on a hysterical loonie or incorrect understanding of the law?

      Probably just pedantry, as it just depends at what point it becomes "investigating a crime".

      For the latter, i'd offer up all those times a plod has "demanded" to see, and sometimes wanted to delete, photographs someone has taken in public places that were not otherwise dubious.

    2. Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate
      Holmes

      Re: The device can only be examined by police investigating or prosecuting crime

      I've been stopped by cops a couple of times for "routine checks" that are clearly not investigating a specific crime but that the individual cop wants to get a promotion by nabbing more criminals. The cop chooses to harass individuals who have no power in the current situation.

      I understand that there is a lot of sarcasm in your comment but the cops were always implying they were investigating while just doing random searches.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The device can only be examined by police investigating or prosecuting crime

        my point, on top of sarcasm, was actually, that you _can't challenge_ the officer who tells you he's investigating a crime, when he asks to see your phone and you refuse. Then you say: ok, but you can only do that when you're investigating a crime, to which he says: but I am, now, let me say to you one last time: show me your phone! What do you do then, tell him 'prove it!'? Walk away? Or call the police? Wait to be handcuffed and then charged with 'obstructing a police officer in the course of carrying out his duties'? You might get away with it, when you do show him / her you know your rights, but who's going to argue coherently in the heat of the moment, especially with a policeman, who's used to this day in day out? My point is: the law is worded vaguely and therefore, it will be used - but also ABUSED by police. And it's not because they're evil, but because it will, at times, make their job easier, particularly, when there are no checks and no accountability for your claims. And how many people do NOT prefer the 'easy' way?

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: The device can only be examined by police investigating or prosecuting crime

          "I do not want to give you my phone and you do not have my permission to search it."

          If it's in your hand and easily taken by them then you're not obstructing or resisting.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that all the rules that the police apply to "suspects" phones should be applied to every police officer's phone too.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

    I was once sitting outside a seaside pub near Brighton (UK) enjoying a beer on a break from some production recording, when I was approached by two "officers" who were initially quite confrontational, demanding that I identify myself. On requesting their reasons, and was told that "someone described as similar in appearance" had threatened to jump of Beachy Head (several miles away). When I pointed out that it would be a pretty impressive leap with a pint in my hand, the officers departed, visibly deflated. If I hadn't challenged them but instead provided my identity, it would have been "voluntary".

    1. Brian Morrison

      Re: ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

      Why is threatening to jump off Beachy Head of interest to the police? Ambulance service perhaps...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

        Suicide is a crime, so attempted suicide would be an attempted but failed criminal act with intent. A quick and easy "solved" to add to their tally. Whether the "criminal" would then go on to be given help is another matter and may depend on the officers or force in question.

        1. Swashbuckled

          Re: ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

          Suicide is not a crime. Assisting a suicide is a crime, punishable by 14 years in prison.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

            I have an impression it's still a 'crime', in several other countries, due to imprecise legal wording, i.e. any death that does not occur of 'natural causes' needs to be investigated, and then, if facts are established, whether people investigating like it or not, they must pass it on for potential prosecution. But I think it generally (always) stops at that point, i.e. 'no case'.

            ...

            gosh, it's 2021 so I'm weary of the magic google ball to ask a question "is suicide illegal?". Who knows where such questions end up these days...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

      I suggest that Police were bored and wanted to feel powerful, did you get a crime incident number and officers ID?

      This is useful and you can confirm if you actually match any discription,location etc given. Some people join the police to have power over others so it is always best to check if they are not abusing it.

      I have been stopped many times and I am white,it happened so often that eventually I got bored with it so the next time when I was asked what was in a bag I was carrying I pointed out that it was a paper bag with the name of a bakery written upon it and the end of a bloomer loaf sticking out the end, what did he think it was? I asked for incident number and he had to leave suddenly mumberling over his shoulder.

      So you can understand how I see giving the police further powers without any responsibility or oversight is reminisent of the "pick up the can" from half life game.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJshjMyg6no

  6. teebie

    "part of a questionable response to a Crown Prosecution Service scandal where police and prosecutors had deliberately withheld evidence from courts"

    Surely the correct response to that is to jail the offenders? Perverting the course of justice maybe?

  7. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Grim RIPA

    In related rifling of citizens' data...

    "Home Office tests web-spying powers with help of UK internet firms"

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56362170

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Grim RIPA

      Whoever wrote this at the beeb must have had a quiet chuckle :(

      "The Home Office said the trial was small in scale and in its early stages"

      - this is what they said before re. face-recognition. And earlier still, re. id cards. And about dna testing. And about every other intrusion, mostly introduced. And it won't get undone, EVER.

      They should put it in big letters as a motto on Home Office site: 'Our mission is currently small and in the early stages'.

      1. yossarianuk

        Re: Grim RIPA

        I completely agree with you, however ID cards have so far not become compulsory, Labour back tracked and cancelled the scheme.

        However they have been talked about again, and every sensible person knows the Tory party are always the 'big state' party in reality (IP Bill for example..) Tories are only ever small state usually when it comes to helping people (pandemic withstanding) and protecting rights.

        1. easytoby

          Re: Grim RIPA

          Will be interesting to see how far vaccine passports get pushed into the gap left by national ID cards

  8. Unbelievable!

    good article. but what's the difference between campaign group and pressure group?

    good article. but what's the difference between campaign group and pressure group?

    it seems some oarts refer to BBW as pressure group and other parts both pressure and campaign group, and Liberty a campaign group.

    Can you please outline the differences between campaign and pressure groups in the context of this article?

    Sorry for question if the answer is obvious, no harm meant. I am autist seeking understanding.

    Thank you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: good article. but what's the difference between campaign group and pressure group?

      it's a joke, but the same, as between an armchair and electric chair. That said, the joke has little merit here, perhaps a (good-natured) comment would be that the difference is the same as 'lying' and 'being economical with the truth', i.e. none? A pressure group I do not like would call themselves a campaign group, and they would call all those that campaign against them as 'pressure group'. That said, in the current climate, the best approach would be to call them 'oppressors', 'enemies of public debate', why mince words? :)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021