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High Court Rules Detention of David Miranda Was Lawful

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the security-interests-of-course dept.

United Kingdom 169

Alain Williams writes with news that last year's detention of David Miranda and seizure of files destined for Glenn Greenwald has been ruled lawful. From the article: "The nine-hour detention ... of an ex-Guardian journalist's partner has been ruled lawful. ... At the High Court, Mr Miranda claimed his detention under anti-terrorism laws was unlawful and breached human rights. But judges said it was a 'proportionate measure in the circumstances' and in the interests of national security. ... In his ruling, Lord Justice Laws said: 'The claimant was not a journalist; the stolen GCHQ intelligence material he was carrying was not "journalistic material," or if it was, only in the weakest sense.'" Naturally, an appeal is planned.

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Of course it's "lawful" (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#46285297)

To paraphrase, when the government does it, it's not illegal. It would be absurd to expect any other outcome.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 8 months ago | (#46285343)

Especially when it involves foreigners.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (5, Informative)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 8 months ago | (#46285399)

Especially when it involves foreigners.

No longer true, and American just visiting investigative reporting websites [firstlook.org] means you will be spied on these days (check out the real time tracking pictures of website visitors by the GHCQ). No wonder we plunged to 46th place on press freedoms [slashdot.org] ...

This story links to the BBC which also appears to be very uncritical of the UK government press freedom violations these days. A much better news source would be the new real investigative reporting at The Intercept:

On the UK’s Equating of Journalism With Terrorism [firstlook.org]

UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law [firstlook.org]

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285433)

A much better source of UK news would be making it up yourself... or the Onion.

For example, did you know that the British government have been secretly selling nuclear weapons to North Korea for years... allegedly.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46285593)

The US plunged to 46th on press freedom because they intentionally censor themselves to get favor with the government. And because the media is owned by a select group, there's also a valid reason why less than 20% actually trust what the media says in the US. Be realistic, if you don't see the MSM in the US bending over backwards to shove their heads right up against the democrats pucker you're just plain blind. People whined that the media did this under Bush, but it was hardly true. They attacked him regularly and often, the media today bends over backwards to defend them. We saw the same thing in Canada when the Liberal's(party) were in power. The media would bend over backwards to kiss their ass and defend them against everything and anything.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285655)

the media today bends over backwards to defend them. We saw the same thing in Canada when the Liberal's(party) were in power. The media would bend over backwards to kiss their ass and defend them against everything and anything.

Just protecting their corporate "investment" in that political party - Political parties promoted by the [media wing of] corporations, for the corporations.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 8 months ago | (#46285699)

Ah what? It was probably the 3rd year of Obama's first term before Fox News stopped regularly having debates about whether or not Obama was american born and thus qualified to be president. Prism scandal, criticizing drone strikes, the hoopla over Obama care, customer protection bureau or whatever it is called etc. I don't think there has been a call the administration has made that didn't at least have 24/7 coverage by critical talking heads over at Fox for at least (if not several other media outlets) a few days. For Bush it was the same but he did shady shit to so fair enough. Media exists to create a debate even when the majority might agree with something (ex. health care reform is necessary). You don't get good ratings by having 4 panelists saying "I agree we could do better".

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46286315)

If the media exists to create debate, then the media in the US is doing a terrible job at it. Have you sat down to watch NBC? MSNBC? ABC? CBS, or CNN in the last 3 years. Right...there's no debate, it's all about how the "administration can do x,y,z." Or the anchors are reading directly from whitehouse handouts when talking to detractors on an issue, or directly from OFA or Media Matters talking points.

Seriously, the media in the US is hyper-partisan especially the media on the left.

meh. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286571)

Uh no it's hyper partisan either side, not especially on the "left" and the "right". What's more conservatives label facts as being hyper partisan nowadays. Liberals of course do this too, but to a much lesser degree, but that's only because it tends to already coincide with their value structure. The 4th estate is seriously flawed, and this goes back most recently to the removal of the fairness doctrine. When infotainment became more valued than education by the American populace this crap fed on itself. If Americans demand less bias and are willing to actual do more research than take the sound byte fact machine's words for it things will change. But that's hard and we all have limited attention spans.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 8 months ago | (#46287443)

The US plunged to 46th on press freedom because they intentionally censor themselves to get favor with the government.

Providing the reason is irrational and illogical, but many people are challenged with critical thinking. Claiming that the media does this voluntarily is one of numerous possible reasons, and not the best by even a long shot. Considering that the government has brought numerous cases against whistle blowers, media outlets, detained and abused protesters, created "free speech zones" so that nobody can hear or see protests, etc... it is a foolish assumption to claim 'they wanted favor' (paraphrased).

This is what happens when media gets monopolized, and why every tyranny in history has controlled media. I remember a speech by commentators long before Murdoch started buying every outlet possible stating the obvious. "What happens when his interests no longer match yours?". If you Google "media monopoly" you will see why this is so bad.

The issue is that people don't want to admit it happened "here" and we are in deep shit. Here is the UK, US, etc... Change is frightening to most of us so we continue a delusion for comfort. Welcome to the cave!

Visit ThePirateBay == your a terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285635)

That link shows they even spy on visitors to ThePirateBay [firstlook.org] !! Yeah, they just use billions of taxpayers money to target and keep us safe from terrorists, suuure....

When NSA officials are asked in the document if WikiLeaks or Pirate Bay could be designated as “malicious foreign actors,”

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 8 months ago | (#46285749)

Especially when it involves foreigners.

No longer true, and American just visiting investigative reporting websites means you will be spied on these days

That USA spies on its natives doesn't mean foreigners would have anywhere equal rights. A foreigner just being foreign is suspicious enough. Listening to the american politicians talk, it sounds like they don't even consider "foreigners" human.

But this trash talk probably is just EU propaganda... Or perhaps not: I read press from a country rahter high up on the "press freedoms" list.
Then again, this country being so high up on the list *does* sound suspicious. I wonder if that list looks different when accessing it from IPs geolocated in other countries.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46285807)

Listening to the american politicians talk, it sounds like they don't even consider "foreigners" human.

With notable exceptions:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi... [wikimedia.org]

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (4, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | about 8 months ago | (#46285551)

... so it is "absurd" to expect a government to be other than hypocritical? "Absurd" to expect a government to obey laws it creates?

Perhaps so, but I am not so cynical. This "sovereign immunity" is purely predatory behaviour and utterly inconsistent with human rights and "consent of the governed". That does not mean it will stop soon, but it is chipping away.

BTW, how did they know it was GCHQ docs? Did he confess? or Were they unencrypted and GCHQ attested?

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (4, Interesting)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 8 months ago | (#46287087)

BTW, how did they know it was GCHQ docs? Did he confess? or Were they unencrypted and GCHQ attested?

That is one of many oddities in the report.

Numbers 11 and 12 of the judgement [judiciary.gov.uk] (pdf) are the most telling. In the days before he was detained, the Security Service wrote, among other things "there is a substantial risk that David MIRANDA holds material which would be severely damaging to UK national security interests." Less than 24 hours before the airport incident they wrote this: "We assess that MIRANDA is knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives. Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism and as such we request that the subject is examined under Schedule 7."

So what, exactly, does that bolded bit mean? The security services HAS ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE (not suspicion) that Mr Miranda was knowingly carrying the material. Think hard about that. They told the court that they knew the actual content of the conversation he had inside Mr Greenwald's home hours before he left. So yeah, that is a thing to think about. The bugs in that home are awful.

Now, as this is slashdot we can pontificate about how something being "made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause" equates to terrorism, but that is current UK law that they need to deal with.

There is also this one in 72, that shows the justices are really out of touch: "I accept that the Schedule 7 stop constituted an indirect interference with press freedom, though no such interference was asserted by the claimant at the time." So basically the justices expected a foreign citizen (Brazilian) to properly cite the UK legal code while being locked in a room by thugs. Seriously guys?!

Overall their reasoning is frustrating but correct. If Schedule 7 applies (which it seems to) then EVERYTHING under the law applies. Even though they could have done the job in 10 minutes, the law doesn't require any kind of speed. It says the stop can last for 9 hours "for the purpose of satisfying himself ... an examining officer may [list of actions]". As long as the examining officer was "satisfying himself" (13-year-old-giggle) during that time the entire 9 hours can legally be used. It was obviously intentional that he used the full time. There is no doubt that he was trying to send a message by using the maximum time allowed, but short of declaring perjury against the investigators the court is going to accept each investigator was busy "satisfying himself" rather than punishing the guy. Unless they have some hard proof of their mental state at the time, it would be exceedingly hard to discredit their sworn statement.

Are they lying in their sworn statement about "satisfying himself"? Very likely, as it was atypical, most workers have a vague idea of the law and just follow broad training. A junior official is unlikely to ever follow along the strict edge of law, with timings down to the minute, following bullet-point by bullet-point down the law, and so it appears to be a calculated attack by legal experts. Can you PROVE it was an attack and not "satisfying himself"? Probably not without a smoking-gun document being leaked by the government.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

Shimbo (100005) | about 8 months ago | (#46285563)

To paraphrase, when the government does it, it's not illegal. It would be absurd to expect any other outcome.

Not at all, the executive frequently acts unreasonably and gets slapped down by the courts. However, when parliament grants very broad powers (as in the case of a lot of anti-terrorism legislation) they are more likely to get away with it.

A fairly standard (but nonetheless shameful) case this morning: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-... [theguardian.com]

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46285647)

To paraphrase, when the government does it, it's not illegal. It would be absurd to expect any other outcome.

Actually in the UK it is a surprise when this happens. From ridiculous court decisions like allowing prisoners to vote [telegraph.co.uk] , the many judgments that prevented Abu Quartada from neing deported for decades [telegraph.co.uk] , to many cases when foreign criminals have used human rights law to prevent being deported [telegraph.co.uk] the courts seem to go against both the government and common sense whenever possible.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (3, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 8 months ago | (#46286111)

Surprise? UK courts follow elite interests and have always done so. Take their refusal to extradite Augusto Pinochet to Spain a decade ago to answer for mass murder, torture, disappearances, rape, and genocide, not to mention protecting his secret bank accounts, tax evasion and arms deals. Pinochet's get out of war crimes free card was due to helping the UK in the Falklands war [wikipedia.org] . Contrast with the UK bending over backwards to extradite Assange for questioning even before charges any charges are made - part of a US led mandate to get him at any cost [firstlook.org] :

The government entry in the “Manhunting Timeline” adds Iceland to the list of Western nations that were pressured, and suggests that the push to prosecute Assange is part of a broader campaign. The effort, it explains, “exemplifies the start of an international effort to focus the legal element of national power upon non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” The entry does not specify how broadly the government defines that “human network,” which could potentially include thousands of volunteers, donors and journalists, as well as people who simply spoke out in defense of WikiLeaks.

No surprise there.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about 8 months ago | (#46286393)

Surprise? UK courts follow elite interests and have always done so. Take their refusal to extradite Augusto Pinochet to Spain a decade ago

I'm very surprised at that, since it didn't happen.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 8 months ago | (#46286651)

I'm very surprised at that, since it didn't happen.

Unfortunately it did happen [theguardian.com] : and the UK courts decided to ignore the extradition request [wikipedia.org] , even passing new legislation to get him out of facing any trial for his substantial heinous war crimes.

The Lords, however, decided in March 1999 that Pinochet could only be prosecuted for crimes committed after 1988, the date during which the United Kingdom implemented legislation for the United Nations Convention Against Torture in the Criminal Justice Act 1988.[7][8] This invalidated most, but not all, of the charges against him; but the outcome was that extradition could proceed.

Despicable act by the "Lords", really, but no surprise and very consistent with UK courts history....

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286751)

Despicable, yes. From the Wikipedia link: The House of Lords "urged that Pinochet be allowed to return to his homeland rather than be forced to go to Spain. On the other hand, United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mary Robinson, hailed the Lords' ruling, declaring that it was a clear endorsement that torture is an international crime subject to universal jurisdiction.[8] Furthermore, Amnesty International and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture demanded his extradition to Spain.[11]"

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 8 months ago | (#46287419)

The decision may not have been the one we want, but it seems legally sound to me (yes, I'd expect such a treaty to only apply to offenses committed after such a treaty is signed), not "despicable". I don't want the law to be a popularity contest, however much I may want to see an evil person see justice.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

rich_hudds (1360617) | about 8 months ago | (#46286699)

What do you mean it didn't happen?

He was arrested and held for 6 months then allowed to go free by the UK government.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (3, Insightful)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 8 months ago | (#46286185)

Why shouldn't prisoners be allowed to vote? Unless a person's citizenship is stripped, they should always retain the right to vote.

To be clear, I'm aware that the US has the same laws, but I've always felt them antithetical to a free and democratic society.

This is especially true in a world where no citizen can be aware of all of the laws and in many cases the laws actually conflict.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

rich_hudds (1360617) | about 8 months ago | (#46286773)

Why shouldn't prisoners be allowed to vote? Unless a person's citizenship is stripped, they should always retain the right to vote.

To be clear, I'm aware that the US has the same laws, but I've always felt them antithetical to a free and democratic society.

This is especially true in a world where no citizen can be aware of all of the laws and in many cases the laws actually conflict.

Well our elected parliament has decide they shouldn't.

Seems to me that elected representatives should make the law not judges.

Prisoners voting in the UK also poses specific problems as we vote in relatively small constituencies and some of our prisons are very large. You might end up giving prisoners a disproportionate amount of influence if they were in a swing seat.

We also send far fewer people to prison than the USA so the ones that are in there are almost certainly toerags.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#46287437)

Seems to me that elected representatives should make the law not judges.

They do. However, they frequently pass contradictory laws.

The reason the judges overturned one law is because it contradicted with a different law that those representatives also passed.

So please, don't blame the judges, blame the representatives for passing contradictory laws. Remember it is the letter of the law, not the spirit that counts.

Prisoners voting in the UK also poses specific problems as we vote in relatively small constituencies and some of our prisons are very large. You might end up giving prisoners a disproportionate amount of influence if they were in a swing seat.

It would be easy enough to allow prisoners to postal vote to their home constituency.

We also send far fewer people to prison than the USA so the ones that are in there are almost certainly toerags.

Well, there is that. However, there are still enough laws on the books that are flat-out immoral and wrong.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

mrvan (973822) | about 8 months ago | (#46287475)

If you have enough prisoners to take a seat in parliament, then maybe those people deserve representation?

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 8 months ago | (#46287507)

Well our elected parliament has decide they shouldn't. Seems to me that elected representatives should make the law not judges.

He asked why, not who should make the decision. And the law is made by elected representatives, so your argument here is bogus. If the UK government doesn't want it, they should change the law in a legal way, rather than demand the benefits of, say, European integration without wanting the bits they disagree with.

Prisoners voting in the UK also poses specific problems as we vote in relatively small constituencies and some of our prisons are very large. You might end up giving prisoners a disproportionate amount of influence if they were in a swing seat.

Or you might give them no influence because they're stuck in a seat where the outcome is preordained because of the degree of support the winning candidate has. In any case, is that a reason to ban voting, or simply a reason to ensure the criteria by which a choice of voting venue is made is reformed to match the circumstances?

I'm thoroughly against the notion that prisoners should have no say in the law of the land. It's been widely misused, especially in the US and in particular the Deep South, as an easy way to disenfranchise political opponents, by creating laws focused on acts likely to be committed by members of a particular lifestyle or social group, eliminating them from the voting populace before they know what's hit them. Some examples, however, such the war on drugs, exist on both sides of the Atlantic, and exist almost entirely to marginalize those likely to be caught by them. Bans on voting prop up such injustices, magnify them, and make them impossible to overturn.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (3, Insightful)

blackest_k (761565) | about 8 months ago | (#46286263)

It's not so daft allowing some prisoners to vote in elections. Think about why you are locking them away and why you are releasing them.

People go to prison for breaking our societies rules, it's pretty pointless releasing them if they have no way to re engage with society in a lawful way. It's better for society for prisoners to be released and get jobs and become a productive part of society again. If these prisoners can't be integrated with society then its likely they will prey on the community instead. Then we end up paying to keep them locked up instead this time for longer and even less chance of being able to reintegrate.

If your saying to people you have no part in our society then what reason do they have to have any regard you your family your property ever.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | about 8 months ago | (#46286337)

Why wouldn't prisoners be allowed to vote? One man one vote, no exceptions. Once you make exceptions you can justify anything like not allowing slaves or women to vote either.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46286639)

Why wouldn't prisoners be allowed to vote? One man one vote, no exceptions. Once you make exceptions you can justify anything like not allowing slaves or women to vote either.

That's a daft argument - on the same basis you could say that you shouldn't imprison prisoners or you could justify anything like locking up women.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46285671)

Which just means that when a government turns into a police-state, the "law" has no resemblance to ethics or moral anymore and has morphed into a tool of oppression. No surprise there, this can be observed in other police states present and throughout history.

Miranda RIghts (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 8 months ago | (#46285731)

If this had been in the US they would have had to Mirandize Mr. Miranda.

Re:Miranda RIghts (1)

ficuscr (1585141) | about 8 months ago | (#46286415)

Was thinking that too.. A parallel though... In the States our "Miranda" rights can also be void in cases of "public safety".

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46285785)

"Elite court appointed by elite finds that spying behavior of elite is just perfectly fine. Also, shut up, hippies."

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (1)

Hentai (165906) | about 8 months ago | (#46285837)

Power does what it wants.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286049)

The rule of law means that the law applies to everybody. If the government does not have to follow the law, then it should be called a regime, because it has abandoned the rule of law. You can't accept "in the interest of national security" as a blanket excuse for doing something which would otherwise be unlawful, because that would enable the government to justify practically anything and thereby exempt the government from the rule of law. A government which does not abide by the law must be overthrown.

Re:Of course it's "lawful" (0)

ficuscr (1585141) | about 8 months ago | (#46286405)

Sounds like they violated his "Miranda" rights...

Slashdot commenter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285307)

...truthfully rules that the UK is a fascist cesspool.

Re: Slashdot commenter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285349)

AKA USA Jr.

Re: Slashdot commenter... (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46285581)

No, "Jr." implies that "Sr." is their father and respects them. I think the term "USA's slave country" would be more accurate.

Re: Slashdot commenter... (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | about 8 months ago | (#46287083)

Uncle-grandpa seems more fitting in this case.

Sort of Weird (5, Interesting)

danheskett (178529) | about 8 months ago | (#46285351)

This is a weird ruling. It highlights how it is usually absurd to have a category of people who are journalists, and a category of people who are not, and a set of things which are okay if done by journalists but otherwise are not legal.

When the judge is parsing who is and is not a journalist, it's pretty much a lost cause. Same thing for whether something journalistic materials, or are but only in a very weak sense.

This is precisely why I think that journalist shield laws are counterproductive. Because now you have journalists arguing about their credentials and what are or not protected materials and all that business instead of focusing on the actual matter at hand - the people's right to know what is being done by their government and why.

Re:Sort of Weird (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46285493)

I've always believed the phrase "freedom of the press" to mean freedom of the printing press, i.e. the right to disseminate information freely, rather than any particular group of people.

Does the UK have laws that protect freedom of the press?

Re: Sort of Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285557)

They don't even have effective freedom from the press.

Re:Sort of Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285559)

No.

They're trying to pass some kind of gagging law at the moment.

Re:Sort of Weird (1)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46285579)

Based on the drivel they publish that makes American grocery store tabloids look like appropriate child bedtime story reading, I assume so.

Re:Sort of Weird (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46286175)

We invented the superinjunction: A court order against that prohibits disclosing specified information, as well as prohibits disclosing the existence of the injunction. They are civil things, usually used by celebrities to prevent the the press from disclosing some juicy scandalous gossip about their personal lives, most commonly extramarital affairs. Just how often this happens is something of a mystery though, as the super-injunctions are secret by nature - the only time the public finds out is when the information leaks by some other channel. Even in court records, the person bringing the injunction is only identified by a three-letter random codename.

Re:Sort of Weird (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 8 months ago | (#46287099)

At least Sweden do have freedom of the press - if someone provides secret information to a journalist of a newspaper then it's by law forbidden to try to backtrack the information flow to find the leak.

Re:Sort of Weird (2)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46285569)

But does this Miranda modify the previous Miranda? And how does that affect Barry Manilow and Mandy?

I'm so confused!

Re:Sort of Weird (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 8 months ago | (#46287115)

Unfortunately the meaning of Miranda Law differs between the UK and the US now.

Re:Sort of Weird (1)

naasking (94116) | about 8 months ago | (#46285675)

It highlights how it is usually absurd to have a category of people who are journalists, and a category of people who are not, and a set of things which are okay if done by journalists but otherwise are not legal.

Hardly unique though. Owning lockpicks is illegal unless you're a locksmith.

Re:Sort of Weird (1)

danheskett (178529) | about 8 months ago | (#46286219)

The only difference being that there is no fundamental human right to own a lockpick, while there is a fundamental human right to self-governance and freedom of expression, both of which are ignored and debased by the actions of secret society and black government.

Re:Sort of Weird (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46286435)

Uhm, no - there are no "fundamental" human rights, the very idea is a bullshit concept.

Every right we talk about are rights we grant each other - you don't have a right to life, that's a privilege society around you grants you to have and enjoy. You don't have a right to freedom of expression, that's a privilege society around you grants you to have and enjoy. You don't have a right to carry lock picks, that's a privilege society grants to certain members.

The only thing protecting your "right" to do anything at all is society as a majority, which distinctly removes the possibility that its a fundamental right.

What freedom of expression, self governance, life and everything else are are in-fact rightful and just privileges that should be defended by society as a whole for each other.

Re:Sort of Weird (4, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46286763)

Uhm, no - there are no "fundamental" human rights, the very idea is a bullshit concept.

Well, in the view of the authors of the US Declaration of Independence, there are 3 "inalienable" human rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I think we can equate "inalienable" with "fundamental".

However, it's noteworthy that despite these high words, the USA is very big on the death penalty, which would seem to indicate that the right to life isn't so inalienable after all.

Re:Sort of Weird (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#46285813)

Journalist shield laws are great if your a gov.
Start with needing an expensive tertiary education, set what kind of valid press pass are needed, then double up with a police press pass per city.
Privacy laws, commercial-in-confidence, wiretap laws, distant ongoing war restrictions... pro gov sock puppets and bloggers...
Still feel like walking around with a camera behind police lines risking your credentials on a real story?
The UK gov has learned a lot from its years in Ireland, during the Falklands and can quickly find a way around the digital UK press years later.

Re:Sort of Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285855)

This is a weird ruling. It highlights how it is usually absurd to have a category of people who are journalists, and a category of people who are not, and a set of things which are okay if done by journalists but otherwise are not legal.

When the judge is parsing who is and is not a journalist, it's pretty much a lost cause. Same thing for whether something journalistic materials, or are but only in a very weak sense.

This is precisely why I think that journalist shield laws are counterproductive. Because now you have journalists arguing about their credentials and what are or not protected materials and all that business instead of focusing on the actual matter at hand - the people's right to know what is being done by their government and why.

If one could say that any information, no matter how it was obtained, is protected from seizure due to freedom of speech (or whatever the local variety of that right is) then that's an awful big shield to hide behind, it basically legalizes all sorts of IP theft so long as the perpetrator is not caught red-handed. Would you be so eager to claim that (if it were actually practical) nation states should not attempt to prosecute those committing industrial or military espionage when they are caught in possession of said material, only because the jump box they used to obtain it was sufficiently scrubbed?

Re:Sort of Weird (2)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about 8 months ago | (#46286331)

If one could say that any information, no matter how it was obtained, is protected from seizure due to freedom of speech (or whatever the local variety of that right is) then that's an awful big shield to hide behind, it basically legalizes all sorts of [crime] so long as the perpetrator is not caught red-handed.

Yea, uh, that's how it's supposed to work. The major point of the 4th Amendment was precisely to prevent fishing expeditions either in scope of area searched, duration of search, or material to be seized. It all amounts to basically hard evidence gathering of otherwise known facts. To that end, I would actually support requirements of handing over encryption passwords to things if the 4th Amendment was actually being followed as intended. Instead, it takes but the world of a border guard or law enforcement officer to fish into all you personal documents or as in this case the personal documents of your supposedly close associates.

Of course, all of the above is a moot point since this is the UK and obvious US laws don't apply. But, then, as I already stated it's not as if US laws really apply in the US properly either. As a sort of tangent, I think this scenario disproves Upaya [wikipedia.org] --I don't think journalists intent to reclaim their inherent rights was anything more than a expedient step towards their real needs to oversee government intrusions but it's come at the cost of enshrining the false belief that journalists deserve these inherent rights and everyone else will use them to shield their crimes. It's funny that we don't see that logic used to have harsh, dismantling laws over governments and companies which consistently function as much worse shields to crimes not only of wanting desire to harm but simple, consistent apathy to negative consequence.

Re:Sort of Weird (3, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 8 months ago | (#46286371)

Except that Miranda is not, never has been or claimed to be, a journalist.

He was, in essence, a mule.

Re:Sort of Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46287303)

Strangely or not the US Bill of Rights specifiably prohibits government infringing freedom of the press so the press and journalists are consequently accorded special legal privileges.

not journalistic material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285361)

So the leaks that have been getting world headlines consistently for the last year are not journalistic material. Yeah...

Beware of calls for National Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285371)

Beware when things are done for "national security". The Japanese were rounded up and placed in prison camps for "national security".

"Under Nazism, with its emphasis on the nation, individual needs were subordinate to those of the wider community.[172] Hitler declared that "every activity and every need of every individual will be regulated by the collectivity represented by the party" and that "there are no longer any free realms in which the individual belongs to himself".[173] Himmler justified the establishment of a repressive police state, in which the security forces could exercise power arbitrarily, as national security and order should take precedence over the needs of the individual.[174]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism

Of course this is in England where you have no rights anyway.

"Not a journalist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285381)

The distinction between normal person and journalist is getting smaller all the time. But governments think they can arbitrarily decide if you have the right to report news.

I hope... (2, Funny)

51M02 (165179) | about 8 months ago | (#46285393)

I hope they read him his Miranda rights... :D

Miranda rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285511)

This was in the UK. Miranda was a U.S. court ruling.

Re:Miranda rights? (5, Funny)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 8 months ago | (#46285849)

David Miranda

You have the right to be wooshed. Anything joke can and will be missed by you. You have the right to consult Google, and to have Google explain the joke to you. If you cannot Google, the joke will be explained to you by a snarky slashdotter.

Re:I hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285889)

You have the right to fruity oaty bars.

Re:I hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285955)

Came here to find people saying this. Left disappointed.

Half joking (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 8 months ago | (#46286243)

I'm sure it would come as a shock to many Americans that those Europeans, whose lifestyle they hold in such high regard, don't share the same rights as they do. Yet they keep insisting America should become more like Europe. Let me know how well that works out for you. Of course, Europeans have managed to figure out that loser-pays tort law is the way to go so it's not all bassackwards.

Re:Half joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286309)

Let me assure you, my good sir, that my fellow Americans are most definitely no longer interested in becoming more like Europe. Now we are heading off on our new course to become more like Venezuela.

"Lord Justice Laws" (2, Interesting)

Silentknyght (1042778) | about 8 months ago | (#46285401)

Is that a bit of editorializing? Surely someone's title & name aren't really, legally, "Lord Justice Laws." If so, I'd be genuinely worried that such an individual has gone off on a serious power trip.

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (5, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 8 months ago | (#46285423)

His name is John Laws. Really [wikipedia.org] .

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#46285505)

That somehow makes President Business and Lord Business less silly names.

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (4, Funny)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 8 months ago | (#46286291)

And the plaintiff was named Miranda, which in U.S. law has special meaning regarding detaining people! This is almost like a cartoon.

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (1)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | about 8 months ago | (#46286399)

That was what got a chuckle out of me as I read the headline

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285437)

Is that a bit of editorializing? Surely someone's title & name aren't really, legally, "Lord Justice Laws." If so, I'd be genuinely worried that such an individual has gone off on a serious power trip.

No, all senior judges have the title "Lord Justice" and it just so happens this one used to be called Mr Laws.

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (5, Informative)

Shimbo (100005) | about 8 months ago | (#46285481)

No, all senior judges have the title "Lord Justice" and it just so happens this one used to be called Mr Laws.

However, Lord Chief Justice Judge [wikipedia.org] has retired.

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285449)

Looks like a prime example of Nominative Determinism [wikipedia.org]

Re:"Lord Justice Laws" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285737)

Whether it's legally defined or not, that is how they are referred to in the UK (and Ireland). I expect some of them refer to themselves in the third-person in this way too.

Stolen GCHQ technical data... (1)

Roxoff (539071) | about 8 months ago | (#46285413)

Mr Miranda made a fatal mistake in his plans. He should have loaded the stolen GCHQ data files onto an Android and fired them into space in an escape pod. I'm sure he'd have been arrested for that, but it's also likely that someone would try and rescue him.

Re:Stolen GCHQ technical data... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 8 months ago | (#46285583)

He should have loaded the stolen GCHQ data files onto an Android and fired them into space in an escape pod. I'm sure he'd have been arrested for that, but it's also likely that someone would try and rescue him.

"Aren't you a little short to be a bobbie?"

Re:Stolen GCHQ technical data... (3, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#46285767)

A far better plan is to generate several thousand encryption keys based on simple dictionary words and well known phrases. Encrypt the real data with one of them, and a load of bestiality pix, articles about idiots who work for the government, gay porn, and asian cooking recipes, encrypted each file with a different key, and sent the correct key to the destination.

Since you can't refuse to give them the key in the UK, you hand them a randomized list of all the keys with no indication as to which maps to which. Let them enjoy the sorting.

Re:Stolen GCHQ technical data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286481)

a) It's not fatal. That word has meaning, particularly in this context, and it's a sign of civilization on the part of the brits.
b) Really a bad idea to enter a country when you've attackced their intelligence apparatus. If they were at war (a real war that is) it would be treason. That's the only reason manning didn't get tried and hung for treason.

Re:Stolen GCHQ technical data... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46286931)

That and the fact that the bar has been set along the lines of selling nuclear secrets to the Russians, not haphazardly exposing government jackassery.

Typical day at Downing Street (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285477)

Clegg: "Gee Dave, what're we going to do tonight?"
Cameron: "Same thing we do every night, Nick. Try to take over the world!"

Typical night at Downing Street (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286659)

Pinky: Gawrsh Brain what are we doing tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night: clean up after HMG. They've bollocksed it up properly again.

Making clear the distinction (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#46285489)

There is a very real distinction between the people and their interests, and the state and its interests. These are useful moments which illustrate for everyone that it's not quite a democracy and not quite a republic. The interests of the people, such as fairness, do not factor in as much as protecting the interests of those in office, those who support those in office and those who are, in turn, supported by those in office.

the 'law' fails even the lawless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285503)

from great heights we expire http://rt.com/business/jpmorgan-third-banker-suicide-655/ never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to each other & our universal centerpeace momkind

Is the bounty for Tony Blair still valid? (2)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#46285543)

Just asking.

Power and courts (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#46285609)

The GCHQ had it right from the 1960 to 1990's - ignore the courts (wrt to useful logs of Soviet spies), the press and just keep on collecting all signals. What the public did not know becomes a US tell all book on the NSA or a few hints by former UK staff mostly about tracking the Soviet Unions efforts in the UK.
The great part of this is the new 'interests of national security" aspect. The UK gov is really feeding the press with this kind of open court 'classic'.
Where can the UK gov go from here?
Stop and question more members of the press moving into or via or from the UK for a few hours?
Soon the UK will get that "East German" feel for the press and they will learn the limits any interrogation methods and publish their travel experiences in great detail.
The mood in the room, the color of law used, time taken i.e. if the UK gov did not pull a member of the press aside - your work have become safe, tame, bland.
What can the UK gov do to the press?
Read back in detail their travel/guest/interview history and what 'happened' to past whistleblower in a loud voice between legal clauses without a lawyer in the room?
That kind of effort works once - the member of the press comes out fully understanding the nature of power and keeps on publishing with renewed enthusiasm.
The member of the press comes out fully understanding the nature of power, totally stops publishing but others start work with great enthusiasm after an aspect of the media chilling story become public.
A third aspect is a member of the press fully understands the interview process and turns the interview to an ongoing very public legal event.
Its win win win for the UK press. The state has shown its 'power' publically and we are all watching a journalistic Berlin Wall go up :)

Stolen Information? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46285669)

So, he erased every copy of the information that was copied? He was carrying around the only copy? Because if not, he didn't steal anything.

LAWYER has evolved into POLITICIAN! Kill it with fire!

Did they read him his rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285687)

I hope they read him his rights before they questioned him, because, um, you know, that would be the right thing to do, especially because of him name and all and stuff.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285717)

Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but didn't that end result of a failed abortion Theresa May want to make people like journalists or what have you stateless before a trial?

(For those who don't know, stateless people do not have the right to legal aid.)

Ya gotta be kidding... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46285787)

> "In his ruling, Lord Justice Laws (name completely, absolutely 100% unrelated)said: 'The claimant..."

Lawful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285847)

let's have a vote on that eh?

The courier, the pad and the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286031)

I'm sure this has been said before, but it should be said again and again until everyone gets it into their heads.

The courier should not carry the data. The courier should only carry the one time pad.

Governments are not going to respect their own or any other Governement's rules when stuff like the Snowden Files are involved. It follows that the courier should not carry the data. The courier should only carry the one time pad.

Classified information outside hte USA? (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46286129)

And here I thought that the big bad USA had sole responsibility for *all* the abuses of human rights in the world, at least in the eyes of some. This decision comes from the UK and clearly establishes that there is at least some basis for curbs on the press.

Might it be, that there is at least *some* precedent for the protection of "national security" and some responsibility on the press to be prudent when classified information is disclosed to them? And here we have the same issues being raised in other countries, with similar results.

Remember, that you either allow for and protect classified information though law, or you don't have *any* ability to keep anything classified. You either must allow for there to be things you cannot legal know or live in a world where anything is fair game to publish. I for one think that classified "national security" information is necessary, even in light of the USA's first amendment and the limits such rules put on free speech. We can argue about what goes into the "National security" box, but I don't think there is any viable case for not having the box in the first place.

Re:Classified information outside hte USA? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286253)

I need to know your name, age, where you live, social security number, bank, PIN number, wife's breast size...

National security, don't you know.

British high court ruling is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46286493)

I've read some of the ruling and it would seem to me that the British high court ruling is wrong.

The British authorities seem to have a flawed understanding of what constitutes "espionage acticity", yet has used such FOR an excuse for wanting to apprehend and then keep Miranda for questioning/interrogation for hours:
"Intelligence indicates that MIRANDA is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security. We therefore wish to establish the nature of MIRANDA’s activity, assess the risk that MIRANDA poses to UK national security and mitigate as appropriate. We are requesting that you exercise your powers to carry out a ports stop against MIRANDA.” (quoted from the ruling)

One might expect anyone claiming that someone else carrying secret documents IS, MIGHT or is LIKELY to be involved in "espionage activity", however given the qualifying term as seen above in my quoted text with the stated notion of "espionage activity which has the potential to act against(...)", it seem all too obvious that the initial notion of "espionage activity" is merely self referential, meaningless and probably tautological, when the notion of "espionage activity" in the quoted text appear to merely be a needed qualifier for constituting a "potential to act against", and so the authorities appear to have been "begging the question". A CONSTRUCTED suspicion, that with the ruling in turn are turned into a mere qualifier that simply fit the need of the authorities in approving the rationale with regard to their existing laws and regulations.

It is not so much that the British authorities made up a particular pretext, as having made an otherwise 'lawful' action (questioning) fit for purpose, which really is just as damning as "having a pretext" in this context. This is so, given that the schedule 7 powers already seem to have an element of making things fit to purpose in the first place (given the lawful application of powers to see if it is relevant with questioning/interrogation), and so the notion of there being "espionage activity" is intellectually fraudulent.

The only excuse the British authorities would have in this case, is to prove that intelligence found Miranda to be involed in espionage activity, AND NOT simply providing indications that have other people believe that Miranda is merely LIKELY to be involved in espionage activities. This is such a long stretch that it doesn't merit the suspicion, other than making an interrogation fit for purpose, or, simply allowing a questioning end up becoming a pretext. This kind of 'pretext' is a notion apparently already baked in the schedule 7 powers from the little I read in the ruling, given how authorities make use of 'powers' and then are obliged to come up with a rationale for it, either to their superiors or to the high court.

Since Miranda is not someone found guilty of having been involved in espionage and is not deemed to act against the interest of the UK national security, I think it should be obvious that the authorities are wrong and that the British high court is full of shit.

The high court notion of justice is as refined as shooting suspects.

Maybe I am missing something (2, Interesting)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 8 months ago | (#46286903)

I know that this is more of an American/Canadian term, but does "chilling effects" ring any bells? If the government can't* do this to journalists but can and will do it to their families and friends, they have to see how that would affect journalist behavior? It's pretty classic operant conditioning AND probably a case of collective punishment as well. * We know they will, but just for the sake of argument
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