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Man Who Downloaded Bomb Recipes Jailed For 2 Years 741

Posted by Soulskill
from the throw-out-your-old-cookbooks dept.
chrb writes "Asim Kauser, a 25-year-old British man, has been jailed for two years and three months for downloading recipes on how to make bombs and the toxin ricin. Police discovered the materials on a USB stick Asim's father gave to them following a burglary at the Kauser family home. Asim pled guilty and claimed that he only downloaded the materials because he was curious. A North West Counter-Terrorism Unit spokesman said, 'I also want to stress that this case is not about policing people's freedom to browse the Internet. The materials that were downloaded were not stumbled upon by chance — these had to be searched for and contained very dangerous information that could have led to an explosive device being built.'"
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Man Who Downloaded Bomb Recipes Jailed For 2 Years

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  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:13PM (#38842273)

    Think of it from the other side too, if I had a USB stick full of credit card numbers (yours & your families, let's make it personal), and I told the fed I got them accidentally and was merely researching the sequencing credit card companies used for the their # assignments, does that sound like I'd be in the clear?

    It's probably OK to look up what he had, but saving it to your computer is personalizing the information (ex. WHY do you have those credit card #s?)

    I hate to say but he would probably have been fine w a better lawyer. Intent is not action. If they found explosives at his house, now that's another story...

  • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:14PM (#38842293)

    I would point out that England has long had it be illegal to engage in communications that are preliminary to serious crimes. There's no implicit assumption in the British legal system that communications are harmless.

    2 Years seems a bit drastic, when a month or two would have been better for preventing polarization. As an American, of course, I find this antithetical to my values, but I don't have as much of a stake in British law.

    Sometimes, America doesn't seem like such a bad place to live after all.

  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:36PM (#38842733)

    It is illegial in the UK to have the information:
    Terrorism act 2000 sec 58
    (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.

    (4)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

    (a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, to a fine or to both, or

    (b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.

    His defence would have to be a "reasonable excuse" to why he had the info. I'm not sure if "I'm interested in chemistry" or" I'm studying IEDs out of curiosity since your troops are dying from them" would be considered reasonable. Especially when you have a letter (albieit) anonymous saying you want advice on fighting a jihad.

    P.S. I also love how a lot of jihadists live in the west, study there and then act all pissed off with the western lifestyle. Funny it was good enough for you to live, you went there for school because yours are crap but "everything the west does is evil".

  • by DarkVader (121278) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:50PM (#38842949)

    So, will Canada let you in without a passport?

    Because despite all of their blathering about it being required, the US WILL let you back in without one, they'll just hassle you a bit more. It's a violation of pretty well established international law to refuse to admit your own citizens, with or without a passport. And it's not, from what I've been able to gather, a crime to reenter the US without a passport, so no penalty for doing so.

    So the only way the US can actually "require" you to have a passport is if the government has convinced Canada to refuse admittance without one.

  • by rot26 (240034) * on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:06PM (#38843207) Homepage Journal
    You realize, of course, that you don't need a passport to leave the US

    Wrongo. You must have mistaken the US for a free country. I remember when I was younger and we used to hear all the scary stuff about the bad bad soviet union. They couldn't even LEAVE THEIR OWN COUNTRY without permission. hahahahahahaha. We have met the enemy and he is us.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:07PM (#38843213)

    Maybe somewhat Minority Report-ish, but what if he actually WAS planning on trying to make a bomb? Why should we wait until this person has actually killed potentially hundreds of people with a bomb or some similar device or act before acting against him?

    False dichotomy. There is a third choice. Watch the guy. Maybe he's even got co-conspirators and then you can nab them too when they all do something actually illegal like coming up with a real plot and trying to buy bomb ingredients.

    In the US the FBI goes to great lengths to entrap people with (self-interested) informants and undercover plants. What, the brits are too cheap to drop a couple of drug charges against some con in exchange for ingratiating himself with a potential terrorist?

  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@anasazi s y s t e m s .com> on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:45PM (#38843847)

    US WILL let you back in without one, they'll just hassle you a bit more. It's a violation of pretty well established international law to refuse to admit your own citizens, with or without a passport. And it's not, from what I've been able to gather, a crime to reenter the US without a passport, so no penalty for doing so.

    I submit that it might be very unwise to operate on that assumption.

    The US has a history or saying that the constitution doesn't apply at borders or customs (as you're not *IN* the US yet, legally), that international treaties don't apply to certain people we've detained, and so on. I have no desire to pass through the US border in either direction, but if I did I would be damned certain I had my passport. You say "they'll just hassle you more", and I read, "They might detain, search, or hassle you for as long as they want, and confiscate whatever they feel like, and you'll have no recourse".

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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