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Partner of Guardian's Snowden Reporter Detained Under Terrorism Act 426

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
hydrofix writes "The partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programs by the National Security Agency (NSA), was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through the Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro. David Miranda was stopped by officers and informed that he would be questioned under the Terrorism Act 2000. The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours. Miranda was released without charge, but officials confiscated electronics including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles. 'This is a profound attack on press freedoms [...] to detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ,' Greenwald commented."
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Partner of Guardian's Snowden Reporter Detained Under Terrorism Act

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  • by fey000 (1374173) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:10PM (#44602353)

    Land of the Free(*).

    *Conditions may apply.

    • by compro01 (777531) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:13PM (#44602369)

      In this case, you need to create a (written and involved to amend) constitution.

      • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:15PM (#44602381)

        You also need a vigilant citizenry.

        • by MickLinux (579158)

          That comes under :

          Home of the brave (*)

          • by 1s44c (552956)

            That comes under :

            Home of the brave (*)

            So when 10 armed US police are beating down someone who did something minor but doesn't deserve a lynching how many brave people stand up for the guy getting beaten? Nobody ever does because anyone that tried would be killed on the spot.

            As far as I can remember I've only heard of that happening once when a group of UK police were beating down schoolchildren and a crowd thought the police were going too far.

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:43PM (#44602671) Homepage

        However, given that the UK likely violated the European Convention on Human Rights, GP is not entirely wrong. There's definitely an issue of how legal this all was, given that:
        1. There was no suspicion that Mr Miranda committed a crime, which brings up Article 5.
        2. The only reason to seize Mr Miranda's electronic devices was to search them, again with no reason to believe that they were used for a crime, violating Article 8.
        3. The reason they picked Mr Miranda was because of his association with Glenn Greenwald, violating Article 11.
        4. And what Glenn Greenwald did was covered under Article 10.

        So yeah, Land of the Free, unless you embarrass important people or organizations in the US or UK or NATO.

        • by niftymitch (1625721) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @07:38PM (#44603425)

          However, given that the UK likely violated the European Convention on Human Rights, GP is not entirely wrong. ....snip....

          This was the UK and the rules in the UK are not the rules where I am.

          The single most obvious problem was the loss of property.

          For many of us the contents of our portable devices are how we make a living. Their loss is not just a casualty loss but an arbitrary tax on an individual and in some cases on an employer.

          I can ill afford to have my digital life stolen. And I can ill afford to have large capacity cloud storage that can also be stolen and taken off line with a FISA letter.

          Given the length of time this individual was detained copies of his devices could be made. Based on that there is no reason I can see to not return them.

          SUMMARY: grand theft.

        • UK not US (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:43PM (#44604147) Journal
          No, not "land of the free". This happened in the UK, not the US and so far we haven't been quite so out of touch with reality to call the UK the "land of the free" - that seems to be a peculiarly american delusion. That being said I really hope that there are some mitigating facts that will come to light because, as it stands now, it is extremely concerning to see such an obvious and open abuse of power. If they are wiling to do this in plain sight what are they willing to do (or already doing) behind the scenes?
          • by nbauman (624611)

            we haven't been quite so out of touch with reality to call the UK the "land of the free" - that seems to be a peculiarly american delusion.

            We read Areopagitica and all that stuff. You mean they don't really follow it?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:16PM (#44602387)

      Since this is the UK, it's the Magna Carta that needs to be revised.

      • by AxeTheMax (1163705) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:23PM (#44602459)
        It can be revised all you like but it won't do any good if you have a corrupt police (secret service?) who know their job is to protect their masters in Westminster and Washington.
      • by Cederic (9623)

        The Magna Carta's been revised continually since it was written - to the extent that almost none of it is currently in law.

        The UK does however have a constitution, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act is a fucking awful addendum to it.

    • by currently_awake (1248758) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:25PM (#44602485)
      There is a legal limit on detaining suspects without charging them, there should be a legal limit on taking their stuff without charging them. Without a time limit, it's just theft.
      • by Teun (17872) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:40PM (#44602631) Homepage
        Please realise this is a country where they can and will detain you for not handing over the key for encrypted data.
        • Please realise this is a country where they can and will detain you for not handing over the key for encrypted data.

          Yes indeed ..... sounds a lot like LavaBit doesn't it?

        • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @06:43PM (#44603081) Journal
          Our country (NL) soon to follow suit, if the justice minister has his way. Drugs, kiddie porn and terrorism are the biggest threats to the free west. Not for any harm these three things may cause our society to suffer, but because of the harm we permit our rulers to inflict on our rights, in the name of the war against these threats.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The RIPA act in the UK can put people away for life:

          Judge: What is the encryption key:
          Defendant: Sorry, no dice.
          Judge: That's another three years. What is the encryption key?
          Defendant: Nope.
          Judge: Another three years in the Crown's finest. Now really. The encryption key?

          So, even though it might be considered three years, its real usage can cause someone to get a life sentence without an actual trial happening.

      • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:43PM (#44602673) Journal

        At least in the US, there is no limit to civil forfeiture. If authorities think that your possessions were used in a crime, they can take them even if you are never charged with a crime at all. This includes personal effects, possessions, and real property.

        • Used in a crime, or proceeds of a crime. Fodder for the police auction. Cars are most common, if someone drives to the site of a crime or to visit their drug dealer.

        • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:26PM (#44604057)

          Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (âoeCAFRAâ). This requires the government to procure an ex parte warrant from a U.S. District Court upon probable cause before seizing property. Within 60 days after the government seizes property, it must send written notice of the seizure to parties interested in the property (i.e., the owner). The interested parties then have 35 days to file a claim for the property. If a timely claim is filed, government has 90 days to either indict the claimant or bring a lawsuit in federal court seeking a judgment of civil forfeiture of the property. If the government does neither, it must return the seized property forthwith.

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        There is a legal limit on detaining suspects without charging them,

        Not a lot of legal limits -- apparently when detained thusly one is not entitled to a lawyer or to being silent.

    • by Spottywot (1910658) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:39PM (#44602625)

      Land of the Free(*).

      *Conditions may apply.

      Yup this is the UK where we have a general belief that some freedom would be quite nice, but in reality our democracy is a bit half arsed due to trying to keep the spoiled bastards called Royalty happy, and no constitution of any kind that would let us call ourselves the 'land of the free'. No-one can really be bothered to get angry about our freedoms being constantly erroded because most of the mainstream media are already aware of the giant boot stamping on our faces and know that if they report about it then it will stamp on their faces a bit more if they do. This article is a case in point.

      On the subject of 1984 people often don't realise that the book wasn't George Orwells vision of the future, it was his view of Britain at that time i.e 1948, he just reversed the last two numbers of the year.

  • Play it their way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:10PM (#44602355) Homepage

    Yep, you're gonna get stopped. Yep, they're going to go through your stuff.

    I think a couple of Terabytes of 'Hello Kitty' videos placed on every bit of electronics that he owns should teach them the error of their ways.

    • perhaps randomly permuted to suggest the use of stenography.

    • by Teun (17872)
      I think you just gave them reasons for hefty fines due to IP or copy right infringement.

      Or can you show a receipt for that stuff?

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@ p ... r e trograde.com> on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:48PM (#44602711)

      Yep, you're gonna get stopped. Yep, they're going to go through your stuff.

      I think a couple of Terabytes of 'Hello Kitty' videos placed on every bit of electronics that he owns should teach them the error of their ways.

      Are you insane?! They would jail him for possession of Kitty Porn!

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:52PM (#44602747)

      I think a couple of Terabytes of 'Hello Kitty' videos placed on every bit of electronics that he owns should teach them the error of their ways.

      If they insist on calling everyone and everything a terrorist, might as well turn everything into terrorism... I mean, if you're going to be treated like a criminal, what's there to hold you back from actually being a criminal then? Distribute SDcards that melt when connected to a computer, fill up harddrives with spyware and malware... encrypt everything with incriminating-sounding names and impossibly-long keys.

      There's no deterrent to terrorism if everyone is treated like one -- it's criminal law theory 101. When everything results in the death penalty... the law effectively has zero deterrent value. Whether you steal a candy bar, or the moon, it all means the same. Zero tolerance leads to people concluding... hey, if you're gonna go at all, go big.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For all the Miranda rights jokes.. c'mon, get them out the way..

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:18PM (#44602415)
    "I don't always travel around the world to topple foreign governments by revealing their deepest secrets, but when I do, I have my Famicom games collection with me."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:19PM (#44602425)

    Even if he gets them back, would you trust a device that has been alone with a spook?

  • "Partner" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:26PM (#44602489)

    Call him boyfriend or spouse or something. Partner makes it sound like he might have been involved in the journalistic work (and detaining him would still be wrong).

    Instead, they're targetting the journalist's relationships. It's absolutely despicable.

    • Re:"Partner" (Score:5, Informative)

      by Psyborgue (699890) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:36PM (#44602589) Homepage Journal
      It's Glenn's own word [theguardian.com]! I'm in a civil union with my "partner" and I don't particularly mind this term. Although I agree it can be confusing, most of the time people get what you mean by context. When I marry him this November, i'll call him my "husband" but not before then. You can blame the homophobes for creating this dual tier of unions but it does exist and I might as well use the proper confusing term as much as possible to emphasize just how idiotic it was that until just recently I couldn't get married.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        ... you know, some of us use the term partner because we wish to emphasize our commitment to each other, instead of the sex of our lover. Especially considering that not everyone fits into the boxes of 'man' and 'woman', thus 'wife' and 'husband' are poor fits. This has nothing to do with Glenn Beck, who deserves to be tied up in a public square and everyone who wants to given a free punch to his face. Don't worry... we won't let him die. Doctors will be on hand to stitch him back together again... and we'r

        • by oursland (1898514)
          Perhaps, but in this context I thought he was referring to a journalist in which he was collaborating.

          ... you know, some of us use the term partner because we wish to emphasize our commitment to each other, instead of the sex of our lover.

          If that is the case then "husband" would be an equally despicable word.

      • Re:"Partner" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sribe (304414) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:49PM (#44602721)

        It's Glenn's own word [theguardian.com]! I'm in a civil union with my "partner" and I don't particularly mind this term. Although I agree it can be confusing, most of the time people get what you mean by context. When I marry him this November, i'll call him my "husband" but not before then. You can blame the homophobes for creating this dual tier of unions but it does exist and I might as well use the proper confusing term as much as possible to emphasize just how idiotic it was that until just recently I couldn't get married.

        And in a written article, without any context to convey whether this is a personal or business relationship, the term "life partner" would be much better.

    • Partner implies that he was his journalistic partner in Snowden case.

    • Re:"Partner" (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:50PM (#44602727)

      Partner makes it sound like he might have been involved in the journalistic work (and detaining him would still be wrong).

      He is involved - he was returning from a trip to Berlin to work with Laura Poitras the documentary film-maker whom Snowden also reached out to. The trip was paid for by Greenwald's newspaper, the Guardian.

      • I agree it is just as misleading to use partner to imply ONLY a personal relationship when the facts of the matter indicate that he was both a personal partner and a journalistic partner.
  • He travelled with a laptop, phone and games consoles? What did he have ? A Wii and a PS2 to use on the plane?

  • by niks42 (768188) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:39PM (#44602623)
    Surely anyone worth their salt would just put their data in the Cloud, and password-protect it? Ah, just remembered it is illegal in the UK not to remember a password when the Authorities want you to decrypt something - punishable by itself with 2 years imprisonment - not to mention obstruction and all of the other offences they could mention.
  • Damn Journalists (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fuzzums (250400) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:56PM (#44602763) Homepage

    They're the worst kind of terrorist. Fighting with Pen And Truth and using the internet as IED and WMD.

    The loyal ones write about what the government want you to believe.
    Then there is a bunch of them that write about oil spills and the banking system.
    But the worst are those that turn against their government and write the truth.

  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @05:58PM (#44602777)

    Some assembly required.

  • in the sandbox are mad at the guy digging up their secret stones (treasures) and now they get at him and his friends whenever they are showing up.
    "Getting even" - what a child's play!

    Grown-ups? No way Jose...
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @06:37PM (#44603041)

    When traveling internationally, make backups. And don't take anything remotely incriminating - even if it means reformatting the laptop. Any data you need to work with, store online somewhere.

    And if you really want to annoy those who seek to annoy you, take the family photo album and be happy knowing that some low-level agent is going to have to spend eight hours looking through the library of pictures of people standing around.

  • by colordev (1764040) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @06:50PM (#44603137) Homepage
    Apparently Snowden (and other heroes) had decided that any disappearing family members would trigger the tripwire that leads to releasing of insurance files [slashdot.org]. Since the journalist's spouse had suddenly gone missing (for 9 hours) and the police probably did not allow any phone calls to be made during interrogation,... Showden (and other heroes) then probably concluded they were under some kind of attack or that they were being tested. So Snowden (and other heroes) did what they had to do - what's the point of having an insurance policy that you would not use.

    This is a chicken game [wikipedia.org]. If many key wikileaks people would suddenly disappear, then Snowden (or other heroes) would probably release both encrypted insurance files and the encryption key to the smaller (49GB) insurance file. At least I hope that's what they are prepared to do. Then the NSA and GCHQ would probably have stopped the attack, at least for a moment, and considered the nature of payload data in the first insurance file. Based on that payload NSA might then choose to risk the release of the 349 GB file or they might stop their attack... maybe even for good. To prepare for the next attack phase Snowden (and other heroes) might again have split the remaining 349GB file into a 300GB and 49GB file - the small file being there again as a similar first response tool, but also the key to the nuclear option file (349GB) might also be released at any time.

    Basically the NSA and GCHQ had to get this message.

    This is so stupid, Snowden is obviously an American Patriot, who still isn't really seeking to harm his country... a country that is trying to harm him as much as it can. It is not very common that asylum seekers keep protecting the country that is doing all it can to harm the asylum seeker. Thus, the today's release of encrypted insurance files was probably just an expected reply to the earlier provocation by the NSA and GCHQ.
    • by oobayly (1056050)

      Not a bad theory, apart from the fact that Glenn Greenwald received a phone call - from a "security official at Heathrow airport.", only identified by his number 203654 - that

      [his] partner, David Miranda, had been "detained" at the London airport "under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @08:03PM (#44603593)

    "David Miranda [...] was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities [...] the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual."

    If direct, honest language were used, rather than euphemisms aimed at making the evil sound innocuous, the news report would say that Miranda was "abducted and held prisoner" for nine hours, not that he was merely "detained" or "held".

    "Miranda was released without charge, but officials confiscated electronics including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles."

    In other words, after nine hours of intimidation, they robbed Miranda of several thousand dollars worth of his personal property.

    It's clear who the criminals are here, who are the true menace to society.

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @08:32PM (#44603753)
    Sure, holding Miranda for 5 hours smacks of intimidation, but I think what they were really after was the devices to see if he had the files. Then he could be charged with some malarkey like attempting to take national secrets to another country, and possible trump up some charge on his partner about transferring them or being an accessory. If he was carrying some sort of unencrypted backup of the data, that also lets the spook agencies have a shot at seeing how much is bluff, and how much Snowden really stole.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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