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United Kingdom Censorship Government The Internet Your Rights Online

British Police Censor the Global Internet 228

Posted by timothy
from the sun-never-sets-on-the-british-censor dept.
judgecorp writes "A branch of the City of London police seems to be censoring suspected pirates worldwide, using threats. The Police Intellectual Proerty Crime Unit (PIPCU), acts on tip-offs from copyright owners to attempt to close down websites accused of piracy. the process involves cease-and-desist letters, followed by pressure on advertisers not to fund the site, and finally PIPCU uses threats to the domain registrar (not the ISP), all without any sort of court order."
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British Police Censor the Global Internet

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  • by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @11:58AM (#45651005)

    Fun fact: the City of London (as opposed to Greater London and its boroughs outside the square mile) is a dictatorship with a mayor annually appointed by the businesses that operate in the City of London.

    Smacks of fascism? Yes. They pride themselves as "business friendly", and never met a plutocrat they didn't like. The City of London police is basically a militia for the rich and powerful. They are also in cahoots with Scientology -- some senior officers are Scientologists, and the City of London Police have been known to do their dirty work for them, as previously reported on Slashdot.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:07PM (#45651101)

      cops are, by modern definition, thugs for the rich and powerful.

      see pete seeger's 'banks of marble' song:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-o3CJytIPE [youtube.com]

      the more things change, the more they stay the same. not much has changed and this seems to be a universal theme with cops world-wide.

      think about who they really work for. when push comes to shove, its not you or I, that are their masters.

    • Still sounds better than the dictatorship under Emperor Bloomberg in NYC. (good riddance, he won't be missed. )
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:19PM (#45651207)

      It's a ceremonial position and its entire purpose since its creation has been to promote businesses in the City of London. The Mayor has no political authority whatsoever.

    • I don't think the actual City of London has much of a permanent population.

    • A square mile, and a square mile with a permanent population of 7000 people at that, a small, third rate town.

      The courts and laws are still the Queen's, so they can't simply seize you and lock you up if they feel like it. Is this a toothless dictatorship or what?

      If you cannot stand their silly "city", don't move there or invest there.

  • Court order (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:07PM (#45651095)

    all without any sort of court order."

    Have you recently read of anything done by anyone WITH a court order? I wonder if the courts still remember how to write one.

    The template must have been used for the last time with WordPerfect 4.2.

    • by sa1lnr (669048)

      Knowing the government IT contracts work/end up here in the UK, they are probably still using WordPerfect 4.2.

    • by Valdrax (32670)

      Have you recently read of anything done by anyone WITH a court order? I wonder if the courts still remember how to write one.

      Of course they do. Much like how the navy trains our sailors in rigging a traditional sailboat, it's a rich reminder of tradition and where they came from as well as a skill that many will practice as a hobby for the rest of their lives, despite the total lack of use in the modern day.

    • by Maow (620678)

      all without any sort of court order."

      Have you recently read of anything done by anyone WITH a court order? I wonder if the courts still remember how to write one.

      The template must have been used for the last time with WordPerfect 4.2.

      I appreciate the humour in your comment, but just can't help myself from posting this. Because what has been done with a court order is frightening enough:

      From the ever entertaining and informative Ken White at Popehat.com [popehat.com]

      1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

      2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

      3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

      4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's an

      • I appreciate the humour in your comment, but just can't help myself from posting this. Because what has been done with a court order is frightening enough:

        From the ever entertaining and informative Ken White at Popehat.com [popehat.com]

        1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

        2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

        3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

        4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

        5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

        6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

        7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

        8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

        I didn't have time to read the article. What did he do? Download an MP3?

        • by Maow (620678)

          Ah, good question.

          He pulled out of a WalMart in New Mexico without coming to a complete stop.

          Then he looked nervous when pulled over. Allegedly appeared to be "clenching buttocks" when asked to step out of car.

          Then, the officer got on the radio and heard from a colleague that the suspect had some previous drug related incident. Which the cop on the scene spun into "was caught with drugs up his butt".

          The (uncertified) drug sniffing dog gave the signal, allegedly, on the guy's car seat.

          Court gave search war

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        Was this the guy who was then billed by the hospital for all of these tests?

        • by Maow (620678)

          Was this the guy who was then billed by the hospital for all of these tests?

          Yes.

          Just too much outrageousness to easily summarize in one (or two) posts.

          Popehat [popehat.com] does the usual excellent job, plus has links to other sources for anyone that wants a different take on it. Popehat's coverage is rather in-depth from the legal perspective (Ken was a former LA DA and now defence attorney with 1st amendment focus if I recall correctly).

  • UK (Score:5, Informative)

    by gramty (1344605) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:07PM (#45651103)
    Civil rights have been under attack in Britain for a long time. Since Thatcher, continued enthusiastically by Blair/Brown and now Cameron's government we have seen a massive assault on traditional freedoms and protections. Judicial oversight, Freedom of speech, free assembly/protest, presumption of innocence, freedom from mass surveillance have all come under massive attack by various bills over the last 20 years. This is has been met with hardly a reaction from the general public, most people don't seem to think it affects them and this has emboldened governments and institutions to act in a more and more authoritarian manner, working under the strong belief that they are doing what the public want for their own good. I fear by the time people start to react, we will be so far down the road; it will take something close to a revolution to change. We are not big on revolutions on Britain.
    • Re:UK (Score:5, Funny)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:21PM (#45651229) Homepage

      Civil rights have been under attack in Britain for a long time.

      And Britain is welcome to fuck with their own civil rights.

      When they start feeling like they have the authority and jurisdiction to affect the broader global internet, that's the point at which people need to start referring them to Arvell v Pressdram [nasw.org] and reminding them of where exactly their legal authority ends.

      And the City of London has legal authority for an exceedingly small area, and precisely ZERO international authority.

      Anybody being bullied into doing this is an idiot.

      • by gramty (1344605)
        I agree with you. However around the world the actions the NSA and GCHQ (and many others) has resulted in a microscopic reaction from the general public.
        This has led many in power in power to believe that that can do what they damn well please, and the threat that the powers that be are against you is sufficient to scare people into submission because they don't believe the law really protects individuals any more.
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        The problem is that demanding censorship will make it harder for police globally to do work.

        Right now, a lot of people are still going about their business directly from their IP to sites. Using an encrypted, offshore VPN is a matter of a few mouse clicks, or a couple taps on a smartphone or tablet. Once people start doing this as a matter of habit, then all goes dark.

        The next step would be to block/censor/throttle VPNs, but because legitimate businesses use VPNs for secure remote communications, they wil

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Interesting to watch this exact same conversation occur, just with UK swapped in for US. We're "fighting" the same battle over here.

      • by gramty (1344605)
        And the City of London has legal authority for an exceedingly small area, and precisely ZERO international authority.

        Technically true, but as I mentioned in another post, the City of London police are one of the major authorities behind international money laundering laws. They put on an am AML database and any financial institution in the western world, because these lists are shared internationally, with find it very risky to do business with a listed entitity.I imagine this is the primary threat they
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Technically true, but as I mentioned in another post, the City of London police are one of the major authorities behind international money laundering laws.

          And if police are going to start doing such things with no real legal basis, then the police deserve neither our respect nor our cooperation.

          Because they've essentially become corrupt thugs who will do anything to achieve their own ends.

          Once the police become simply the tools of corporations, they've lost their legitimacy.

      • by Krneki (1192201)

        Tell this to the Iraq, they happily helped the US nuked them back to the stone age with 0 repercussion.

        And anyone knows the reason? Oh, the suspected mass destruction weapons that were never found, lol. Did they even said "I'm sorry"?

        We are all US/UK bitches.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:13PM (#45651147) Homepage

    Do these people not realize they have zero jurisdiction outside of their own country?

    If a police department in a foreign country is trying to exert pressure on you, the response is to tell them to go fuck themselves and come back when they have legal standing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gramty (1344605)
      In today's world jurisdiction and legal authority are nice to haves.
      You don't need to even accuse someone of something, just put them on a database, no-fly list, person of interest register, financial blacklists, etc. Threats from authorities do have weight even if there is no law backuping them up, it's disgusting.

      Sure you can probably win in court, but not before massive financial expense and being fucked with for a few decades.
  • City of London police is like a private security firm working for a postage-stamp size borough of London. They tiny ( and they leave horse shit all over the place ).
  • The correct response by all companies to a request "without any sort of court order." should be to send t directly to /dev/null - I don't care if it is the NSA, FBI, or the London Police issuing the request, unless it is accompanied by a court order, why are companies bending over backwards to help the government - the government sure is not bending over backwards to help them.

    (Yes I realize the problem is larger than this with FISA warrants and secret courts, but I don't think the London Police Department

    • or to be blunt "We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram"

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      government sure is not bending over backwards to help them.

      Sure it is. It's us that is left out in the cold, not companies.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:28PM (#45651305) Homepage

    Is now gone? no killings no robberies, All real crime has been taken care of so they have to move to IP enforcement?

    • In the CIty of London (pop 11,000) the Police probably don't actually have a lot to do.

      It's a small area in the center of London with it's own semi-autonomous government dating back to at least before William the Conqueror. It started out as a Roman trading post.

      It has it's own Mayor elected by a bunch of guilds.

      I shit you not.

  • By owning the intellectual property one gains rights but also duties to protect the intellectual property. It is in fact the burden on shoulders of IP holders that is specified by law. :-) This is a very nice example of businesses delegating their duties to people (I mean tax-funded police). Definitely smart way to lower the costs of intellectual property ownership and thus increasing the profit margin.

    I am sure that ordinary British will not like it. I am interested to see what will they do about it (to kn

    • Absolutely nothing. Copyright issues aren't even on the public debate radar here.

    • by Sentrion (964745)

      If this happened in America, the police would send the legal bills (cost of paper, envelopes, hourly labor, etc.) to the owners of the IP for payment, due on receipt, just like with hospitals, ambulances, courts, and towing company. Right?

  • Court orders are so 21st century.

  • When you have companies above them?

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