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High Court Rules Detention of David Miranda Was Lawful 169

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the security-interests-of-course dept.
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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High Court Rules Detention of David Miranda Was Lawful

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  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @08:55AM (#46285297) Journal

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

    • Especially when it involves foreigners.

      • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:08AM (#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: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by Mashiki (184564)

          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

          • 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 f

          • by s.petry (762400)

            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

          • You believe this Democrat/Republican shell game? These are just the corporate proxies. Nobody is opposed to anybody, they all play for the same coach.

        • 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 acce

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            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]

            • by Hentai (165906)

              Well, NOTHING is more American than dollars.

            • Rupert might have been born in Australia, but he's been a naturalized United States citizen since 1985. That allowed him to buy TV stations in the US, which he could have done as an unmentionable foreigner. His involvement in Australia is to present the "right" news through News Limited media properties.

              • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                Rupert might have been born in Australia, but he's been a naturalized United States citizen since 1985.

                Do you know the story behind how he got naturalized?

                As someone who has gone through the process of naturalization for his European-born wife around the same time as Rupert, I find the way he was granted US citizenship to be most offensive.

                My original comment about that old criminal Murdoch stands.

                • D'oh! "...which he could not have done as an unmentionable foreigner."

                  No I don't know the specifics of his allegiance swap occurred, what channels it went through, or how much money greased the rails. He had been living in the US legally for more than a decade at the time (according to the LA Times [latimes.com]), which is generally long enough to qualify for citizenship. I do remember it raised a few eyebrows in the (non-Murdoch) Australian media at the time.

          • by s.petry (762400)
            Nope, sadly it's not just EU propaganda. The US media talks about foreigners in the same way. You would think that every drone fired kills plague rats, not humans. Anyone defending this policy should explain a right to trial and jury, and why it does not pertain since due process is a "human right" in the US and not a "citizen right". Propaganda is not new, it's just that so much of it is now coming from places that used to above tyranny I think people are shocked when they see what's under the words.
            • You would think that every drone fired kills plague rats, not humans. Anyone defending this policy should explain a right to trial and jury, and why it does not pertain since due process is a "human right" in the US and not a "citizen right".

              I would think that someone that claims to understand and revere the Constitution and the law as you claim would understand that. War is not a part of the criminal justice system. And under the terms of the Public Law 107-40 [gpo.gov], the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the US is at war with al Qaida and its allies.

              From what I have read, anyone being considered as a target for a drone strike gets considerably more review individually than these Americans [youtube.com] that were shot dead by the Federal government withou

        • by dnavid (2842431)

          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]

          Actually, both of those articles claim the UK court ruled that the journalistic activities David Miranda was indirectly involved with "equate" to terrorism. “I’m of course not happy that a court has formally said that I was a legitimate terrorism suspect..." quotes one of those two articles.

          The UK court did not rule that way if you read the judgment. In fact, it explicitly states it did not make such a distinction. The court ruled that the law in question doesn't say that the government can

          • The court ultimately ruled that the government had a legitimate reason to believe that David Miranda was involved with people who were at the time acting or threatening to act in a manner which was designed to influence a government and forward a political agenda, and those acts had the potential to cause death or serious property damage. All those appear true on their face, and thus the law states the detainment was legal.

            That is a real stretch, you do know how ridiculous that sounds? First lets be clear: "involved with people" means The Guardian Newpaper and its journalists working on the story. Secondly you could use the same argument to start raiding and shutting down any media outlet you felt like and start detaining anyone the journalists ever related with - family and all. Real Gestapo tactics.

            Every media outlet acts in a manner that could be interpreted as designed to influence a government. It could be argued that a

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              I yhink you missed the part where he and the law said that act had to be interpreted to have either killed or caused damage or the risk of the act could cause the same.

              Its not a stretch or rediculous at all if you consider the entirety of it. You see, a news paper printing the government should do X- is an act to influence government. In order to fall under this law, the news paper would have to say something like kill all of them until X happens or maybe burn the gov building down if X doesn't become law.

              Y

            • by dnavid (2842431)

              Lord "Justice" Laws might have just as easily said with the same straight face: "We do not know what data they have, but if they happen to have plans for top secrete weapons, and publish it, then they will endanger everyones lives.". So basically what the high court has done is make up a possible threat in order to get the ruling they wanted (or were told to get more likely).

              The (UK) government made the assertion in court that the documents Miranda had contained information whose release could endanger lives and Miranda's legal team did not refute that statement. Instead they basically said it was the job of responsible journalists to take steps to ensure that did not happen, conceding that the government had a legitimate reason to believe there was a real threat but claiming that threat should be handled by the journalists themselves.

              The problem with this argument, which th

        • No wonder we plunged to 46th place on press freedoms [slashdot.org]...

          Listen to this On The Media story [onthemedia.org] or this article [washingtonpost.com] for details, but basically Reporters Without Borders changes its methodology every year, and the rankings are largely based on the perceptions of reporters within the respective countries, which is far from an objective measure. So as WP article states,

          Most of the coverage is based on the premise that 2013 saw a sudden, alarming and perhaps unprecedented decline in media press freedom because the ranking dropped from the previous year. This is just bad data journalism for big two reasons. First, it confuses relative rankings with absolute scores – more on this later. Second, it ignores the fact that Reporters Without Borders has been raising and dropping the U.S. ranking for years.

          I actually largely agree with your more abstract points, but it's worth pointing out that the entire press freedom ranking you cite is at best fairly misleading, and arguably entirely worthless. As the author

    • by redelm (54142) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:25AM (#46285551) Homepage

      ... 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?

      • by Frobnicator (565869) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @11:42AM (#46287087) Journal

        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.

        • by redelm (54142)

          ... all the more reason for a "fruit of the poisoned vine" doctrine to be adopted in the UK. The whole stop should have been thrown out in the US if it were based on an unwarrented bug. Not that it will be, nor that "poisoned vine" is safe in the US.

          Agreed on the judge's odd mention (reliance?) of a failure to declare. Looks weak, but something for the Lords (err...Supremes) to rule upon. Perhaps deliberately.

          And fully agreed the length of time came from higher up. Easy enough to establish in a proper

          • ... all the more reason for a "fruit of the poisoned vine" doctrine to be adopted in the UK. The whole stop should have been thrown out in the US if it were based on an unwarrented bug. Not that it will be, nor that "poisoned vine" is safe in the US.

            I'm not certain that applies here.

            His detention was long after the Guardian had broken the story. There were many news stories about many British organizations before that took place. It is quite reasonable that Greenwald's home was bugged because it was well known he had a large collection of documents. It is quite clear they have both audio and video feeds at his home and his office if you read the documents the court released.

            It wouldn't surprise me if any number of agencies had already raided his home

    • by Shimbo (100005)

      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]

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      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.

      • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:24AM (#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.

        • by Shimbo (100005)

          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.

          • 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....

            • 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.
          • 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.
            • by Shimbo (100005)

              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.

              GP argued that the courts always sided with the elite. However, Pinochet lost the case, although some of the charges were dismissed. The government later decided to let him go on medical grounds.

        • Contrast with the UK bending over backwards to extradite Assange for questioning even before charges any charges are made

          Sweden's legal system, like others in the EU, is different than the Anglo-American system. The Swedish prosecutors have to interview Assange before they can file charges. I have very little doubt that should Assange face that questioning, two things will happen: he will be charged, and arrested and held since he has shown that he is a flight risk.

      • by JeffAtl (1737988) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:29AM (#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.

        • 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.

          • 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 constitue

            • by cellocgw (617879)

              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.

              Wait, you still have criminals in the UK? Wasn't that what Australia was for?

          • by mrvan (973822)

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

          • 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

      • by blackest_k (761565) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:34AM (#46286263) Homepage Journal

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Carewolf (581105)

        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.

        • by Chrisq (894406)

          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.

          • by Kaenneth (82978)

            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.

            Finally, someone who agrees with me that all women should be locked up in breeding camps from puberty to menopause.

            Little Girls and Grandmothers are OK, but society should be protected from those monthly mood swings.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          By definition prisoners are removed from society because of a conviction of breaking the law. It doesn't make much sence to say you are removed from society but you can still participate in it. Whenthey are removed (imprisioned), they are removed. Or do you think prisoners should be able to start work from home businesses in their cell too? Imprisoning someone is removing them from society.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      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.

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

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        but it wasn't really an arrest now was it? just detaining him for questioning for a while(enabled by him being at the airport).

        just be close enough to the mexican border and they can do it to you in usa too.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:49AM (#46285785) Homepage Journal

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

    • by Hentai (165906)

      Power does what it wants.

    • by cardpuncher (713057) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @12:34PM (#46287703)
      It has been a tradition in the UK for courts to refuse to intervene in executive decisions made on "security" grounds, with the justification that as the courts have no access to classified materials, they can't come to a judgment about whether the decision was properly made.

      The rather notorious judge Lord Denning summed this up quite nicely in his decision supporting the deporation from the UK of US journalist Mark Hosenball for daring to mention the existence of GCHQ in an article for Time Out magazine:

      They [the executive] have never interfered with the liberty or the freedom of movement of any individual except where it is absolutely necessary for the safety of the state. In this case we are assured that the Home Secretary himself gave it his personal consideration, and I have no reason whatever to doubt the care with which he considered the whole matter. He is answerable to Parliament as to the way in which he did it and not to the courts here.

      The extent of his cognitive dissonance can be seen from his prefacing remarks:

      In some parts of the world national security has on occasions been used as an excuse for all sorts of infringements of individual liberty. But not in England.

      In other words, Denning (and two other judges on the bench concurred) was simulaneously of the opinion that every judgment the government had ever made in the past in curtailing liberty was justified; that the Home Secretary was above challenge in a court of law; and that England was a bastion of individual liberty.

      With judges like that, courts are essentially redundant.

      Incidentally, in a judgment on an attempt by the Birmingham Six (whose convictions as IRA bombers were finally quashed) to sue the police for beatings they received before finally confessing, Denning said:

      If the six men win, it will mean . . . that the convictions were erronoeous. That would mean that the Home Secretary would either have to recommend they be pardoned or he would have to remit the case to the Court of Appeal . . . This is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say it cannot be right that these actions should go any further.

      So, don't look to the law if you want justice.
    • by Kijori (897770)

      It might be helpful to point out that the judge in this case, Lord Justice Laws, is a Court of Appeal judge sitting in the High Court - this could be a coincidence, but it's likely a reflection of the case being taken seriously and allocated an extremely experienced and senior judge.

      Lord Justice Laws has ruled against the Government in a number of extremely high-profile cases, including the first case of a judge suspending the operation of a properly passed statute. He is well known for his view that the Co

      • The fact that judges have opinions that are regarded as controversial doesn't always mean that their opinions cannot be predicted to be pro-government in specific cases. Laws has already made it very clear that whereas it may be that certain countries see the judiciary as a check on state actions, in Britain there is:

        a deep sense that matters of state policy are in essence the responsibility of the elected arms of government

        In other words, it was quite predictable that he would side with the executive
  • Sort of Weird (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NospAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:03AM (#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.

    • 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?

      • by TWX (665546)
        Based on the drivel they publish that makes American grocery store tabloids look like appropriate child bedtime story reading, I assume so.
      • 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 i

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        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.

        • Then it's not freedom of the press IMO, if the laws only protect people who happen to be employed by a media outlet.

    • by TWX (665546)
      But does this Miranda modify the previous Miranda? And how does that affect Barry Manilow and Mandy?

      I'm so confused!
    • by naasking (94116)

      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.

      • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@gm a i l.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:51AM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

            by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @11:16AM (#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.

            • by idontgno (624372)

              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".

              As the Declaration of Independence has no bearing in law, those inalienable human rights are a damn fine philosophical aspiration and nothing else.

              Good constitutional law does not claim to enumerate all rights, but does explicitly protect the ones believed at the time to be the most readily threat

          • This is, to put it bluntly, precisely opposite of the philosophy of the US constitution. In US law, individual rights are enumerated, they are not granted. That's what "inalienable rights" means. It is not up for debate, it's supposed to be the fundamental bedrock that makes western style democracies work. It's possible for society to impinge upon those rights, but doing so can only be described as violating the central tenet of what modern western society is founded upon.

          • No, not a bullshit concept, and not that hard to understand: Fundamental human rights are not "a privilege society around you grants you"; you can buy a car and drive it, or buy land - those are privileges. You need to follow some rules to do either. Not so your human rights: as you -- hopefully -- are a human being, you possess certain rights; if society or any government for that matter does not grant you those rights, you are deprived from what civilized humanity has agreed to be the most basic things ea
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      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
    • Re:Sort of Weird (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NatasRevol (731260) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:45AM (#46286371) Journal

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

      He was, in essence, a mule.

  • I hope... (Score:2, Funny)

    by 51M02 (165179)

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

    • 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.

  • "Lord Justice Laws" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Silentknyght (1042778) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:08AM (#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.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:19AM (#46285489) Homepage

    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 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
  • by bobbied (2522392) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:26AM (#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.

  • by redmid17 (1217076) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @11:27AM (#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
  • Did they read Mr Miranda his Miranda rights?

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