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Man Who Downloaded Bomb Recipes Jailed For 2 Years

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the throw-out-your-old-cookbooks dept.

Censorship 741

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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741 comments

Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (5, Insightful)

killfixx (148785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842055)

Title should read, "Man arrested for possibly planning to become a terrorist". But still, arrested for criminal possibility.

His potential crime would have been a physical one. It needed bomb ingredients, guns, etc... He had none of the equipment, just the knowledge.

Everything about his crime is just conjecture. How do you prove that he WOULD have done anything. Were there dates of action?

I guess what it boils down to, if you're gonna have "evil" thoughts, don't write them down.

Pre-crime, here to protect you from yourself.

I'm feeling less special every day. I used to think I was a paranoid outsider. Nope, just observant.

Why do the countries witht the highest Press Freedom Index [wikipedia.org] have to be so damned cold.

Update: [rsf.org] Looks like Cape Verde has risen in the rankings... Hrmm...Might be worth the change of address.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842113)

It's a cowardly new world.

Where's Spiro Agnew, now his time has arrived?

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (5, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842189)

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.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (4, Interesting)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842429)

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.

Give it time.

I remember a day when the Government didn't track every single thing you did on the internet on some monster database. When I could come and go between Canada as I pleased, without a passport. When my personal computer wasn't loaded with DRM software and the DMCA hadn't even been dreamt of.

It's creeping in - there are actually quite a lot of people who think it would be a good idea -- of course, not for them, but for, y'know, them other people, the ones who need watching.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (1)

okooolo (1372815) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842327)

oh he's pretty "polarized" by now

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (2, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842385)

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.

I'm wondering if you're just being sarcastic about Guantanamo bay. Ironically, Americana don't really do irony.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842539)

I'm wondering if you're just being sarcastic about Guantanamo bay. Ironically, Americana don't really do irony.

Oh no, in fact, we embrace irony.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842459)

Actually, both England and the United states have, for centuries, had a common legal principle that information, of itself, is not harmful as is protected. It is only acts based on that information that are actionable.

This censorship of information is actually pretty recent, even in England. Don't mistake policies made in and around your lifetime for "long-standing" policies; it just ain't so.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (2, Insightful)

dean.collins (862044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842181)

and the number of Bankers who were sent to jail for misuse of the knowledge they have.....zero

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842583)

Perhaps my irony detector is busted but I seriously doubt any banker INTENDED to lose a shedload of money and most probably weren't intendiing to blow up the world. The they did do some sockingly stupid things, especially in retrospect. But if we make stupid a crime I doubt we would have enough space if we used a couple of continents as penal colonies.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? - *No for intent* (5, Informative)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842247)

FTFA: A further examination of the stick revealed a letter, addressed to an unknown recipient, in which the author - again anonymous but referring to himself as a 24-year-old man - seeks spiritual guidance and says he has prepared himself physically and financially for jihad.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? - *No for intent* (4, Insightful)

Marc Madness (2205586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842543)

Interesting that later in the article we find the following quote from Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter: "This case has never been about proving an endgame and we may never know what his intentions were". So they admit to not knowing his intentions, how can they in good conscience say they are arresting him for intent?

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (2, Interesting)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842457)

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?

Well, while it *does* sound suspicious...if they cannot show that you obtained them illegally, and cannot show that you have in fact, USED them. I can't see that you could be arrested.

The mere possession of credit card numbers is NOT a crime. It is merely information.

Heck, you could have used one of the freely available CC algorithm generators that will generate valid CC numbers,and yes, you might have done this for pure research.

But if you had not broken in somewhere and stolen them.....if you had not knowingly purchased stolen CC numbers....just having them should not be a crime.

In the US...at least for now...merely possessing information on how to generate CC's, or how to make a bomb or be an assassin are not crimes. It isn't a crime to own the Anarchy Cookbook, nor that book out years back that described how to kill people and get away with it...etc.

However, if they find evidence that you were in fact, conspiring to USE that knowledge to commit a crime, then yes...this info could be used as corroborating evidence in the conspiracy case.

But possession of knowledge is not and should not be a crime.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842507)

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?

Depends. In the UK I'm not sure, but if you compare to the US where there's more lax "knowledge" laws you likely would be. If you hacked into a company's computer to get them then you'd liable for that, but if you got them through sheer curiosity or if the list was passed to you on IRC or the like then you'd likely be fine up until you actually used them for something. The Anarchist's Cookbook for example is freely available here (and even in many libraries) and it goes into all sorts of details on how to build bombs and the like. Heck a while back I even read an article about a manual that was being traded about that was basically "How to Molest Children and not get Caught" (not the exact title, but that was the jist of it). That was just fine to posses, and they couldn't do anything to anyone for obtaining it.

For the most part, that's a stance I agree with. Information should never be illegal. What you do with it might be, but the information itself? Leave people alone. The same mindset is paralleled in our gun laws. In general, we let people own what they want - we punish people for the things they actually DO, not what they MIGHT do.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (1)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842547)

Yes, but on your USB stick full of credit card numbers, was there a note saying you were ready to use them, just trying to find some direction? "A further examination of the stick revealed a letter, addressed to an unknown recipient, in which the author - again anonymous but referring to himself as a 24-year-old man - seeks spiritual guidance and says he has prepared himself physically and financially for jihad."

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842533)

Circa pre-9/11, 1999 I think, I found equivalent blue-prints online for the Fat Man bomb. It was a large color scan image, probably 3000x4000 with clear dimensions and references of the interior. Wikipedia says such blueprints are still classified. Those were the net golden years, weren't they?

  Fairly useless though, to the common man, as one can't obtain enough fissile material to make such a thing. Amusing however, that the mathematics and chemistry of fast nuclear reactions is till very much, everywhere on the net!

/this post now flagged by DHS
//as if I wasn't already a suspect ...

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (1)

squiggly12 (1298191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842549)

Welcome to Minority Report, but less Tom Cruise'ish.

Re:Arrested for knowledge? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842557)

Most country have provision in their law for criminal intent. In such way you could be arrested for planning a bank robbery, if you ever mapped a bank, camera location and guard round timing, even if you never intended to do it. Explosive receipes and bomb making aren't criminal in some country, but ricin is purely for terrorism intent.

Maybe somebody set him up the bomb? (3, Funny)

omems (1869410) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842063)

Should have claimed someone left the USB stick.

where do I turn myself in (4, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842077)

So I got this copy of the "Anarchist Cookbook", is this terrorism?

Re:where do I turn myself in (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842121)

He might have had the same text. It is quite famous, and I doubt the police would wish to specify the title publicly if that is what they found.

Re:where do I turn myself in (4, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842173)

>So I got this copy of the "Anarchist Cookbook", is this terrorism?

In order to answer this question, please stand next to this Dulux colour chart featuring the natural wood range.

Re:where do I turn myself in (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842283)

Police: "Our agents will be happy to help you. Please report to your nearest processing center with the materials in question and we will be with you as soon as possible. Have a pleasant day!"

Re:where do I turn myself in (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842363)

Hey? Are you still here? Oh, don't worry, the military got the wrong address, just lay down, hands up, and don't forget to say goodbye to your relatives.....

Re:where do I turn myself in (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842465)

It depends are you brown?

Re:where do I turn myself in (1)

anerki (169995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842591)

Watch out! Didn't you see the dept?!

Watch Out! (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842087)

The Thought Policy know what you're thinking!

Re:Watch Out! (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842383)

Even before you are going to think it.....

Ah yes, 'dangerous information' (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842091)

Dangerous to the state, that is. Oh well, gotta remember that the UK has no real free speech rights codified into law.. for what that's worth..

haven't you been struck by curiosity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842095)

fail govt. Unless you can prove conspiracy,you have no evidence!

Sad day (1)

mr exploiter (1452969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842125)

England is officially a police state now.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842175)

England is officially a police state now.

This has been the opinion of some for quite a while.

Re:Sad day (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842411)

Where is Robin Hood? Where are the founders of Magna Carta???

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842503)

Dead. Third time is the charm, after all.

Re:Sad day (3, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842531)

Um.. They died centuries ago. Congrats on keeping up with the news.

You may also be interested to hear that Henry Tudor is no longer married to Anne Boleyn. And a "New World" has been discovered across the Atlantic Ocean. Stay tuned to hear whether that place turns out to be interesting.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842191)

It has been for awhile. What, you think those CCTV cameras were for show?

Re:Sad day (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842515)

The vast, vast majority of those are not owned by the state in any capacity, and are subject to data protection laws and requests.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842477)

Yet another person who doesn't know what a police state actually is... Hint: The UK is not one, and not even close.

Re:Sad day (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842529)

Airstrip One is officially a police state now. Isn't Big Brother wonderful?

FTFY.

Re:Sad day (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842589)

Yes, because they prosecuted a potential terrorist after finding evidence that he was preparing to do something - he'd priced up weapons, was seeking guidance on how best to do it, etc. It's in the article, but I think it's not even fashionable to read the summary any more.

Also, it's the UK. England is a country that is part of the UK. While the guy lived in Bolton (which is in England), the term you're actually looking for is United Kingdom, or Great Britain.

Science text books (5, Informative)

Detaer (562863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842133)

I am guessing the people who brought him up on charges have never actually read a science textbook. Sure its a little winded and takes a while to get to it, but by reading the average science textbook from jr high and above you can figure out how to create some pretty dangerous chemical reactions that should scale fairly well. Knowing about something and being jailed for it it thought crime. Trying to set limits on the human condition of curiosity and interest could pave the path of a dangerous road.

Re:Science text books (5, Informative)

dnewt (2457806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842555)

I'm all for not limiting freedom of curiosity, but if you have a read of TFA, it says that along with the downloaded material, was a letter from a "24 year old man" (Asim Kauser is now 25), in which the writer states he "seeks spiritual guidance and says he has prepared himself physically and financially for jihad". It's not possible to say for sure without being in possession of all the facts & evidence, but on the face of it, that seems like it could add intent into the mix. Take that together with the "shopping list" they apparently found, and that changes things quite a bit. I'm no lawyer, and the article is a bit thin on detailed facts, but I'm guessing at some point the prosecution were able to convince a jury he was the author of those documents.

Re:Science text books (1)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842571)

You may have missed the part of the article where he did intend to use his knowledge: A further examination of the stick revealed a letter, addressed to an unknown recipient, in which the author - again anonymous but referring to himself as a 24-year-old man - seeks spiritual guidance and says he has prepared himself physically and financially for jihad.

This isn't as bad as it looks (5, Insightful)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842147)

They ALSO uncovered letters where he stated he was prepared for jihad and was seeking guidance, plus he'd gone so far as to spec and price out his weaponry.

He wasn't just some curious chemist who happened to have an arabic-sounding name.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842231)

They ALSO uncovered letters where he stated he was prepared for jihad and was seeking guidance, plus he'd gone so far as to spec and price out his weaponry.

He wasn't just some curious chemist who happened to have an arabic-sounding name.

Reading TFA and commenting on anything but the skewed summary is discouraged.

Bombs+weapons+expressed desire to use them = probably a bad guy. "Probably" should not be enough for prison, though.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842285)

Pardon, and before anyone gleefully points out my error, I meant to write bomb _instructions_ and weapon _shopping lists_, not actual bombs and weapons. My point still stands.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842551)

Which is probably why he only got two years instead of 30.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842241)

He is still being jailed for knowing the wrong stuff. If they had evidence of a specific crime he was preparing for then that is different.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842251)

In addition to the letter where he talks about preparing himself for jihad, they found a shopping list of dangerous materials such as an AK47 and a grenade launcher. The man was sentenced to 2 years after he plead guilty to the charges.

Re: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842253)

Which is reason to observe him, not to jail him.

Re: (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842469)

Observe him doing what? Killing people?
Damn! I knew that was gonna happen!
Saying your going to kill someone is a crime.
Saying your going to kill someone and possessing a written plan to carry it out is a more serious crime
- Besides, being stupid in the commission of a crime, should carry an additional penalty.

Re: (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842563)

They did not find any prove that he was going to kill people.
They did not find any plan how to kill people.
But the still put him behind the bar....

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (0)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842261)

Interesting that chrb and/or Soulskill "forgot" to include that in the summary.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842263)

They ALSO uncovered letters where he stated he was prepared for jihad and was seeking guidance, plus he'd gone so far as to spec and price out his weaponry.

He wasn't just some curious chemist who happened to have an arabic-sounding name.

Who cares? Unless he actually goes out and implements any of his plans he's nothing more than a dreamer.

Now you throw him in jail for 2 years, and when he gets out do you think he'll be more or less supportive of the government? lmfao....

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842275)

I hadn't even noticed he had an arabic sounding name until you pointed it out. I fail as an American.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

xepel (1573443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842289)

It is still a thought-crime, however. He bought no weapons, built no bombs, created no toxins. He did nothing but possess knowledge and harbor some crazy fantasies. If he had started to enact those fantasies, I would totally agree that he would have to be arrested. Until that point, however, he had committed no physical crime.

It's interesting that you can get over two years of prison time just for *thinking* about doing something bad, but if you are in the right position, you can murder 24 civilians and get away with it. [latimes.com]

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842299)

Assuming your facts are correct, and I have no reason to disagree with them, then it seems entirely logical that he should be convicted of a crime.

However, the crime he should be convicted of is conspiracy to commit terrorism, and when reported, it should be made clear that "someone interested in Jihad had planned on making a bomb" rather than "someone had a recipe for a bomb".

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842319)

They should at least wait till they have more evidence. You can't just punish people for thinking about doing crime! Soon it will be a crime to watch a violant movie, or playing a video game.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842361)

Yes, I was just about to post about this. FTFA:
"When you combine that with the letter and the 'shopping' list that was found in Kauser's bedroom which contained pricing details for guns, ammunition and other survival equipment it builds up a picture of his state of mind."

But yes, the fact that he has a middle-eastern appearance and first name probably didn't help.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842373)

What exactly did he do that you think should be illegal? He downloaded information off the internet; price lists, and bomb recipes. He possibly contacted someone (a single letter that may or may not have ever been sent) asking for spiritual guidance in relation to jihad. Note: not asking for support or guidance on how to perform jihad, but asking for spirtual guidance in relation to his having prepared for it. I'm not saying the guy shouldn't have been investigated, watched, and quite probably seen by a psychiatrist, but he hadn't done anything outside his computer and his head. And when we start locking people up for what they're thinking, we're already 90% of the way down the slippery sloap.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

ticker47 (954580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842397)

How dare you read TFA and talk sense...you should be banned.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842421)

Meh. I'll grant you it's not exactly the same situation, but it still reminds me of shit I and thousands or millions of other kids did (and which we're also now busting kids for). I used to draw up diagrams of weapons -- mostly firearms, which obviously I wouldn't have had the resources to make, but also knives or throwing stars or helicopters... Okay, I probably was never going to build that Apache rip-off either, but these days it seems pretty fucking easy to get busted for thinking about doing shit you're never going to do, and at this point I have no faith at all in the government or prosecutors to have any sense of decency much less good judgment in deciding whom to pursue. Not to mention that they pretty regularly lie to the press about what they found. Tl;dr: I don't trust pre-crime prosecution.

Re:This isn't as bad as it looks (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842523)

He just looked at some information online and wrote a vague letter. It is not enough to justify two years in jail.

Maybe if he had the actual materials to make a bomb or letters with specifics on a plan, then it would be more than justified.

This is a thought-crime (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842153)

So apparently this guy is being jailed for reading the wrong things and thinking the wrong thoughts. Fuck the UK.

Re:This is a thought-crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842481)

So what makes you think this exact same thing would not happen in the US?

"Could have led to..." (3, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842157)

Prosecuting someone for a device that "could have been built" (if only the suspect had things like a motive, and the materials) is like slapping me with a paternity suit for all the girls I "could have got pregnant" (if only they would have sex with me).

Let's face it: this guy's crime was not downloading information on bombs and ricin. His crime was downloading said materials while having a Middle Eastern name.

Re:"Could have led to..." (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842301)

No, it's like downloading the Kama Sutra and getting slapped with a paternity suit. Or whatever it is that tells the Catholics that condoms are bad.

Re:"Could have led to..." (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842427)

Hey, STOP. Don't give the wrong ideas to these feminists groups...

thought crimes (0)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842167)

Isn't this a bit minority report? Just because he downloaded the information does not mean he was planning on using it.

Why does anyone need to know how to build a bomb? (0)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842197)

Seriously. Why would you need or want these instructions? why should bomb construction techniques even be available on the web in the first place. Not trolling and not flame bait, someone please enlighten me.

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842269)

If you want to become a bomb disposal expert, trial and error is a poor way to learn.

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842287)

what's wrong with my setting off a bomb on my own property?

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842351)

It's called curiosity [wikipedia.org] . Your same thought would lead you to question why Urg should bother with that fire, since it's clearly dangerous.

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (1)

abuelos84 (1340505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842357)

It is a valid question, but one that has many correct answers...
What I mean is that you can't legislate human curiosity, and there's no need for other reason.
If something is "hidden" or "taboo", I along with many others will be interested. And as long as you don't commit a crime (as in buying bomb-making STUFF, not INFO) it's my freaking right... well, at least in my country.
Off course, that's MY answer...

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (1)

Azuaron (1480137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842367)

Well, as a novelist, knowing how to make bombs could be very important for a book. Or maybe you're just curious. Or maybe you're wondering how bombs work. Or you could have a school report. Or maybe you're interested in fireworks and rocket ships (which are, essentially, bombs) or controlled demolition. Maybe you think the apocalypse is coming and you want to be prepared to fight the zombies with bombs made out of stuff you found in the ransacked supermarket.

Does it matter? I know how to make bombs (go high school physics!) but it's not like I'm going to bomb city hall. I know how to snort coke (and so do you! Everyone knows how to snort coke) should I be arrested for future snorting of coke just because I know how?

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842381)

Knowledge is power. Say I have some strange men move in next door. I notice they are receiving deliveries of fertilizer, barrels fuel, and related items. I guess this could be farming equipment, but since I living in the suburbs maybe they are building a bomb. Good think I read an article about the Oklahoma city incident online. Also, consider the case where I notice that the snow is melting off someone's roof. Maybe they love running their heat on full blast during the winter...or maybe they are growing marijuana. I know this because I read online. Last, lets say I notice a foul smell coming from the neighbor's house. I mean, a terrible smell, like a cat pissed everywhere. If I had a child who love to play in the yard, I'd be happy to know that maybe my neighbors have a meth lab brewing next door. I'd be happy to know I read online that the fumes are not only toxic and deadly to children. Get the point? Knowledge is power.

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842467)

Have you ever read any science book? Not science fiction, but true science books? maths? Physics? Chemistry? Hydrodynamics?
Ah, and one advise, don't read all these stories about "The Big Bang" theory...heeeey, guys, wait a second, NOoooooooo,arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

Re:Why does anyone need to know how to build a bom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842573)

General knowledge of what can cause explosions is useful if you want to avoid accidentally blowing yourself up when working with any number of perfectly normal materials and items. More specific knowledge is less useful in this regard but is still valid for the sake of curiosity. Learning about the world around you shouldn't require justification.

Damn, I'm in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842209)

Out of curiosity I've looked at and downloaded information from the web about nuclear bombs [wikipedia.org] . Doesn't mean I have any intention of building one or any ability to do so, but apparently the intent, let alone acting on it, is no longer relevant to whether or not I'm a criminal.

I watched Brainiac on Bravo (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842221)

Richard Hammond and Jon Tickle made me into a terrorist when they showed me how to make Thermite! Go arrest them!

Re:I watched Brainiac on Bravo (1)

Azuaron (1480137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842387)

Haha, the Mythbusters mostly told me how to make thermite. And then I looked up the "secret ingredient" they wouldn't reveal. So I now I completely know how to make thermite. Not as hard as I was expecting.

knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842229)

Probably safer to just buy a chemistry text or two....crap, I just got chemistry banned as a subject in the UK, didn't I?

Holy Fuck! Pre-crime??? (5, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842235)

Uh, oh, I am really worried about myself. Not only can I think of many ways I could construct explosive or incendiary devices, I can think of OVER 100 WAYS TO KILL someone! And there are quite a few people I don't really like! Many of them are sitting in the parliament (note: I am Greek) so they have connections to the police!
I am surely a prime suspect for potential terrorism, murder, political assassination and I don't know what else!
Oh, shit! I just realized I know where the VAGINA is! Potential for RAPE right there!!!
Where do I hide guys???

Re:Holy Fuck! Pre-crime??? (2)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842567)

Under a giant heap of extra question marks.

What about rocker scientists? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842267)

Are they terrorist too? Actually, they are even worse because they don't download the receipts, but they MAKE them. Nasty, little, geeky terrorist. Put them behind the bar. FOR LIVE.

Re:What about rocker scientists? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842391)

Leave Brian May out of this.

Fuck the government! (1)

Roger Wilcox (776904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842291)

Minority Report, anyone?

Man arrested for being Arab German (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842313)

Asim (Arab) Kauser (German) was arrested in UK for sounding like a Terrorist Nazi!

RTFA Pleaded guilty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842343)

The discovery of the information in his possession was accidental, but caused a greater investigation. It appears he pleaded guilty to the charge, suggesting a serious problem with establishing reasonable doubt.

In addition, one should not trust too heavily in the accuracy and completeness of a regional newspaper article. Hell, any newspaper for that matter. ...unless the man went into court without a lawyer, and had his arse handed to him by the prosecution. That can happen too.

Its is very clear where this is going. (1)

Eldragon (163969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842347)

Eventually people will be arrested for downloading how to jailbreak their phones, how to remove DRM, and how to bypass region locked DVDs.

Wow, since when did technical info become illegal? (1)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842401)

With the exception of early childhood with a few playground scuffles, I have never cause any physical harm to anyone, and do not have the desire to ever cause harm in the future.

However, as a geek and a white-hat hacker, I am very curious about technology, science (including chemistry), math (including cryptography), etc. So, yes, even I would be interested in reading about explosives and bomb making, along with my other technical curiosities, if only to be more informed and aware of the risks, even though I would never attempt to get the materials, build anything, or use it in any way.

But having technical info is illegal, even without any proof that that that man planned to misused it? Wow, I am shocked how much democracy we have lost in the last few years. At what point should we start causing our nations fascist states:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism [wikipedia.org]

this is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842403)

he has a beard! Lock him forever!!!!

thank god he didn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842423)

... download a car. You wouldn't download a car, would you?

Conspiracy to commit a felony (5, Insightful)

blackC0pter (1013737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842443)

IANAL. Conspiracy to commit a felony can be punished pretty severely as is evidenced by this situation. Some people will argue that this tramples rights because you cannot even read something without risk of going to jail. The flip side is how do you arrest someone that is planning on blowing up a building without this law? Do you wait until they blow up the building so you can actually arrest them? What about someone planning to kill someone or rape someone? Do you wait until they commit the crime to arrest them or arrest them when you have enough evidence that they are planning to commit the crime? What if someone was planning to kill you or blow you up? Wouldn't you want them arrested BEFORE they killed you?

Re:Conspiracy to commit a felony (2)

karmicoder (2205760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842537)

"Research" and "Plan" are two very different words.

Hey Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842483)

You know who also keeps ricin recipes? The USPTO [google.com] . Hop to it.

Materials, Really? (1)

Flipstylee (1932884) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842487)

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.'"

Materials downloaded, very funny.
I'm no expert, but i'd imagine any fool with the ability to fearlessly navigate to www.google.com
also would possess the ability to type in what they want, and strap in, as they prepare for to click
many a right arrow.

All non fools know where to go for bad things, like the neighborhoods most avoid,
it's always there despite policing.

It's like people just started realizing we're in the information age.

Sounds like Scanners and Lockpicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842545)

This isn't anything new. In Ontario, Canada, you can't use a scanner in a car if you intend (or actually do) commit crimes. Same thing with lockpick tools.

Some will tell you they're illegal to own at all, but no, only if you have INTENT to use them illegally. This person had proven INTENT to commit a crime using the information gathered. There's a big difference between that and not having intent. Otherwise, we would not be able to bust people for murder when they try to hire a hitman (who happens to be an undercover cop).

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