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London Tube Dangerous for Technophiles?

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the don't-look-suspicious dept.

Security 971

TsukiKage writes "Traveling on the London Tube is dangerous these days, it seems - and not because of terrorists. Quick as ever to try and protect against the attack that has just happened, zealous police will detain you at the drop of a hat." From the article: "The next train is scheduled to arrive in a few minutes. As other people drift on to the platform, I sit down against the wall with my rucksack still on my back. I check for messages on my phone, then take out a printout of an article about Wikipedia from inside my jacket and begin to read. The train enters the station. Uniformed police officers appear on the platform and surround me ... They handcuff me, hands behind my back, and take my rucksack out of my sight. They explain that this is for my safety, and that they are acting under the authority of the Terrorism Act."

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the defense of liberty (5, Informative)

fishdan (569872) | about 9 years ago | (#13630869)

The MBTA [] in Bostonhas instituted a search policy on the commuter rail and subway. They say the station I come into in the morning (North Station) has about 25000 people come in during rush hours in the AM, making it impracticel tosearch everyone. Ithink "random" searches are never random -- people gettargetted.

The ACLU has a detailed page describing how to deal with a search request [] . One of the primary differences in the US and UK is clearly illustrated -- I don't mean this as a slam on the UK, merely pointing out a difference. In the US every ctizen is supposed to be immune from unreasonable search [] . Of course the definition of reasonable is opem to debate. But it's only by people pushing against crazy things like these train searches that we are able to defend indivual freedoms.

With the recent supreme court ruling in the Hiibel case [] it's more important than ever that citzens defend the right that are given to them. I hope other Bostonians will print out a copy of the ACLU's advice page [] ann keep it with them when they travel on the T. If you are an American and live in a place that has unreasonable searches, contact your local ACLU and see what they advise.

Regretting that you can't do something in the war on terror? Here's your opportunity. Defend civil liberties at home.

Re:the defense of liberty (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | about 9 years ago | (#13630924)

from TFA:
"I am carrying a bulky rucksack, and kept my rucksack with me at all times;"

This was deemed suspicious. (Aren't we told not to leave our bags out of our sight elsewhere?)

Re:the defense of liberty (0, Offtopic)

polarfox (118602) | about 9 years ago | (#13630954)

I really do hope that this will not happend in finland, except there is a new copyright law incoming.
Well, never gona stop copying songs from my cds to my mp3 player. And I'll never let anything stop me from carrying anything from laptop case to plastic bag on my back.

Go to jail, be an activist.
Don't go to jail, be a rebel.

I'll go for rebelling if it comes to that.

PS. I suck in writing my thinking... I'll stop now :)

attempted translation to english? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631024)

I really hope that this will not happen in Finland, except there is a new copyright law coming.

Well, never going to stop copying songs from my cds to my mp3 player. And I'll never let anything stop me from moving things from my laptop case to a plastic bag on my back.

Go to jail, be an activist.

Don't go to jail, be a rebel.

I'll go for rebelling if it comes to that.

PS. I suck at writing my thoughts... I'll stop now :)

Re:the defense of liberty (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630984)

The above has no relevance to the UK article, please mod down.

Re:the defense of liberty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631026)

I personally would be glad to be checked out by the police, because then I know they're doing their job. Privacy and all that stuff are important, but not more important than people's lives.

Re:the defense of liberty (3, Insightful)

Alan Livingston (209463) | about 9 years ago | (#13631069)

You sir, are certainly Anonymous. Even more importantly, you are definitely a coward.

Re:the defense of liberty (3, Informative)

nubnub (795694) | about 9 years ago | (#13631034)

I come into South Station and for weeks after London my commuter train would get stopped in Norwood for about five minutes while police with dogs walked the aisles of the train. Not once did the searches inconvenience me or anyone else on my train in any form, not once were they violating anyone's rights. They mostly seemed to be looking for unattended bags. I think most of the police presence in South Station and North Station is for show, and the rest is to make sure the trains are searched between the time the trains come in and the trains leave.

Re:the defense of liberty (2, Insightful)

fishdan (569872) | about 9 years ago | (#13631111)

Yeah, we got the dogs in Salem too. I LIKE the dogs, because it's a meaningful, non-random search. And it's reasonable. My co-worker is Bolivian, and he gets stopped and searched on over 50% of the flight he takes. He's dark skinned -- and apparently that's enough to skew the statistics. That's non-meaningful, and apparently non-random, and thus, in my book, unreasonable.

Bostonhas (1)

RoadDoggFL (876257) | about 9 years ago | (#13631040)

I actually paused trying to figure out what the hell Bostonhas was...

Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631049)

I forgot to mention, I was wearing a balcava and screamed praise to Alah...but that is not the point.

A lot of good... (1)

ChePibe (882378) | about 9 years ago | (#13631116)

The ACLU (That's American Civil Liberties Union) probably isn't going to help this gentelman from London.

Pppft (-1, Flamebait)

Kiashien (914194) | about 9 years ago | (#13630872)

Detained... Eww.. the Patriot Act (tm) Continues. Except it even affects other countries.

Uh oh... (0, Troll)

Alaren (682568) | about 9 years ago | (#13630874)

"Nothing for you to see here. Move along."

Oh no! They got Zonk too!

Oh wait, here's the article. Good thing we're here in America, not fascist Britain!!!

Er... crap.

Not that bad (1)

mrpotato (97715) | about 9 years ago | (#13630882)

It's still a little better than the guy who got 7 bullets in the head, don't you think?

Re:Not that bad (5, Insightful)

barc0001 (173002) | about 9 years ago | (#13630993)

Oh. OK. So, not being executed is the gold standard of good treatment by police now? What if they beat him senseless in the process? Still OK because they didn't kill him? Broke a couple of bones, still all right? Permanently crippled someone, still A-OK because they're not dead?

The bottom line is a lot of police forces around the planet are turning into bands of thugs, and the reason they're getting away with it is exactly comments from people like "it's not so bad, they didn't kill him like the other bloke"

Re:Not that bad (0, Troll)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 9 years ago | (#13631067)

"a lot of police forces around the planet are turning into bands of thugs" because only hopeless loosers enter the police, and they can do this because the government thinks it's necessary to give them a job sponsored by taxpayers. it's no wonder the army is full of shit - only the government employs idiots.

Re:Not that bad (1)

Greatmoose (896405) | about 9 years ago | (#13631123)

only hopeless loosers enter the police This could be the single dumbest thing I have ever read on Slashdot. And that, my friends, is saying something.

Lucky (2, Insightful)

Mikey Rowan (890208) | about 9 years ago | (#13630883)

He should consider himself lucky they didn't throw him on the floor and pop five caps in his head.

Re:Lucky (1)

Mikey Rowan (890208) | about 9 years ago | (#13630982)

My arse is that redundant. The man who got wasted in Stockwell had five rounds unloaded into him. Anyway, I didn't notice the article making any reference to the guys ethnicity. The British Transport Police are so jumpy, they'd detain anyone who's middle eastern looking who's fiddling around with a rucksack. Hell, they capped the other dude because he was a tanned Brazilian in a coat.

Re:Lucky (1)

Oen_Seneg (673357) | about 9 years ago | (#13631096)

It was the Metropolitan Police who shot the Brazillian, not the BTP - otherwise it wouldn't be Sir Ian Blair (Met Commissioner) taking all the criticism over the shooting.

Re:Lucky (0, Troll)

einhverfr (238914) | about 9 years ago | (#13631016)

He should consider himself lucky they didn't throw him on the floor and pop five caps in his head.

Because Brittain is the only former member of the civilized world where you can be summarily executed by police simply because you look like you might be Arab or North African and they think you might (or might not) be a terrorist. This guy was presumably not Brazilian and so didn't look either Arab or North African...

Here is the problem--- traffic accidents are a greater threat to public safety than terrorists. THerefore maybe we should make war on traffic accidents with the same or greater force. Anyone suspected of unsafe driving or involvement in such an accident should be summarily executed or locked up indefinitely without trial.... [/sarcasm]

Lucky. (1, Redundant)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 9 years ago | (#13630886)

They handcuff me, hands behind my back, and take my rucksack out of my sight.

Be glad you didn't get shot eight times.

Re:We are not afraid... (NOT!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630938)

Be glad you didn't get shot eight times.

There was a big marketing deal, where somebody with a web site had people send in pics with them carrying out their ordinary business (like shopping), while displaying a sign that said "we are not afraid!", i.e. that they wouldn't be cowed by the terrorist.

What's not shown in the pics, just outside the borders, is the phalanx of police.

Re:Lucky. (2, Insightful)

i_should_be_working (720372) | about 9 years ago | (#13631045)

Maybe he doesn't look "ethnic" enough to be mistaken for a Muslim.

He never said what colour his skin is. Seems like he would have when describing his clothes.

Lucky Indeed. (1)

Fhqwhgadss (905393) | about 9 years ago | (#13631092)

While we're at it, let's just go ahead and point out the better aspects of the shooting. After all, the police didn't drag him into the street and burn him alive. Lucky bastard.

Re:Lucky. (1)

ArcticCelt (660351) | about 9 years ago | (#13631105)

...Be glad you didn't get shot eight times...

...with seven of those shots straight in the head :|

(poor kid, work hard all your life to put as many useful information between your two hears to suddenly have a group of trigger happy guys that ruin it all by filling your skull with pieces of lead and making your brain look like some kind of Tapioca pudding.)

Terrorism Act (5, Interesting)

OctoberSky (888619) | about 9 years ago | (#13630892)

Terrorism Act = Patriot Act? Its funny, they don't sugar coat it like the US does.

Re:Terrorism Act (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 9 years ago | (#13630914)

Sugar Coat = Deception? It's funny, that you would sugar coat it like the US does.

Re:Terrorism Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631004)

Right now, I'm temporarily loving the whole living in Canada thing.

Re:Terrorism Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630937)

Does it really matter what they call it?

The Social Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630961)

Europe has always had strong state rights. That's the foundation of socialism. You should look at the other things they can do, that we're not allowed to.

Re:Terrorism Act (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | about 9 years ago | (#13631000)

They wouldn't have been able to pass the "patriot act" in the US if it was called a terrorism act. It had to be sold to the public and congress. Same result either way though: gross misuse of power by law enforcement.

All the law abiding citizens like myself have somehow become suspects and even criminalized for no good reason. We didn't do anything wrong...they just made up laws so they could accuse us and haul us in on a whim. At this rate, even the professional business people like me will have to take a clue from the inner city black people and people of new orlenes and start calling police "the man" and shooting at them. So sad.

Re:Terrorism Act (1)

HermanAB (661181) | about 9 years ago | (#13631039)

Well, if you ever meet a real flag waving, bible thumping, assault rifle toting, American patriot, then you'll understand...

Re:Terrorism Act (1)

black mariah (654971) | about 9 years ago | (#13631075)

I've lived in Texas for 24 years and have never met one...

Re:Terrorism Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631126)

move out of austin, you hippie!

Why don't they just... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 9 years ago | (#13630897)

explicitly forbid to use digital devices while on the train? Ta-da, end of "problem".

Re:Why don't they just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630945)

Maybe because 99.987654321% of IEDs are analog.

Re:Why don't they just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630953)

Because then looking at your digital watch to make sure you're not late for something will be considered a violation.

Re:Why don't they just... (1)

Pichu0102 (916292) | about 9 years ago | (#13631009)

Nope, if you forbid people to use electronic devices on trains, that's removing another right, and people will get angry about it. I know that I personally wouldn't want to not be allowed to use a cell phone to make a quick call on a train to tell someone I'll be late, and by removing this right, even on just a train ride, it may cause a lot of trouble in this digital-age world.

Re:Why don't they just... (1)

barc0001 (173002) | about 9 years ago | (#13631021)

Oh, you mean like cell phones? That'll work. I'm sure every tube rider would be completely happy to keep their cell phones, laptops and PDAs at home and buy another set for the office or school.

Re:Why don't they just... (1)

barc0001 (173002) | about 9 years ago | (#13631041)

My bad. I misread that to mean forbid the carriage of electronic devices. I still think that forbidding even the use would be problematic, especially cell phones, and as someone else pointed out, digital watches.

Re:Why don't they just... (1)

Toasty981 (43996) | about 9 years ago | (#13631080)

He said use, not carry.

And then... (4, Funny)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | about 9 years ago | (#13630899)

After you are detained, you are taken to the ministry of love for evaluation.

Re:And then... (2, Insightful)

Namronorman (901664) | about 9 years ago | (#13631082)

1984, by George Orwell, is an excellent book and I suggest that everyone reads it. Reading 1984 would probably give you a good insight on what is happening in today's world with all of this security and propaganda that is going on.

It's actually kind of scary, I know they say if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, but that's just bull shit. The way things work, they make everyone who is innocent feel guilty.

By the way, if you're too lazy to read the book, there's a movie version of it that isn't bad and will give you the same ideas.

But hey... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630900)

It's all ok, because after all, they are not the evil warmongering America, and have free health care. This is who we should be aspring to be like, right? right? Hmm...the usual liberal freaks aren't responding...the silence is deafening.

Interesting... (1)

JoeLinux (20366) | about 9 years ago | (#13630920)

Not being a flame-bait person here, but I think this is interesting. It's no secret that the posts here in /. seem to lean a little to the left.

England is usually held up as a model of a successful "socialist Republic", with free health care, extermely restrictive gun laws, etc.

This is an interesting slant on things. Just out of curiosity, what is the reaction to this unilateral restriction on the view of England as a model we should be striving to emulate?

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630973)

England is usually held up as a model of a successful "socialist Republic", with free health care, extermely restrictive gun laws, etc.

Look at the quality of that health care. Many, many people turn to the private sector.

And what have the restrictive gun laws done? Nothing. Violent crime rose dramatically since they took affect. There was a case where homeowner shot and wounded an intruder with a long history of burglary. The homeowner was brought up on charges. The intruder got out of jail before the homeowner.

Re:Interesting... (2, Informative)

WillerZ (814133) | about 9 years ago | (#13631037)

I assume you're talking about Tony Martin?

UK law is quite clear - you can use reasonable force in the cause of self-defense. You can't, as he did, lie in wait for a burglar then shoot him in the back as he runs away from you. There is no self-defense case there.

It's not really surprising that assault with a firearm carries a higher penalty than a failed attempt at burglary.


Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631006)

It's no secret that the posts here in /. seem to lean a little to the left.

Sorta the way Katrina made things a little windy in New Orleans.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631047)

How can the worlds most prominent constitutional monarchy be a "social republic"? :-D

Re:Interesting... (4, Insightful)

zoney_ie (740061) | about 9 years ago | (#13631051)

Socialist Republic? Are you smoking crack? It's not a Republic for one thing (the whole thing of having a monarch and no written constitution is a bit of a giveaway).

As for socialist? Well, only compared to the US. It's a social democracy, with much less of the "social" side than mainland Europe. See [] for a good explanation. Yeah there's a welfare state, but it's not comprehensive, there are merely aspects of it present. Mostly European countries are social democracies - they aren't actually massively left wing on a global scale - being centerist really. Ireland and Britain more so than the others. You could say "centre-right" and "centre-left", but really compared to global extremes (US, Japan, China, Cuba), Europe is pretty middle-of-the-road politically.

What does "restrictive gun laws" have to do with the idea of a socialist Republic? It's perhaps an indicator of authoritarianism rather than liberalism (although on this particular topic, I would say "sanity rather than insanity"). But your comments make no logical sense.

So as regards your observation that "posts here in /. seem to lean a little to the left", I doubt you would actually know whether someone's comments were left or right leaning.

Re:Interesting... (1)

brpr (826904) | about 9 years ago | (#13631107)

England is usually held up as a model of a successful "socialist Republic"

No it isn't. England is one of the least socialist countries in the world, probably second only to the US and a few others in its unrestricted capitalism. Don't be fooled by the fact that the current Prime Minister claims to be a member of the "labour" party. He's almost as much of a corporate crony as Bush. I guess you're just another dumb Fox-knobbled American who thinks that socialism = any degree of state control of the economy, whereas most forms of socialism actually reject centrally planned economies. To quote Marx: "Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinated to it."

Incidentally, it's hard to see how Britain could be a "socialist Republic" when it has a Monarchy. Contradiction in terms, surely?

And posts on Slashdot don't lean to the left. All you need to do to get a +5 Insightful is copy and paste libertarian propaganda.

Your last sentence simply makes no sense (do you know what "unileteral" means?), so I can't really respond to it. But I've been reading Slashdot for a while and I haven't seen many people arguing that the US ought (in general terms) to emulate Britain.

Regarding the subject of the article, I think the US and Britain are more or less tied in terms of how far they've managed to restrict the civil liberties of their citizens in recent years. The US constitution is a great document, but it's being systematically ignored and if the US population continues in apathy it won't be worth the paper it's written on.

Re:But hey... (5, Interesting)

Brad Mace (624801) | about 9 years ago | (#13631108)

It's all ok, because after all, they are not the evil warmongering America, and have free health care. This is who we should be aspring to be like, right? right? Hmm...the usual liberal freaks aren't responding...the silence is deafening.
Maybe a tinfoil hat will prevent all those evil liberals from finding you

Or maybe you could realize that most liberals don't hate America, they just want to make it better. You can't make things better unless you look at what's wrong. It also helps to look at what other countries are doing that is working better. Despite the success the Bush Administration and Fox News have had in turning 'liberal' into some sort of insult, most of them are pretty reasonable people.

Britain is in over-reaction mode, just as the US was after 9/11. Unfortunate, but not suprising. They may get a bit more carried away since they are lacking some of the guarantees our constitution provides, but that doesn't negate other things that they're doing well. Spazzing out as though it did is just silly.

This should just serve to illustrate how important our civil liberties are, especially in times of crisis. This is why the patriot act was and still is a mistake. Further, the U.S. government is never above criticism. That is our right and our duty as citizens. During wartime, the government should be held to higher standards, not lower ones.

Damned if you do damned if you don't..... (5, Insightful)

mangus_angus (873781) | about 9 years ago | (#13630916)

Either you detain them and we get stories like this poping up, or you don't and once it is a actual bomber or something and people looking for someone to blame start asking "well he was clearly suspicious, he should have been stopped, detained, and questioned. Had that happend we wouldn not be dealing with one of the worse tragedies of our time." Sad but true.

Re:Damned if you do damned if you don't..... (1)

OpenGLFan (56206) | about 9 years ago | (#13631087)

Scrutinize? Maybe. Search? Possibly. Detain? Perhaps. Arrest even after you've hauled them into the station and determined they're not a threat? Dumb. There's no other word.

Re:Damned if you do damned if you don't..... (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#13631099)

Personally, I don't think the problem is that he got stopped. If the police want to check you out, there's no law against them asking you if you would step aside for a moment to speak with them. Even a search granted by a "terrorism act" is acceptable under extreme circumstances. But to then arrest him, take his stuff, ransack his home, and demand bail all without reasonable cause (there was no bomb in his pack!), now THAT is a problem.

this is so, so, so scary... (3, Interesting)

advocate_one (662832) | about 9 years ago | (#13630927)

the whole scenario just freaks me out... the prospect of the Police just detaining anyone who fits the "profile" and searching their home under the terrorism act... I'm innocent, but you can bet your last £ that something somewhere in your home or in your computer could be construed as being terrorism related...

just wonder if I wiped that copy of "The Anarchist's Cookbook" I downloaded in curiosity five years ago from usenet... not to mention the fact that my education and armed forces experience gives me the capability of designing and building timer devices... and of cooking up explosives...

Re:this is so, so, so scary... (1)

pedigree (700642) | about 9 years ago | (#13630974)

Go to the DVD rental sotre and rent "Brazil", that will scare the crap out of you as well. I lived in London, had to leave. I now have to travel into London via the stations that those islamonazis bombed.

Re:this is so, so, so scary... (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | about 9 years ago | (#13631012)

I'm thinking a tourist, prepared for the event, could have fun.
1) look suspicious, but innocuiously so (like the author)
2) get harassed
3) scream for your consulate and turn it into an international fiasco.
4) sell your 15 mins of fame for . . .
5) profit!

Re:this is so, so, so scary... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 9 years ago | (#13631035)

I'm innocent, but you can bet your last £ that something somewhere in your home or in your computer could be construed as being terrorism related...

That is so true. Today, a person arrested in 2003 was convicted in the UK on two terrorism offences. What were these two offences? Well, possessing instructions to use a motar, which is fairly understandable and .... possessing 'a secret code on a bit of paper'. Wtf?

immediately handcuff you? (4, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | about 9 years ago | (#13630930)

I'm not one to immediately yell "constitutional rights!" anytime a peace officer attempts to do their job. I think under the recent circumstances it reasonable for a police officer to stop someone and ask them what their purpose is, and assuming its done in a non-discrimatory manner to ask to look through your concealed possessions.

However, the en-mass encirclement of a single person (unnecessary use of intimidation/force), and the incarceration (handcuffs!) of a citizen w/o any evidence of a criminal act is preposterous. I am unsure of the legal system available to those in the UK, but at the very least I would consult a barrister to confirm what you real rights are... many times police officers use their authority to intimindate people into compliance, even if their own behaviour is illegal.

Re:immediately handcuff you? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631114)

Might seem like a quibble but it isn't: In the U.S., you do not have "constitutional rights." Instead, the government has, or is supposed to have, a limited set of constitutionally authorized powers. Anything outside that limited set of powers is illegal and illegitimate. Every other right and freedom belongs to you, and is not for the government to determine.

At least that is how the Founders created this nation. In practice, the government has become a cancer on the nation.

hey (0, Troll)

rejecting (824821) | about 9 years ago | (#13630931)

So anyone else feel like every submitter has just taken to reading and sending every single thing that floats up? Cuz. I've read the last 234723 storys on and i don't think stupid slashdot editorial wankery is helping anything.

Constitution (1, Troll)

panxerox (575545) | about 9 years ago | (#13630939)

This is what you get without a constitution, any freedoms or rights that you enjoy are at the largesse of the state, and although here in the US our rights are being violated on a regular basis there is the hope that the constitution will at least act as a break on the Federal government's campaign against it's citizens civil libertys.

Re:Constitution (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | about 9 years ago | (#13631053)

We have a constitution. It's just not written down in one place, so it allows the government and people to act with a certain amount of reasonable flexibility, while still allowing either one to be put in their place if they fuck someone/something over.

Whew! Thank God I live in the USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630950)

Where we have a Constitution to protect us from unreasonable search and seizure!

*stifles a nervous giggle*

Seriously, if you want to save a lot of time at these searches, I've got a tip: toss a well-read-looking Bible in your knapsack. I don't know about the UK, but in the USA it pretty much guarantees you'll be moved through the line faster. And yeah, try and keep the gadgets to a minimum, wires==bombs to the geniuses working the line. I mean, most of these people can't even AFFORD an iPod.

Wikipedia is the problem! (4, Funny)

scovetta (632629) | about 9 years ago | (#13630951)

How can you blame the police for searching you? You were reading a Wikipedia article. You might as well have been using Linux and p2p to trade government secrets with Saddam bin Satan.

Seriously though, that's messed up. Were you reading the paper in a threatening manner? I can't see them doing that to people for *no reason* (sure, maybe for an *invalid* reason, but there's a difference...)

Patriot Act (1)

McLetter (915953) | about 9 years ago | (#13630957)

Since this is in London, there's not much I can say about it being unconstitutional, but similar events are happening in the US. A lot of the detainments and searches are because of racial profiling. Terrorism is affecting the world in a huge way, and I don't mean the terrorists scaring everyone and killing people, I mean the governments are taking completely outragous steps to "prevent" it. Yes, it may have helped but is it really really worth sacrificing our freedom and rights for? There are other solutions..

Re:Patriot Act (1)

FredThompson (183335) | about 9 years ago | (#13631072)

"Racial" profiling?


The fact that the overwhelming number of terrorists are now young Middle Eastern males has established a profile. Their ethnicity is a component of the profile, not the reason for it.

"Racial" profiling would be "Driving While Black", an entirely different situation.


Note the initial post is purely annecdotal.

I wear shoes on airplanes, travel alone, am a young male and take one-way trips. That means I fit the profile except I'm Caucasian. Does that mean I get searched more? Yup. Race is not the CAUSE of the search.

This could be abused to the breaking point (5, Interesting)

Have Blue (616) | about 9 years ago | (#13630959)

The presence of a slightly suspicious person shuts down a train for a few hours? It seems that an organized civil disobedience effort could keep the entire London tube system offfline indefinitely by wearing backpacks and using cell phones in carefully chosen stations and times. How long could that go on before someone realizes it's not preventing terrorism and it's more trouble than it's worth for everyone?

Great New World!! (4, Insightful)

teutonic_leech (596265) | about 9 years ago | (#13630962)

I'm about to hit 40 next January and when comparing my life now with how things felt in the 80s and 90s I realize how much the country I live in (U.S.) and the countries I was raised in (all over Europe) have changed in the last two decades. Just go to downtown London or any British city: cameras and microphones everywhere!! Do they prevent any terrorist attacks? OBVIOUSLY NOT! Any of us could come up with a plot and blow up some public building if we put our heads to it. What's a LOT more annoying than the remote chance of dying in a terrorist attack is the increasing curbing of civil liberties for the sake of 'public security'.

As Benjamin Franklin once argued: A nation that gives up freedom to gain security deserves neither.

Re:Great New World!! (2, Insightful)

Oen_Seneg (673357) | about 9 years ago | (#13631008)

And yet, with CCTV footage we've caught the people who tried to blow up more trains on July 21, and probably gained more intelligence about the whole operation because of that.

The IRA famously said to Margaret Thatcher (When she was British Primeminister): "We have to be lucky once. You have to be lucky all the time." Same applies today to London.

Purse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630964)

So... this guy was carrying a purse? Anyone else find that odd?

"They take off the handcuffs and start giving me back my possessions: my purse, keys, some papers."

Re:Purse? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 9 years ago | (#13631066)

don't knock it... saves a lot of wear and tear on the pockets... just a pity they're not really "acceptable" in public yet... (that is in the UK or America... they're perfectly acceptable in most of Europe though)

Re:Purse? (1)

Troglodyt (898143) | about 9 years ago | (#13631070)

Purse = wallet

With the potential for being harsh... (2, Insightful)

TrevorB (57780) | about 9 years ago | (#13630965)

... at least the author wasn't shot and killed. []

I'd be scared to be wearing my mp3 player + headphones in the Underground. What if someone yelled "STOP!" and I didn't hear them?

Re:With the potential for being harsh... (3, Funny)

Pleione (825378) | about 9 years ago | (#13631033)

Just carry a ghetto blaster around instead! I'm sure that'd be much less obtrusive. ;)

It was 28th July... (3, Insightful)

gowdy (135717) | about 9 years ago | (#13630968)

On Thursday 7th July there were four bombers with backpacks.

On Thursday 21st July there were four attempted bombers with backpacks.

Are you really surprised that they were extra careful with people with backpacks on Thursday 28th July?

Re:It was 28th July... (4, Insightful)

Feyr (449684) | about 9 years ago | (#13631015)

people commited acts of terrorisms with backpacks
therefore everyone wearing a backpack is a terrorist

nice logic you got there, let me suggest you some more:

drug dealers use cell phonse to sell drugs
therefore everyone with a cell phone is a drug dealer

gang members wear hoodies and bandanas
therefore everyone with hoodies and bandanas are gang members

clearly we must ban all backpacks, cell phones, hoodies and bandanas. only then will we succeed in having a truly free society!

Re:It was 28th July... (1)

nurd68 (235535) | about 9 years ago | (#13631109)

Why not? It's a common logical statement:

Bad people commit crimes with [certain type of] firearms.
Therefore, we must ban [certain type of] firearms.

The UK has already taken broad steps towards this, and the US keeps trying.

Hell, they don't even need evidence that a crime is committed - just that the firearm could be used against people. Indeed, there are rumblings that they want to get rid of "sniper rifles" (aka - high powered rifles which can hit targets at 100m), also known as "quality hunting rifles".

From my cold, dead hand.

Re:It was 28th July... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 9 years ago | (#13631131)

"gang members wear hoodies and bandanas
therefore everyone with hoodies and bandanas are gang members"

I've yet to see the exception to this rule. But the backpack and cell phone comments are right on.

UK gone bonkers? (5, Insightful)

anonieuweling (536832) | about 9 years ago | (#13630969)

I do SERIOUSLY think the UK has gone too far. Taking DNA, fingerprints and more without serious reason (that was evident at the time of the 'arrest' in the story) is absurd, ridiculous and by all means totally out of proportion. If the arrest was valid and 'normal' in the UK the country is truly bonkers and out of whack. What will happen if the terrorism (not just the type done by the muslim fanatics) continues?

Wikipedia (1)

b00tleg (603482) | about 9 years ago | (#13630971)

Clearly the bobbies saw he had an article about wikipedia, Microsoft acts fast.

Victim's website (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about 9 years ago | (#13630975)

This is also published on the victim's website. [] Also on there is a description of the suicide bomber profile [] the police use - which many geeks will also fit.

Terrorists confirm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630978)

BeBox is dead

Three uniformed police officers search my flat and interview my girlfriend. They take away several mobile phones, an old IBM laptop, a BeBox tower computer (an obsolete kind of PC from the mid-1990s)

Re:Terrorists confirm (1)

Oen_Seneg (673357) | about 9 years ago | (#13631061)

Why do you think he's had so many problems with regaining his possessions? Forensics probably can't understand how to get the data off a BeBox!

suck it up bitch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13630987)

suck it up bitch!

just some balance here (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 9 years ago | (#13630999)

if a terrorist attack were to happen, the same people who would be complaining about the authority's actions now would complain about it's actions then as well. the point is simply that terrorism is not an easy situation to deal with, and all of the "you can't give up freedom to gain security" idealists are just completely missing the whole point: terrorism is real, and it has people concerned, and they're just doing their best. criticize constructively. empty headed criticism that flails histrionically at everyone and everything involved is not helpful.

so why some of you think it is more important to question the motivations of western authorities and not criticize terrorist's motivations instead is beyond me. do i trust the autorities with my freedoms? no. but i know they aren't the threat to me right now. i simply don't understand people who see more menace in western authorities than in terrorist's actions. and judging by who bears the brunt of the criticism after a terrorist action, you know exactly what i am talking about. how about criticizing the terrorists? i know, strange concept.

i now return you to your regular typical drumbeat of sith lords manipulating the situation for their powerbase and agent smith out to destroy your personal freedoms out of pure meanness and other derivative hollywood paranoid schizophrenic plots which passes for insightful analysis around here of the world we live in. pffffffffft.

Re:just some balance here (1)

OpenGLFan (56206) | about 9 years ago | (#13631125)

I think you're posting to the wrong article. You're obviously reading about a guy who looked suspicious and, after being questioned and searched, was let go.

This article's about a guy who was hauled into a police station, held overnight, and was charged with a crime for having a backpack with a laptop.

Don't worry, misposting happens to all of us.

Re:just some balance here (2, Interesting)

dave420 (699308) | about 9 years ago | (#13631130)

I think people were more disturbed by the police keeping all the evidence they had after all charges were dropped.

Most people are well aware of the difficulties of dealing with terrorism, and the UK is leaps and bounds ahead of it than the US is, so drop your pants and switch on Fox ;)

Re:just some balance here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631133)

Every now and then I come across a well-written post on /. and wish there were a mod option to highlight just this. Regardless of whether something is insightful or interesting or even redundant or flamebait, a firm grasp of written English here deserves a wider audience.

Detain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631030)

They shot an innocent man to death. I wouldn't be worried about mere detention.

The British gov't? Restricting your rights? Never! (2, Insightful)

SnowDeath (157414) | about 9 years ago | (#13631044)

I just simply can't believe the British government would so unabashingly remove a British citizen's rights so quickly under an "Act". The British have always done this - the whole is more important than the individual. That is *exactly* the type of action that led to the American Revolutionary War when the Crown tried to tighten down more than the people were willing to let them.

It is sad that Americans have now, slowly but surely, allowed a domestic government to do the very same things that we fought for independance from.

Colour of the skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631073)

So, what was the colour of the skin of the person in question?

I don't think he was one of the pasty white english blokes. I think that will pretty much explain why he was considered suspicious...

The British Empire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13631079)

Sorry. You lost your rights when you lost your guns. Didn't they explain this to you?

Due to excessive bad posting (-1, Offtopic)

Ranger (1783) | about 9 years ago | (#13631104)

What the fuck? I've never seen this before. It's been a while since I did an anonymous post. Is it this story?

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "xxx" and "yyy" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "" and your username "zzz".

Article summary (1)

op12 (830015) | about 9 years ago | (#13631117)

Since when is linking some text in a direct quote enough to cite a source? Would it be that hard to add on "According to an article on The Guardian" or something to that effect? Or has this practice become acceptable/mainstream through blogs?

Rucksack? (1)

Kimos (859729) | about 9 years ago | (#13631120)

Maybe it's just not a Canada thing, but we call them backpacks... []

I was searched quite politely on the Tube (5, Interesting)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | about 9 years ago | (#13631124)

I was in the UK in August, on my way to Heathrow Airport, when a police officer asked to search my suitcase. (Understandable, since it was a large suitcase, and had I been an Islamofascist, I could have packed quite a lot of explosive in it.) He was quite polite about the whole thing, it took less than two minutes, and then he gave me a note describing me and the bag I was carrying in case another officer wanted to stop me.

Don't know why Mr. May had such a hard time of it. Sounds more like an abberation than a trend, and it's impossible to contruct a trend line from a single point of data.

Crow T. Trollbot

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