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UK Man Arrested Over "Offensive" Tweet

wosmo Re:Explanation for us non-UKians? (360 comments)

Is Glasgow filled with some sort of protected class? Lot of Africans, or Muslims? Was the joke meant to be racist?

No more than any other major city. Anecdotally I'd say far less so than the south of the UK, but I don't have numbers to hand, so take that as opinion rather than fact.

Or just anti-life?

Basically, this. It could be construed as "classist", as Glasgow's primary reputation is being something of a rough city (or a tough/hard city from a local's point of view). - however the irony isn't lost on me that Sunderland (where the 'tweeter' resides) isn't exactly god's kingdom either. An argument could also be made that Scots themselves are a minority, having only ~10% of England's population. (Easy to miss, the accident occurred in Scotland but the accused is in the north of England).

But mostly, he just seems to be a dick. And that's much less protected here than it is in the US.

This is one of the biggest differences between the US & UK legal cultures. While basically similar systems (they share the same "common law" roots), they're exercised entirely differently. The US deals very much with absolutes, and the letter of the law. Most of your primary rights are the right to dissent - and understandably so, since it's what your nation was built upon. To this end you have free speech, press, assembly, firearms, etc. That is, the right to have a dissenting opinion, to share/publish this opinion, to vote on it, to protest, etc. All the way up to having enough guns around that the govt should be wary of the people - although personally I'd argue this one's now a futile effort given the govt clearly won that arms race ...

But I digress; In the UK the law is very much more intent based. So we don't have free speech as an absolute - we judge each on its merits. So political speech, satire, etc are essentially protected speech - very much in line with the intent of your first amendment - but public disorder, breech of the peace, hate speech, etc, very much less so - which runs contrary to the letter of your first amendment.

This one falls into an odd gray area though. We have no obligation to provide a platform for free speech. So while this wouldn't have been seen has malicious if shared as a joke between friends, it falls foul of the Malicious Communications Act, which allows for something like;

Section 1 of the Act covers the sending to another of any letters, electronic communications, photographs and recordings that are indecent, grossly offensive or which convey a threat (which may be false), provided there is an intention on the part of the sender to cause distress or anxiety to the person who receives them.
The offence refers to the sending, delivering or transmitting, there is no requirement for the communication to reach (or be read by) the person who is intended to read it.

( http://www.findlaw.co.uk/law/c... )

So this is where we end up with situations which can appear absurd. Someone makes a complaint to the police. The police satisfy themselves that there's reasonable grounds that such a communication has been sent. But it's not up to the police to judge the intent ("provided there is an intention on the part of the sender ..."). This ends up in essentially a three-step process, where the police may find sufficient rounds to make an arrest, then the CPS ("Crown Prosecution Service", roughly a public prosecutor or attorney general) may find sufficient grounds to press charges, and then a judge/court may find an actual offence.

So far, only the first of these steps has happened.

about a month ago

Life Sentences For Serious Cyberattacks Proposed In Britain

wosmo "Life" != Life (216 comments)

'life sentence' has a very specific meaning in UK law. Up to 15 years if it's not murder, up to 30 years if it is murder. This is why we charge people with multiple murders - we can't imprison them "until you die", but we can imprison them for 3*life.

There does exist "whole life order" which is closer to the US definition of "life sentence", but it's an extraordinary response to, well, the extraordinary. (and comes with its own restrictions. You can be charged with murder under the age of 21. You can be sentenced to Life under the age of 21. You *cannot* receive a "whole life order" under the age of 21.)

about 8 months ago

Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

wosmo Re:NAT (574 comments)

$100k hardware firewall? what he's talking about is an easy task for reverse proxy / load balancing. Has been for years. It's a very common setup where you have multiple worker nodes answering. It's the typical setup for 'elastic' style amazon stuff. one load balancer, as many nodes as the current load requires behind it.

about a year ago

Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

wosmo Re:Cry me a fucking river... (374 comments)

To pull out the most wildly stupid example I can think of, I put to you:

I've lost my key. But having lived here quite a while now, I have a fair idea I can jimmy the kitchen window. I proceed to do so, and happen to be caught in the act by the local bobby.
Now, just like every "freeman" on youtube tells me, I shut my mouth and tell the police nothing. I'm arrested, obviously, and events take due course. But I hold my "god-given right to silence" just like youtube tells me to.
When I stand before the judge and finally announce "your honour, that's my house", I'm basing my defence entirely on something I didn't admit during questioning. And I'd deserve to be treated like the idiot I was.

Obviously, I'd hope to never see this example play out in real life. But yes, withholding during questioning can very much work against you.

1 year,16 days

Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

wosmo Re:This is clearly against E.U. Human Rights (374 comments)

This is the stance under English law. Providing a password to encrypted data is allowing access to a search. Refusing such a (court-ordered) search is analogous to refusing entry to a search warrant. Opening the door is not self-encriminating & does not bear witness against self - what's on the other side of the door is your problem.

(for clarity; not disagreeing with you, but providing the analogue)

1 year,16 days

Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

wosmo Intent-based laws (374 comments)

This is a strange one to get past the american audience, because despite the two legal systems sharing a common root ("common law"), they functionally operate very differently.

So I put to you a scenario. I've just been shopping for some housewares, and happen to have in my shopping bag a l large flat-bladed screwdriver. At the same time, the same object can be found about the person of another chap with a known drug problem and a history of breaking & entering.
Now, under English law, I'm doing absolutely nothing wrong, but it would be quite simple to confiscate the screwdriver from the chap with a history of breaking & entering, enquire about his business this evening, where's he's been, going, and even remand him for a more formal chat if his answers aren't convincing, or he's uncooperative.

In English law, this would be "Going equipped to steal"; the American reaction would be "Screwdrivers are illegal? since when?" Which is where we differ so wildly. It's often said that "possession is nine tenths of the law". In English law, Intent is nine tenths of the law. We really do depend on the judicial system showing some common sense, and protest when it fails to do so.

Which is exactly how this case works. If I encrypt my financial documents, my employer opts to encrypt my harddrive, a journalist encrypts their research, etc, this is prudent, and I would call any overreach against this "abuse of police powers" or "abuse of regulatory powers". But if a convicted terrorist has a cache of encrypted data, yes it's kosher for a court to demand the contents to further their investigation.

I'm quite sure all this makes me sound like an apologist; I believe nothing could be further from the truth. I do value my privacy, I do encrypt things "simply because I can", I'm disgusted by untargeted, dragnet surveillance, etc. But I'm also a realist, and there's a very simple problem here: Outrage at stories like this actually damages my position against such breaches of privacy. Internet Pitchforks are far too readily available, but they make us look like the tinfoil nutters. Where common sense dictates that an investigation is overreach, then yes, yell at the top of your lungs. But to protest a court order made during the investigation of a convicted terrorist - use some common sense.

1 year,16 days

Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program

wosmo Re:Seriously? (201 comments)

I don't believe they actually require legal standing to board you if you're unflagged. Declaring yourself a no-man's land causes as many problems as it solves.

about a year ago

Facebook On Collision Course With New EU Privacy Laws

wosmo Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (195 comments)

"we're not even based in your country, so your laws mean precisely as much as we allow them to"

They do have a footprint in Europe, which is why they had the Irish Data Commissioner crawling around for 3 months last year. Multinational means multi-juristictional too, something to do with having your cake and eating it.

more than 2 years ago

Vision Problems For Some Returning Astronauts

wosmo Surprised this is news (203 comments)

My father was on submarines, and would come home from a 10-12 week patrol mildly short-sighted. He was ordinarily long-sighted, with a prescription to match.

We tell cube droids to 'rest their eyes' periodically during a 8 hour shift, by taking some time to focus on something that isn't 2 feet away (out the window, etc) exactly because this is a known issue. How did no-one assume that the same would happen on the ISS?

more than 3 years ago

Why Star Wars Should be Left o the Fans

wosmo Re:who's over-inflated idea of his own importance? (425 comments)

The shift you're talking about pretty much defines mass media. When you were commissioned to paint a chapel's ceiling, or portrait some fat cat, it's in your better interests to tell them whatever they want to hear. You do the job, they pay you, you walk away. Shifting units is a whole 'nother ball game. Instead of walking away, you can keep selling that piece over, and over again, for as long as you can remind people it exists. It being *your* piece of work is central to your legitimacy

more than 3 years ago

UPS Setup For a Small/Mid-Size Company?

wosmo Re:APC SmartUPS (260 comments)

those 'old desktops' are probably costing you more in running costs, and decreasing your available runtime on battery. Just a thought.

more than 4 years ago

Patent Issued For Podcasting

wosmo BackWeb (150 comments)

weather.com were using backweb.com to do this in 99. backweb seems to stem back to 96-97. The user installed client-side backweb agent, then subscribed to one or more channels. The backweb agent downloaded new content from these channels as and when it was added to the channel. The content was 'multimedia', being pretty much anything that could be encapsulated in flash or java. I don't know how it handled low-disk conditions for part 4 of claim 1, but "not dying horribly" should be an obvious extension to parts 1-3 of claim 1.

more than 5 years ago

Irish ISP To Block Access To Pirate Bay

wosmo Re:Eircom alternatives (169 comments)

I'm on UPC/NTL. On the other side of the country. But yes, regardless of how the service is branded, it's pretty much cable=UPC, DSL=Eircom. No matter whose name is on the bill

more than 5 years ago

Nuclear Subs 'Collide In Ocean'

wosmo Re:Odds ? (622 comments)

It's a lot more 2D than you'd assume. To maintain any kind of launch readiness, you want to spend most your time as close as possible/comfortable to hover/launch depth. A few sane points that are being completely missed here, are that "playing games" with each other is the job of attack boats, not bombers - and the English Channel, separating England and France, and home to atleast one of the Royal Navy's principle ports (however, not home to the clyde submarine base nor relevant RNAD), happens to be relatively shallow, and one of the busiest seaways in the world. It is a shame tho. They finally managed to stop the acoustic tiles from falling off the the Vanguard class, and now they keep playing contact sports just to foul them up again.

more than 5 years ago

How PALS Help Secure Nuclear Weapons

wosmo Re:You are an idiot (136 comments)

Since we took them away from the RAF, the UK's nuclear fleet is our only nuclear capability. Considering even the French manage to bear four SSBN and an airlaunch capability, I think maintaining the Trident fleet is the least we can do. We really can't be shown up by the French .. And as to the actual article, the comment made to the BBC regarding trusting the navy is spot on. If you don't trust your Senior Officers with a nuclear arsenal, don't send them off to sea with 40-off warheads.

more than 7 years ago


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