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Saturday, 15 November 2008

We will not be intimidated – Mass resistance to new offence of publishing information about police officers

The new Counter Terrorism Bill, currently in The Lords, contains an amendment to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This amendment will make it an offence, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, to publish or elicit information about any police constable "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

Furthermore, Schedule 7 of the Bill applies this amendment to internet service providers and web hosting services. This means they will have a legal duty to remove all sites perceived to fall under this offence, and has provisions for use at home and abroad.

It is unclear what information will be classed as “useful” to terrorists, but due to this ambiguous wording, the Bill has implications for bloggers, journalists, photographers, activists and anyone who values freedom of speech.

This is a call from Fitwatch for a mass publishing of information on police officers on the day this Bill receives its Royal Assent. The date will be published as soon as we have it, but it is likely to be early 2009.

Fitwatch are one of the groups who could be targeted by this new legislation. Fitwatch, started eight months ago by activists, resists and opposes the use of Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) on demonstrations. FIT are police officers who photograph, follow, and generally intimidate protesters. They bring, in the words of Jacqui Smith, “harassment style policing” to protests.

As part of this opposition, we run a blog – http://www.fitwatch.blogspot.com/ – where we share information about these officers. We feel this blog could be under threat from this new legislation.

Whilst it is obvious from our blog that we do not like these officers, we are not terrorists.

Neither are:

  • people filming, and uploading to Youtube, footage of police officers acting illegally.
  • bloggers writing about being randomly stopped and searched.
  • journalists publishing details of corrupt or racist cops.
  • photographers publishing photographs of police on protests.

The list goes on, but all are under threat.

This legislation not only attempts to stifle our ability to hold the police force to account for their actions, but also attacks the principles of open publishing on the internet. It must be resisted.

Join the mass action and oppose this ludicrous law.

This action can be taken by anyone, anywhere:

  • Get hold of a piece of information about a police officer, or a photo or video. If you are stuck, feel free to use anything from our blog!
  • Publish this on Flickr, Youtube, your blog, website, myspace/facebook, whereever you want.
  • Send us a link, and we'll publish a list on our blog.
  • Please circulate and publish this call as widely as possible, and join this act of cyber resistance.

ps – this bill also applies to intelligence officers. If anyone does have any photographs or information on MI5 officers they wish to publish, we would not seek to discourage them in any way, shape or form, but please do send us a link!!!

10 comments:

Kia Kanpa said...

Just to let you know KiasWorld will join you in this - we have issued a 'call to arms' on our blog at http://blog.kiasworld.co.uk/1_kiasworld_blog/archive/62_counter_terrorism_bill_2008_your_freedom_and_the_fitwatch_campaign.html - I shall let you know when we have more people to publish information.

Kia

PC Reality Check said...

All together now...

Oh yes you will

and whats more once there is an offence that you may be committing SO will your host.

Time gents please....

mascott said...

just as there's more than one way to skin a copper, there's more than one way to disseminate information, 'pc reality check'.

Anonymous said...

Ps comment whats all this then? 'call to arms' sounds a bit far fetched to me. Should be ' call to soap .' Bring on the revolution !

Anonymous said...

So if you're not disseminating information, merely individual bits and bytes (essentially just random 1s and 0s) of a much larger torrent file, where's the crime?

Aaah, so the crime would be in any software solely dedicated to reassembling those 1s and 0s back into a meaningful sequence. But define that specific software. Is it BitTorrent (or any other torrent client)? Nope, because they have MANY uses which are totally legitimate and don't actually display the resulting files anyway. Oh, what a quandry for the technologically backward forces of law! See them scurry about with their big lenses, unaware they are being filmed by their own system's CCTV which we have a right to demand copies of - hint hint ;)

How will they know they've been filmed if they can't see the hidden micro camera? How will they know where the torrent originated? How will they know which ISP is responsible if everybody is using encrypted anonymous proxies? Oh they have MUCH to learn.

Anonymous said...

PS Comment.
I bet you have a great girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

I so doubt the police will ever make this stick at all, the legislation is so badly worded, a judge should throw any cases against fitwatchs's journalistic blog, period. thing is none of the people doing it are terrorists, they merely object to the chauchescu tactics or the police. I think European human rights legislation would trump this one big time. I for one would gladly be threatened with 10 years in jail and look forward to the large payout from wrongful arrest. The problem is the police are bored at protests that's why they do it, are they worrying about civil war again like they were during the miners strike ???, like mi5 were. Thing is if the police want to film fine, so they should be filmed themselves, if they are targeting people for no reason other than being bored then they should be unsurprised they get reported on and filmed as well. Thing is I am not sitting on the fence on this one, knowing many coppers right up to some of the top brass in the police, they get fed up with their foot soldiers, being such idiots, that it does their head in.
now here's a good one some people are now well up for producing, civil arrest sheets for anyone to arrest coppers for criminal behaviour which so far it is on the verge of, which is in theory is possible, so if police really want to play these stupid games so will the masses, thing is if the police just recognised that people have the right to protest, which in the main is peaceful let people get one with it then that's it. The police are there to police, not intimidate and persecute, we do not live in burma. wrongful application of the law (which is ever more rubbish) will only increase animosity rather than decrease it. Some of the comments here by some police which are members of fit, only illustrate the fact that they don't get it and should not be in the police force full stop and they should also recognise that fit teams actions are not only are they being watched by fitwatch but also, journalists, mps, top coppers, lawyers and judges and ministers and there is a dim view of the practice, and soon it will be much more rigorously controlled.

Anonymous said...

(*_*)
VV
V
.. do you want pictures of police evidence gathers etc, I got one of some knitting?

For real.

Anonymous said...

If there is to be a change in the law to prohibit making public details of police officers there will have to be major changes made where I live.
My local Co-op shop has a poster with ffotos and the names of three of our community coppers and a civilian volunteer. Copies of this poster are on display in several other shops in the village, the community centre where I work, and if I remember correctly, the local library and possibly the pubs. I've seen it so many places it's hard to remember where it isn't. In the nearby town is another poster, same format but with six or eight police personel on it. Is this just Dyfed-Powys Police or do other forces publish this sort of information?
Also "Swansea Eastside Inspector Nigel Whitehouse", "Ammanford constable Wayne Williams", "Chief Superintendent Mark Matthias", "Inpector Karl Eenmaa", "Inspector Owain Richards of Dyfed-Powys Police", and "South Wales Police chief Barbara Wilding" are just some of the police personel mentioned in today's local evening paper.
Will it apply only to serving officers? Ian Blair and Terry Grange are "Top Cops" who have recently resigned with questions still to be answered about their actions during their careers and didn't an ex-copper stand for Mayor of London? Can we mention that? Can he mention that? What about the history of the Police Service? Can we talk about Sir Robert Peel? Or is every policeman to be a Secret Policeman?

Anonymous said...

have you checked out the BNP lists? there are plenty of police officers details as members.