2006/08/16

Brits May Go Soft On Criminals and Terrorists

Until it was relaxed, Britain had a right against self-incrimination (often referred to as the "Right to Silence"). An impediment to effective law enforcement, this pesky right was dealt a blow in 1994 by giving juries the ability make inferences from a suspect's silence. (No biggie, right? Only the guilty keep silent.)

Then in 2000, the Empire Upon Which the Sun Never Sets took another needed step. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) added a provision requiring citizens to turn over their encryption keys and passwords to the police (or to decrypt potential evidence) on demand. After all, you can't catch pedophiles and terrorists if they're going around encrypting all of the evidence of their dastardly deeds. Moreover, if you make the penalties for failing to cooperate really stiff, then the general public simply won't encrypt their data, and that will make police work so much easier.

But now it appears that Britain may retreat from this very reasonable position. Members of the House of Lords are questioning RIPA as if it could somehow undermine liberty. In fact, Lord Phillips of Sudbury (who we can only conclude is some kind of terrorist-loving liberal) commented:
You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them. That's the road to hell.
Pray that our closest ally doesn't falter in the battle with the evildoers, and in addition push here at home to get rid of that annoying 5th Amendment.

5 Comments:

I think you will find Britain doesn't have the heart for extreme laws.
3 Brits are sitting in Houston right now on Enron related charges simply because Britain rarely prosecutes commercial cases effecively.
The jails are overcrowded with nonsense crimminals while the big ones walk nearly every time.
But in the end there is an attempt to get a balance between security and hard won freedoms, just as there should be elsewhere.
Given the WoT is being exposed as largely a domestic politics construct, they could well be right.
And you can take the tongue out of the cheek too!
hmm, what will Bushco do without Poodle Support....and love the quote by the Liberal Pinko guy...Lord something...

Thank you dear frog for educating us...this was interesting..
.I think you will find Britain doesn't have the heart for extreme laws.

Well the people may not but the officials certainly seem to. RIPA did show in a vacume you know. Though I have to say that Scotland seems to be doing a bang up job lately.

E4E...you're welcome.
Now don't go mixing Scotland in, we'll have ourselves another international flashpoint.
Whoops...guess that should have been "Scotland Yard". Damn I wish I had opposable thumbs.

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