Feeds

Lords restrict terror website censorship plans

Amendment squeezes through by one vote

Top three mobile application threats

The House of Lords has restricted Government plans to allow the police to order the take down of suspected terrorism-related web content by requiring that the authorities obtain the permission of a judge first.

The draft Terrorism Bill was published in October, in the wake of the London bombings, and was instantly controversial – due to provisions dealing with the detention of terrorists, the criminalisation of those planning or preparing a terrorist act, and the prohibition of the encouragement or glorification of terrorism.

Website owners and ISPs are also affected by the proposals, which deems them to endorse prohibited material if, without reasonable excuse, they do not take down or modify the material once notified by a constable.

But critics are concerned that this imposes too great a restriction on free speech – and gives too much power to the police. The Lords have therefore introduced an element of judicial oversight.

"I entirely accept the principle that where there is something on the internet which is transmitting material from a website which is indeed truly terrorist related – I entirely accept that it should be removed,” Liberal Democrat spokesman Lord Goodhart told the Lords, according to the Times Online.

"It is simply a question that the police should not have authority which would enable them to go round removing any material, which they had the slightest suspicion could possibly be of some interest to somebody for terrorist purposes," he added.

The peers also tightened the definition of "unlawfully terrorism-related" material to cover material "likely" to be understood as encouraging terrorism, rather than the previously broad reference to material that could encourage terrorism.

The amendment, which was passed by the House of Lords by 148 votes to 147, was the second time in 24 hours that Government had lost a motion by only one vote. On this occasion the critical vote could have been provided by Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland of Asthal, who is responsible for pushing the legislation through the Lords.

She had left the chamber because of a "family emergency", according to reports.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.