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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.