Feeds

How just thinking about terrorism became illegal

What's on your hard drive could mean hard time

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

"A proposal to scan suspect hard drives causes unease in [Germany]," read a recent frontpage story in the Los Angeles Times. Positioned boldly above the fold, the reporter and editors recognized the potential keen interest in anything having to do with the implementation of snooping in "My Documents".

In the United Kingdom it's no longer surprising to find that in the absence of significant physical evidence, documents, weblinks and cached pages found on suspects' hard disks are enough to send them over on terror charges.

In the conviction of Scottish student Mohammed Atif Siddique, a source recently informs that publicized terror writings on the man's computer existed as links on pages - never mounted on the web - pointing to copies of jihadi materials published on the scholarly site, Project for the Research of Islamist Movements.

The reader can immediately intuit that having a link or links somewhere in your system, no matter where they point, and being Muslim when the police arrive at the door, can be enough to get you in deep trouble.

It was not always exactly like this. During the sweep which netted the alleged ricin cell, one young man was arrested with a copy of the ricin recipe downloaded from the Temple of the Screaming Electron, which is where Google will take you if you punch in "how to make ricin" and then click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" tab. He was subsequently released.

Times have changed. Now, conviction for possession of a terror-enabling script would be more likely.

For the expansion of German law enforcement spying, the scanning for jihadi documents and plans through Trojan horse programs, the Los Angeles paper posited through statements of authorities, that the computer was a precise window on the soul.

Are these your documents, Sir?

"The laptops of one of the suspects in a bungled bombing [from 2006] contained plans, sketches and maps - a virtual road map to an attack that could have killed dozens," stated the newspaper. "What if law enforcement had been able to secretly scan the contents of the computer before the attack was carried out?"

The terrorists bungled their bomb-making. Nothing exploded. They were caught, making the argument a poor one.

However, the fear-monger - one who makes any manner of surveillance sound reasonable - is always waiting with the ultimate trump.

"A terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is certain," reported the Times, citing a statement by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. "The question is no longer whether an attack could be carried out by terrorists, but when."

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.