Thursday, March 5, 2009

Police helping terrorists

Boing Boing reports on the case of the British man arrested under terrorism laws for photographing a sewer cover.

The main points here are:
  • He was held in a police cell for two days, his home was searched, his computer was confiscated for analysis, his fingerprints and DNA were taken.
  • There was no evidence he was photographing a sewer cover.
  • He was freed without charge.
  • Photographing a sewer cover is not against the law.
  • His fingerprints and DNA remain stored, despite this being against the law.
This case illustrates how the police are helping terrorists:
  1. By wasting resources like this, there are less resources available for genuine anti-terrorism operations.
  2. By bringing the law into disrepute like this, the police are reducing levels of public support for legitimate anti-terrorism measures in the future.
  3. By compromising the openness of our society like this, the police are letting the terrorists control the agenda.