by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
The UK’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, is the latest bureaucrat to highlight the increased global trend of governments going completely insane. Her latest plan is to threaten the British population with up to 15 years in prison for the crime of watching “terrorist material.” Yes, you read that right.
The Guardian reports:
People who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years behind bars in a move designed to tighten the laws tackling radicalisation the home secretary, Amber Rudd, is to announce on Tuesday.
A new maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment will also apply to terrorists who publish information about members of the armed forces, police and intelligence services for the purposes of preparing acts of terrorism.
The tightening of the law around viewing terrorist material is part of a review of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy following the increasing frequency of terrorist attacks in Britain this year.
“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law,” said Rudd. “There is currently a gap in the law around material [that] is viewed or streamed from the internet without being permanently downloaded.
According to the Home Office the updated offence will ensure that only those found to repeatedly view online terrorist material will be guilty of the offence, to safeguard those who click on a link by mistake or who could argue that they did so out of curiosity rather than with criminal intent. A defence of “reasonable excuse” would still be available to academics, journalists or others who may have a legitimate reason to view such material.
The UK is clearly embracing pre-crime here, since it’s clear someone watching terrorist propaganda in the privacy of their own home does not harm anyone else. Thus, this is a victimless crime, and as I’ve maintained on many occasions, I do not believe such a thing exists. If there’s no victim, there’s no crime.
What the UK is arguing here is that watching “terrorist material” increases the likelihood of someone committing a violent terrorist attack in the future. So you’re actually being punished for what you might potentially do in the future. This is pre-crime and it’s totally insane. Beyond that, we can pretty much guarantee that the definition of “terrorist material” will expand over time to whatever politicians don’t want the rabble exposed to.
But it gets worse still. Here’s what Rudd had to say about her government’s demented crusade against technology itself.
Rudd also caused some consternation at the fringe meeting by criticising the tech industry for their “patronising” attitude that “sneered” at politicians who did not always get it right. She claimed it was not necessary for her to understand how end-to-end encryption worked to know that it was helping criminals.
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