Miranda To Take Legal Action Against UK, Demand Return Of His Electronics

from the show-trial dept

With the UK government now defending its actions in detaining Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, by abusing an anti-terrorist law, Miranda is now poised to fight back. His lawyers have contacted the government demanding the return of the electronics they confiscated (stole) from him, and saying that he intended to take legal action over the detainment.
The lawyers say they will also be seeking a "quashing order" confirming that his detention was "unlawful" and a mandatory order that all data seized is returned and copies destroyed.

"The decisions to use schedule 7 powers in our client's case amounted to a grave and manifestly disproportionate interference with the claimant's rights" under European human rights legislation, the letter adds.

Gwendolen Morgan, the lawyer at Bindmans dealing with the case, said: "We have grave concerns about the decision to use this draconian power to detain our client for nine hours on Sunday – for what appear to be highly questionable motives, which we will be asking the high court to consider. This act is likely to have a chilling effect on journalists worldwide and is emphatically not what parliament intended schedule 7 powers to be used for."
Like so many hamfisted responses by US government officials in response to the surveillance revelations, it seems like the monumentally stupid decision to detain Miranda is going to end up doing a lot more harm than good to the UK government. The actual benefit of such a detention to the UK government was basically nil. But the value of demonstrating to the world what thuggish behavior the government will resort to, against free speech and a free press, is quite powerful, but not in the way the government intended.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Duke (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Full letter before action

    For those interested, the Guardian have posted the full letter before action Miranda's lawyers sent to the Home Office here. It sets out their version of the facts and their arguments.

    It's also worth nothing that they are also seeking to challenge the validity of the law itself (see for example, paragraph 11), and so are saying they will go ahead with the proceedings even if the UK Government backs down, admits his detention was unlawful and returns all his stuff.

    From what I understand there are a couple of other cases on this law pending judgment, but if this does go all the way, it could be a nice smack-down for the Government. Unless the courts chicken out and just blame the police.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Disgusted to be British

    Get electronics back... destroy them. They can't be trusted.

     

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  3.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Disgusted to be British

    Don't worry, I'm currently ashamed to be an American.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    Meanwhile, in the US...

    Obamacare is looming large over us and nobody seems to be fighting it anym...look! NSA scandal!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    slinklySlim, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    What?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Just a comment about how the America is so preoccupied with this NSA thing (the government spies on us? Shocking! Who'd a-thunk it?) they seem to have forgotten all about this monstrosity nicknamed Obamacare.

     

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  7.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    When I'm feeling optimistic...

    I like to think that all these shifts and machinations (such as the NSA surveillance program) are really the global society adapting to the internet and burgeoning telecommunications.

    Of course the old-paradigm powers will try to suppress or control it.

    Of course enterprises will try to find new uses for it.

    And Of course those who were used to the old tactics of intimidation and provocation (what worked, for example, during the civil rights movement) have to learn the hard way how it fails today.

    Mass communication via the internet is a powerful agent for disseminating social power away from old gatekeepers to the population. And hopefully this is an example of this effect in action.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Should say, "...about how America is so preoccupied...".

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:02pm

    Just like the actions in defending the rampant spying in the US, this is going to end badly for the UK. It's a demonstration of how little the law is regarded as being the rule book to play by.

    Notice that Putin lays out that Snowden is in the transit area and not subject to Russian laws because he isn't in Russia. Apparently they needed the hint from Putin on how to play this.

    While the UK is the actor that made the actions, this has the US's finger prints all over it.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Disgusted to be British

    Me too.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    I'm still trying to figure out what the US/UK government(s) hoped to gain here. This kind of wishy-washy thuggery only serves to keep the scandal in the public eye. From a Machiavellian perspective, it seems they have two options to maintain their power: 1) appear to acquiesce to the public, hoping to let the whole thing blow over without any real change or 2) go all in, arresting people, shutting down newspapers, drone strikes etc. The middle road they've taken furthers neither strategy--indeed, it makes it look like they don't have a strategy at all. As a citizen, I find this mildly encouraging.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

    The way I see it, the two biggest problems with America are:
    (1) The government
    (2) The people

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    slinkySlim, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Oh. Funny, I definitely would've defaulted to this NSA "scandal" as being infinitely more important than any truths, lies or perceptions on and of the state of US health care. But that's just me.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    slinkySlim, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Disgusted to be British

    Fuck that you guys. DBAP (don't be a pussy)

    Be disgusted, angry and vindictive. Save shame for getting busted for training the baby sitter.

     

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  15.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:30pm

    The tighter they squeeze the more slips from their grasp.
    They are now starting to lose the support of staunch defenders, who are starting to see the writing on the wall.

    This is the Carreon Effect, except it isn't funny this time.
    These are the people in charge, who have quadrupled down on spying at any cost on EVERYONE and are blind to how badly they have screwed it all up.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:37pm

    Did he encrypt anything?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Claire Rand, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    UK legal system

    Has a wonderful concept, the 'crown' can decide it is in the public interest to take over a private prosecution, they can then decide to present no evidence and thus the case is dropped.

    This may be a little to high profile for this, but its the sort of thing that can and has happened over here, typically when a leading member of the government is sued personally for something

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Claire Rand, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:46pm

    Re:

    Well if he did there is a chance the UK Gov could push their luck a bit and request a decrypt under Sec 3 of RIPA, and when refused lock the guy up until he complies.

    Will make it much harder for him to bring his own case, an 'unfortunate' side effect of course

     

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  19.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    America - most costly health care in the world, has an average life expectancy barely better than Mexico, which costs 1/10th of the average for Americans.

    Meanwhile, Japan, Britain, Canada all have state-run health care, which costs around the same amount as what Mexico pays per person but the life expectancy is higher.

    Hmm...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    slinkySlim, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Now *that* is something to be ashamed of.

     

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  21.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Looks like someone should have paid more attention to...
    *glasses pull*
    Miranda's Rights. Yeaaaaaaaahhh...

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    B-B-But socialism is bad! right?


    ...right? Maybe?

     

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  23.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Socialism is why the state of North Dakota was the only state that didn't get hit by the recession.

    North Dakota owns its own bank.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    38 times repeal Obamacare [ not once try to stop Obama spying ] republicans are full of shit. Stupid tards could have had Obama impeached over NSA spying. Shhhhhhh those security contractors pay the republicans too.

    not half

    Americans having overall lack of health care is bad, but NSA spying is worse.

    Same reason behind them both though... Money in politics.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 6:31pm

    I wouldn't be suprised that all his hard drives etc. have already been cloned and sent to the US so the order to destroy the data etc. will all be too late.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Unfortunately, the idea of affordable US health care is a pipe dream, since the lawmakers' election campaigns are financed in no small part by the pharmaceutical industry, which reaps absurd profits from shilling its dubiously helpful name-brand medicine. (Enough profits, apparently, to shrug off the class action lawsuits that occur after pretty much every pill they've released in the last decade or so.)

    Not to mention the health care industries themselves, whose "nonprofit" hospitals rake in ill-gotten millions overcharging their helpless patients, and collectively spend billions on lobbying to keep the cash flowing in. (If you haven't already read it, I suggest finding and reading a copy of Steven Brill's "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us".)

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 8:37pm

    It's going to be fun

    Watching someone from the Guardian (who payed for the lawyers), in the basement of GCHQ watching them destroy hard drives. Surreal !!

    what is clear from reading the legal filing, is they are REALLY, REALLY scared about the data on the computer and memory sticks. They talk about little else, they don't want ANYONE looking at it.

    Why would that be ?

    The simple answer is the data itself might confirm a crime. Even if that crime is at the very least possession of stolen property !!

    Sure, they mention abuse of process a few times, but that's a stretch, you detain on suspicion not on conviction or proof. But they want that data not to be looked at, read, or kept. That is what they are all about, the rest is clearly secondary.

    Makes you wonder why that data is so important ? I could make a guess, it's clear what that is.

    If there was no data on those computers and memory that worried them, would they go do so much effort to ensure it was destroyed ?

    If the Government seized my computers I would not really care if they imaged and backed up my hard drive, or went through it !!! as long I got it back intact and still working, why would I care ?

    I would be really pissed they had my computer, and want it back immediately, but who cares if they copy it ?

    All this is going to do is further raise the GCHQ's suspicions and harden their resolve to view what is making the Guardian so worried !!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Roland, Aug 20th, 2013 @ 9:17pm

    what's in those files?

    So he had some files on a laptop, memory stix, etc. and they got the files and forced him to give him the passwords. What did they get? Did Greenwald use him as a data mule? I can't believe he would be that dumb. So they got nothing, except bad publicity, and maybe a personal address book? Stuff they must already have. Maybe they got a heads-up as to what's to come. Lotta good that will do them. Anything the UK/US govts. say at this point will be dismissed. This whole thing just seems stupid.

     

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  29.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 9:54pm

    Re: what's in those files?

    I would be laughing my ass off if the contents on the flash drive was nothing more than a heavily encrypted file, artificially expanded in size, with nothing more than 'Thank you for confirming my suspicions as to your likely response, expect your own dirty actions to hit the papers soon' typed out on the first page.

     

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  30.  
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    bgmcb (profile), Aug 20th, 2013 @ 11:08pm

    Messing with a tiger

    I get a picture of someone using a laser pointer to play with a tiger. A whole bunch of fun until the tiger figures it out.

    Its one thing to play in fair game but how do you plan when the other side has no rules?

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 12:46am

    Re:

    Why split up a problem? The problem is the general populace. They haven't been vigilant, they have been complacent, and they have been found wanting by the standards of the nation's founding.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 2:16am

    the UK is doing exactly the same as the US. doing whatever it wants, regardless of not having the authority or the evidence to do so, then worrying about the consequences afterwards. to then put the onus on to the people who condemn this action and condone what Snowden did and is being reported by some, is typical of a government that knows it's wrong and is shit scared of other stuff coming out into the open about what they have been doing! the UK is nothing other than a mini-me, a clone of the USA, but smaller. it is going to lead it's people down the same path to destruction that the US is doing it's people

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Peter, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 2:33am

    sad

    Its almost as if people still think that schedule 7 anti—Terrorism powers have anything to do with terrorism.

     

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  34.  
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    Postulator (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 2:48am

    Given that the UK has made clear it didn't consider Miranda a terrorist, he should find the court proceedings plain sailing. Using terrorism legislation as a tool of intimidation is very good reason for getting rid of said legislation.

    The real question is: what are the UK politicians saying about this case? Where are the politicians denouncing the government's actions? Are there bills in the House of Commons to fix this legislation yet?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 3:17am

    Re:

    1 is the pussy way and 2 is the cautious way. The true Machiavellian way would be seizing assests and publically execute the traitors. Public execution is something people can really get behind!

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Shon Gale, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:20am

    Nothing will happen at all. You are living in LaLaLand if you think you can stop the British Government. They are dogs just like the Chinese and just like America there is no freedom. Court or not means nothing. The damage has already been done and there is no restitution.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Socialism is when most of the means of production are owned and controlled by the state and private enterprise is frowned upon.

    The welfare state is necessary to knock the rough edges off capitalism, particularly when there aren't enough jobs to go around and resources are concentrated in the hands of a few rich people.

    Both capitalism and Socialism have their problems; basically, a mixed economy with a strong social safety net produces the best results.

    And by "Safety net" I mean "last resort," not "first port of call and an invitation to a life of lazy self-indulgence at the people's expense."

    I don't understand why so few people realise this. It's as if fantasy has supplanted common sense and experience as a guide to thinking politically.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    It doesn't help that they're adept at encouraging folks on the right to vote against their own interests in case "the undeserving poor" receive treatment at taxpayers' expense.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:21am

    Re: Full letter before action

    What arrogance to think that walking around with illegally obtained top secret government files on one's person, a person with absolutely no authority to possess such data, and crying the blues all the way to a lawyer's office, then filing suit because the authorities detained and confiscated the storage device(s) is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:22am

    Re: Full letter before action

    What arrogance to think that walking around with illegally obtained top secret government files on one's person, a person with absolutely no authority to possess such data, and crying the blues all the way to a lawyer's office, then filing suit because the authorities detained and confiscated the storage device(s) is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Re: Full letter before action

    What arrogance to think that walking around with illegally obtained top secret government files on one's person, a person with absolutely no authority to possess such data, and crying the blues all the way to a lawyer's office, then filing suit because the authorities detained and confiscated the storage device(s) is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:30am

    What does anyone expect?

    What arrogance to think that walking around with illegally obtained top secret government files on one's person, a person with absolutely no authority to possess such data, and crying the blues all the way to a lawyer's office, then filing suit because the authorities detained and confiscated the storage device(s) is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Complicit Censorship

    For techdirt to hold back the comment below is to be complicit with the chaos in this world and to be an accomplice to the very act of censorship it most vehemently declares to be against.

    What arrogance to think that walking around with illegally obtained top secret government files on one's person, a person with absolutely no authority to possess such data, and crying the blues all the way to a lawyer's office, then filing suit because the authorities detained and confiscated the storage device(s) is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    realist, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 10:32am

    If you think that Amerika's social safety net provides "a life of lazy self-indulgence at the people's expense," I got nothing for you because you are delusional.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    flabbergasted, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 10:34am

    moderation

    When did this start? all I said was a body is delusional if they think america provides an adequate social safety net.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    stumped, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 10:35am

    really?

    This is so wrong. Why have you gone this way mike?

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 10:37am

    I can't even post "hi" without going into moderation. I have been posting on this sight for a long time and this has never happened. I do not incite violence or raise straw men. I am quite disturbed by this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    And obamacare is poised to make health care here much more expensive for many: mostly the young and healthy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    Obamacare isn't socialism it's a giant government hand-out to insurance companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile, in the US...

    On the contrary, a mixed economy is a breeding ground for cronyism which should be more than obvious based on the current state of affairs in the US.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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