Repeal All UK Terrorism Laws, Says UK Government Adviser On Terrorism Laws

from the outbreak-of-sanity dept

It's become a depressingly predictable spectacle over the years, as politicians, law enforcement officials and spy chiefs take turns to warn about the threat of "going dark", and to call for yet more tough new laws, regardless of the fact that they won't help. So it comes as something of shock to read that the UK government's own adviser on terrorism laws has just said the following in an interview:

The Government should consider abolishing all anti-terror laws as they are "unnecessary" in the fight against extremists, the barrister tasked with reviewing Britain’s terrorism legislation has said.

the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, argued potential jihadis can be stopped with existing "general" laws that are not always being used effectively to take threats off the streets.

As the Independent reported, the UK government's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Max Hill, went on:

"We should not legislate in haste, we should not use the mantra of 'something has to be done' as an excuse for creating new laws," he added. “We should make use of what we have."

Aside from the astonishingly sensible nature of Hill's comments, the interview is also worth reading for the insight it provides into the changing nature of terrorism, at least in Europe:

Mr Hill noted that some of the perpetrators of the four recent terror attacks to hit the UK were previously "operating at a low level of criminality", adding: "I think that people like that should be stopped wherever possible, indicted using whatever legislation, and brought to court."

This emerging "crime-terror nexus" is one reason why anti-terrorism laws are unnecessary. Instead, non-terrorism legislation could be used to tackle what Hill termed "precursor criminality" -- general criminal activity committed by individuals who could be stopped and prosecuted before they move into terrorism. Similarly, it would be possible to use laws against murder and making explosive devices to hand down sentences for terrorists, made harsher to reflect the seriousness of the crimes.

Even though Hill himself doubts that the UK's terrorism laws will be repealed any time soon, his views are still important. Taken in conjunction with the former head of GCHQ saying recently that end-to-end encryption shouldn't be weakened, they form a more rational counterpoint to the ill-informed calls for more laws and less crypto.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:35am

    Similar comments have been made here

    The use of existing laws here in Australia instead of new terrorism laws would have handled all such cases brought under the new laws.

    But as been observed here and in the UK, the politicians are terrified little children. None of them have any courage whatsoever. Their entire actions show that they have submitted totally to the "terrorist" and the "terrorist" has won.

    No wonder we now see little tinpot dictators shoving major countries around. They know they can get away with it because the leaders of the major countries are terrified little dears who haven't a single vertebrae amongst them.

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

    • identicon
      j3l-04k4H44je4, 25 Aug 2017 @ 4:50am

      Re: Similar comments have been made here

      They're not afraid of terrorism. They're afraid of us.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re: Similar comments have been made here

        EXACTLY!

        Terrorism is the excuse to sucker the idiot citizens into giving up their liberty and privacy so that they can be better oppressed.

        We march like lambs to the slaughter!

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

    • identicon
      RR, 25 Aug 2017 @ 6:05am

      Re: Similar comments have been made here

      >> politicians are terrified little children. None of them
      >> have any courage whatsoever.

      I suspect this is more about 'know your audience'. They are experts at creating outrage and fear, and then farming it for votes. Voters are getting exactly what they demand - ACTION!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Re: Similar comments have been made here

        Fear and terror sell the news and when you are in bed with the MSM who always come out and complain that the government is soft of crime/terror/immigrants/drugs etc you will always do what you are told. Otherwise you may lose the next election to the opposition who are shouting out that they are the strongmen who will keep the people safe from the latest moral panic or made-up problem/crisis.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 5:38pm

      Re: Similar comments have been made here

      To those who replied, please read the original comment more carefully. I did not they were afraid of terrorism, I said they were terrified little children. They run where none pursue them and in like manner to little children afraid, they make up stories to give life to that fear and spread those stories so that they are not alone in that fear.

      So what or who is the "terrorist"? It is that of which they are afraid and run in fear from. I don't care if it is the citizens who with careful thought would remove them from power, or the foreign governments to which they have given up the national sovereignty or to the corporations both national and foreign that have bought them or the the tin-pot creepy person who threatens disaster for them. They have no backbone, they have no courage.

      Their fear is a blight upon the nations and infects those who won't, will not or cannot think past the bogeyman. They are afraid of the bogeyman and so in turn become the bogeyman themselves.

      Everything they do is in fear and so in fire will our nations go. The laughable thing is that it doesn't matter what political stance they take, they all quake in their jackboots, shoes and high heels.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 5:07am

    So it will be promptly ignored and the spectacle will move on regardless of the fact that what's being done to stop terrorism is very ineffective at best. Because it's not about terrorism anymore.

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

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 6:42am

    Mr Hill got it wrong

    The laws are not intended to fight terrorism. The are the basis for keeping down anybody the authorities have issues with. Whistleblowers for example, or people asking inconvenient questions. Their actions are perfectly legal, so terrorism laws are the only way to shut them up

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

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 6:52am

    You'd think that those mainstream critics of "government overreach" in every country would resist the pandering effort to create giant slag heaps of empty, duplicative laws drawn from the topical headlines of the moment... but you'd be wrong. Because writing your own law named for Jennifer, Julie or Jasmine looks good on a campaign flyer.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:44pm

      Re:

      This is PRECISELY why it occurs - they have to be SEEN DOING SOMETHING, which means making a new law, no matter how stupid, rather than using existing laws. And when it occurs again (and it will since people didn't follow the original law, so what makes you think they'll obey the SAME law written a different way), they'll do it again since they still need to be SEEN DOING SOMETHING.

      That phrase really sticks in my craw... any politician (or government official in general) to ever utter those words (or any reasonably similar facsimile) should be IMMEDIATELY arrested and every decision they've ever made scrutinized under a microscope.

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

  • identicon
    Max, 25 Aug 2017 @ 8:14am

    Okay, this is way to sensible, I'm clearly still dreaming. Don't mind me, I'll just sit here quietly waiting for the unicorns to appear...

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

  • identicon
    peter, 25 Aug 2017 @ 9:17am

    Does not matter, they are here to stay.

    These anti-terrorism laws are not there because a special law was needed to deal with the special circumstances of terrorism. They are there because there was a failure to use existing laws and politicians needed to divert blame and to be "seen to do something(TM)".

    And they will never get removed no matter how many other laws exist to do the same thing, because no politician will want to be accused of being "the terrorist's friend (TM)".

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 6:00pm

      Re: Does not matter, they are here to stay.

      A sign of the darkness of fear in the hearts of those who are supposed to lead.

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

  • icon
    stderric (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 9:43am

    We should not legislate in haste, we should not use the mantra of 'something has to be done' as an excuse for creating new laws

    I believe "it comes as something of shock" is just about the most culturally context-appropriate choice of words I've seen in quite a while.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.