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UK Hackers Face Antisocial Behaviour Orders 444

ukhackster writes "The UK government has proposed that suspected cybercriminals could be banned from the Internet or have their PCs seized, even if they've not been convicted. These so-called Asbos have typically been used against teenage hoodlums or small-time crooks, but now they're gunning for organised criminals." From the article: "Asbos give the courts almost unlimited powers when imposing conditions on the person receiving the order. Under the Home Office proposals, the courts would have almost unlimited discretion to impose the order if they believe it probable that a suspect had 'acted in a way which facilitated or was likely to facilitate the commissioning of serious crime.' In a civil court, hearsay is admissible evidence, and the burden of proof is lighter than criminal courts."
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UK Hackers Face Antisocial Behaviour Orders

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  • by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:36AM (#15736874) Homepage Journal
    This seems like one of those policies with unlimited potential for abuse. Sometimes such policies work and sometimes they become draconian measures. It all depends on the restraint of those who apply the law. TFA suggests that this law is bound to be abused on a large scale basis to perform an end-run around the established legal system. It will be interesting to see how this is applied and to whom.
  • Re:Tough call... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:39AM (#15736904) Homepage Journal
    "How do you tell and convicted hacker, also a programmer, that he can't use a computer?"

    Ask Kevin Mitnick.

  • Re:Unbelieveable (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:39AM (#15736913)

    Perhaps if you are comparing this to crimes where people get sent to jail, yes. But nobody is going to jail here, the comparison isn't appropriate. For instance, you don't have to get somebody convicted to get a restraining order against them either, but nobody complains about their civil rights being infringed there, do they? Think of ASBOs as restraining orders on behalf of the community. They aren't great, but they aren't the catastrophe you immediately assume.

  • by s13g3 ( 110658 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:46AM (#15736975) Journal
    It all depends on the restraint of those who apply the law.

    You expect RESTRAINT from judges?

    I for one welcome our new totalitarian legal dictator overlords...

    Oh wait, they aren't new... *%^^*%$&^%$!!!
  • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:15PM (#15737263) Journal
    Everyone here is missing the point. Asbos work and they work well, they're not abused yet and have mostly been used on complete assholes.

    I'll give you an example, the village I grew up in got a new set of slides and swings in the park. Within a week the place was full of graffiti ("LOL COCK" type of things) and most the new equipment was trashed. No kids went there because you'd always find 15-20 year olds drunk and doing drugs. These would be the sort of people who get an Asbo, they're told to stay the hell out of the park and if they go into them they will have commited a crime.

    Plus lets me honest here, the UK police force right now has bigger issues. They shot a guy in the head 8 times for "being a terrorist", when he was totally innocent and now they're getting done on Healthy and safety instead of murder charges they deserve. I'd say forget Asbos and start to worry about the big shit they are throwing around right now. I think I'd rather lose my PC in this country than get 8 holes in the head..
  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by purple_cobra ( 848685 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:32PM (#15737457)
    ASBOs are imposed for 'unreasonable' behaviour, so repeated infringements are unlikely to result in anything more than one of those ridiculous tags...
    The ASBO legislation is hideous, seemingly designed to be a catch-all method for criminalisation of any given behaviour. e.g. wearing a particular type of hat/clothing, using any language more explicit than 'darn', etc. The original idea had some merit but, as ever with Blair's government, it was perverted into a tool to criminalise the wrong sort of people; ATM this is people wearing hooded sweatshirts and, in general, anyone under the age of 40.
    Cynical? You're damn right. Every time Blair and Reid use the word 'respect' - which, incidentally, makes them sound like Tim Westwood's dad - I have to suppress the urge to vomit. I have no respect for the corrupt and morally-bankrupt shower of slurry we call our government, and I find it laughable that they presume they could possibly earn that respect.
  • by DeanFox ( 729620 ) * <> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:54PM (#15737671)

    We have the same thing here in the USA but it goes by different names. The most obvious is a Restraining Order.

    Not identical but very similar to an ASBO, Judges impose the same restrictions as ASBOs all the time in Juvenile Courts with what they call delayed charges. It's akin to blackmail. The way they work here is if the DA figures he has evidence to charge someone with a crime, he can delay making those charges if X, Y or Z conditions are met.

    I've seen a Juvenile Court Judge delay a theft charge so long as the Juvenile didn't associate with several of his friends, didn't go to a certain home, was home by 10pm, etc. The charges would be delayed and dropped if the Juvenile obeyed the conditions. If not, the charges would be made and the Juvenile would have to answer for them.

    The difference is in order to get to the point of having ASBO type of conditions placed upon you, there needs to be enough evidence of a crime that would allow a DA to hold the charges over your head. Some say that's a big difference, and others call it a fine line.

    That's our protection, I suppose, that the State has to jump through a few more hoops to get the equivalent of an ASBO here in the USA but they do happen. And, at least in Juvenile Court they happen all the time.
  • by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:00PM (#15737721) Homepage Journal
    IIRC, mental illness can only be used to forcibly restrain someone under the following conditions:
    1) a competent medical/psychiatric professional declares someone to have a mental ilness;
    2) that person be judged by competent professionals to be a danger to themself or others.

    This is for the long term. A police officer may temporarily detain someone to determine their mental health and their danger, but if a mental health professional says they are mentally stable OR not a threat to themself or others, then there is no grounds for continued restraint. This advice must be sought immediately--not days or weeks down the road, but within a few hours (overnight at worst).

    I am not a medical doctor, nor a lawyer, but i do know more than a little about this topic: I worked for about 1 year as a Mental Health Assistant in a long-term mental health care facility, and I am pursuing a degree in non-clinical psychology (that year convinced me that it wasn't much fun to work with mentally unstable folks every day--the patients weren't too bad though). I feel bad for you if an officer has abused this law, and I hope everything works out.

    FWIW, you should get yourself a lawyer--even if it is only a court-appointed guy. He has to help you, and you can force that by asking endless questions. Eventually he'll tell you what you need to know even if he turns out to be a jerk. Best case scenario you actually get a good public defender. They are, from what I've heard, something of a rare thing, but they do exist.
  • being arrested for a felony should cause a second look when getting top clearance, Why the hell were you arrested in the first place, what was going on that you were a suspect. Those are valid questions when attempting to get a high level of clearance.

    Call me an idealist, but if you're found innocent of a crime, that should be about it. Now yeah, the person may have covered it up well, but you're being subject to double jeopardy. I certainly understand concerns, but being arrested because my NAME is the same as a criminal may stop me from getting a clearance later is something of concern.

    But my personal beliefs go further - like once your pennance to society is paid, you should be fully reinstated as a member of said society. Not being allowed to vote if you've ever been convicted of a felony, etc., is bullshit in my book. Either there is a debt to society that you can pay, or your crime is so great that there is no repayment (life w/o parole / death penalty) but these "in betweens" where once a criminal, always kinda sucks. Even if the evidence points to that trend...

  • Re:A few points (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eipgam ( 945201 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:35PM (#15739422)
    These civil orders are the Government's attempts to address the fact that the UK is pretty useless at prosecuting fraud (a large number of newly proposed powers to tackle serious organised crime actually relate to money laundering). I read a newspaper article the other day discussing how the US is much more aggressive at dealing with fraud (think "Natwest Three" being led into court wearing shackles) and how this needs to be fundamentally addressed in the UK. I agree with your fundamental point about prosecution as opposed to civil orders, but unfortunately the current UK government doesn't like to sit down and write well thought-out legislation. Rather, it prefers knee-jerk reactions.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard