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Comment Re:Extradition from Sweden is easier (Score 1) 377

I think the person who wrote that page may have been a little confused. If you read a bit further down they copy the relevant part of the US-Sweden supplemental treaty:

If the extradition request is granted in the case of a person who is being prosecuted or is serving a sentence in the territory of the requested State for a different offense, the requested State may:

b) temporarily surrender the person sought to the requesting State for the purpose of prosecution. The person so surrendered shall be kept in custody while in the requesting State and shall be returned to the requested State after the conclusion of the proceedings against that person in accordance with conditions to be determined by mutual agreement of the Contracting States.

That's the temporary surrender procedure - but if you note the first 6 words, it only apples after the normal extradition process has been successful; it is for situations where extradition is approved by the suspect is already on trial or in prison in the extraditing state. So it still has to go through the traditional tests and so on.

Anyone asserting that extradition from Sweden to the US would almost certainly happen should be treated with scepticism, as there is little evidence to support this either way - until there is evidence that the US is actually charging Assange with anything. What we can be pretty certain of is that he will get his full due process in Sweden, then the UK, then the ECtHR, before he ends up in the US.

Comment Re:He will (Score 2) 377

The thing is, Sweden have a proven history of being active in extraordinary renditions---sending people to be tortured by the CIA---and the Swedish authorities refused to confirm that he wouldn't be bundled straight off to the US.

And the UK has also been implicated in the extraordinary rendition stuff. And there was a big scandal about it in Sweden (over the 2 people who were subject to it), and a big international investigation, and chances are that some people in Sweden would have got in a lot of trouble had the responsible minister not been assassinated. The European community in general is somewhat ashamed of its involvement in the US's extraordinary rendition operations, and has taken steps to prevent further breaches of law.

The two renditions happened in 2001, over a decade ago, and since then Sweden has significantly changed its rules on renditions (causing something of a diplomatic incident with the US in 2006). The fact that Sweden was proven to have been involved, and came out and put a stop to it arguably makes them safer than other places which haven't put the same sort of restrictions in place.

As for not confirming that they wouldn't bundle him off... iirc what they didn't do was say that they would refuse extradition (which is perfectly fair), rather than saying they wouldn't bundle him off (which would be illegal anyway).

Comment Re:or stop hiding... (Score 1) 377

The problem is that the guy in that video apparently hasn't read the actual treaty. Nor, it seems, have the people who wrote this page on Justice4Assange which has the video embedded and even quotes the relevant passage of the treaty.

VI. If the extradition request is granted in the case of a person who is being prosecuted or is serving a sentence in the territory of the requested State for a different offense, the requested State may:

b) temporarily surrender the person sought to the requesting State for the purpose of prosecution. The person so surrendered shall be kept in custody while in the requesting State and shall be returned to the requested State after the conclusion of the proceedings against that person in accordance with conditions to be determined by mutual agreement of the Contracting States. [emphasis added]

Yes, there is a temporary surrender provision, but it only applies if the extradition has already been approved, i.e. if the Swedish (and English, and European) courts have approved it.

Comment Re:or stop hiding... (Score 1) 377

For the US to extradite him from Sweden they'd also need permission of the UK (under the EU Surrender/Extradition Framework). Which means the case would first have to go through the Swedish courts, then the English courts, maybe the CJEU and probably the ECtHR.

In contrast, extraditing him from the UK would require just the English courts and ECtHR - so would be significantly easier.

Comment Re:or stop hiding... (Score 1) 377

According to the English High Court, the rape allegation comes from him having sex with someone while she was asleep - the non-use of a condom being an aggravating factor.

The not-using-a-condom is a separate offence of sexual molestation, with the other woman. He's also accused of a second count of sexual molestation against her (for rubbing himself against her, against her will) and one of unlawful coercion for using force against her.

And yes, from my understanding of Swedish law, they do have different degrees of "rape", and even if they don't, they will almost certainly have different levels of sentence.

Comment Re:or stop hiding... (Score 5, Informative) 377

It seems that every time Assange comes up I have to paste this, so here goes. From the English High Court judgment, he is accused of 4 offences, as follows:

1. Unlawful coercion

        On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm. Assange, by using violence. forced the injured party to endure his restricting her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party's arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body weight preventing her from moving or shifting.

2. Sexual molestation

        On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.

3. Sexual molestation

        On 18 August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that date, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.

4. Rape

        On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep. was in a helpless state.

        It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange. who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used. still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party's sexual integrity."

So what he is is alleged to have done (whether or not he did so) is definitely rape under both Swedish and English law.

Comment Re:or stop hiding... (Score 2) 377

The UK - US do not have a bilateral agreement to hand over an individual without a court case...

Nor does Sweden. The suggestion that Sweden had such an agreement came from a misreading of their extradition treaty; the same term appears in the UK law and is about extraditing people temporarily after the extradition has been approved.

Comment Re:Not nonsense (Score 1) 364

This isn't a political group. It is a group of law enforcement + technical experts. Their programme says that they are looking into the technical aspects, starting from the assumption that it isn't technically feasible, and seeing if they can think of a way of doing it.

Once they've done that, they'll report back to the politicians (well, the civil servants first) to say whether or not it can be done proportionately, and then it becomes a political issue if their answer is that it can be done, and those in charge still want to look into it.

Comment Re:Not nonsense (Score 1) 364

I don't think the group is in a position to actually come up with any actual technology; just theories. They're starting from a point of "there is no way of doing this," not "there is nothing on the market that we could use", so they are being asked to come up with concepts, and asses their feasibility. I think, based on that, the other stuff I've read about ENLETS and the BBC's version of the story.

Even if the 8 of them did somehow invent a major piece of technology and be able to build it, that wouldn't be that different from any random inventors coming up with it, aside from the fact that they are being funded partly by the EU budget. And I don't see a problem with people seeing if this is possible, or could work. The decision as to whether it should be used or mandated is for the elected politicians and so on, not the technical experts.

Comment Mostly nonsense (Score 4, Informative) 364

This story is mostly nonsense.

There's a thing called ENLETS (or European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services), which is meant to be "the leading European platform that strengthens police cooperation and bridges the gap between the users and providers of law enforcement technology." From what I can tell it is a sort of advisory committee of law enforcement technology experts, working through Europol, who brainstorm how to use technology to help law enforcement stuff. Currently it gets about €600k in funding, mostly from the EU, some from the UK and the Netherlands. They're asking for that to be increased to €915k. Most of that seems to be in hiring some new full-time advisers; from their personnel costs, they want about 8 people working full time; a leader, a policy officer, and admin person and 5 senior advisers. So if they don't get their budget increase, there's a good chance none of this stuff will happen.

This article is based on a "secret" document (which I think is this one), which is a (draft?) work programme for the group for 2014-2020; so what they're supposed to be looking at.

This document stems from a recommendation by the Council of the European Union that ENLETS look into this kind of thing - the instructions etc. can be found here (or if that doesn't work, search for document 12103/13 on their search page). They asked ENLETS to monitor and coordinate the development of new technologies.

The actual "secret" document is listed on the Council's website (do a search for 17365/13) as "Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) 2014 - 2020 - Work programme", but the document itself isn't accessible. I don't know whether that's because it's such a minor report (and not really an official EU thing) that they haven't bothered uploading it, or if they are claiming it should be withheld; I'm tempted to make a formal request for it to see what they say.

The five short-term goals they have been asked to look at are in some places a bit scary:

  1. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) - ANPR is well established in many MS. In 2013/14 ENLETS will support those MS who feel the need to enhance their capabilities by sharing best practices. The ANPR systems will be measured by its maturity, capabilities and their deployment.
  2. Open Source Intelligence - Open source intelligence is a prioritized topic due to the evolving internet and wireless communication systems. For law enforcement it is a source of information as well as a method of communication. Open source intelligence relates to frontline policing (events, crowd control) and criminal investigations (search for evidence, monitoring and surveillance). In this project the handling of open sources will be assessed and ranked.
  3. Signal Intelligence - Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) deploy many kinds of sensors, mostly connected to their IT systems. The sensors need to enhance the operational capability of the LEAs, but often the integration of these sensors and IT systems cause technological problems. Frequently sensor data cannot be integrated, stored or displayed due to the design, protocols and construction of IT systems. What kind of signal intelligence is the most operationally effective and open for integrating the sensors in the EU? What kind of concept will be needed as ever more data is forwarded for processing and more information needs to be analysed?
  4. Surveillance - Surveillance uses many types of technology. In this topic focus will be on sharing the best video systems (quality, performance in several scenarios). The purpose of this topic is to match the best standards in video used by the industry to the end user requirements. Privacy enhanced technology and transparency are key issues.
  5. Remote Stopping Vehicles - Cars on the run have proven to be dangerous for citizens. Criminal offenders (from robbery to a simple theft) will take risks to escape after a crime. In most cases the police are unable to chase the criminal due to the lack of efficient means to stop the vehicle safely. This project starts with the knowledge that insufficient technology tools are available to be used as part of a proportionate response. This project will work on a technological solution that can be a “build in standard” for all cars that enter the European market.

To me, 2 looks a bit worrying, but the rest seem to be about finding the most efficient way of doing what is already done, and getting different EU organisations using similar standards. The 5th, which is the one that has caused all this fuss, seems the most theoretical; noting that there is no way of doing this sensibly, so seeing if they can think of a way. Actually coming up with something, and convincing the politicians and parliamentarians to implement it will take quite a while.

So, "EU Secretly Plans to put a back door in every car by 2020" is pretty much nonsense; an advisory committee of a thing that sometimes works for the EU has been asked by a bit of the EU to look into technological solutions for law enforcement issues, and as one of their agenda items, had decided to see if there is a way to achieve this in a proportionate and practical way.

I have a feeling that it is "secret" in the sense that the Telegraph has only just found out about it, and has decided it is a great way of generating outrage at the EU. Like their nonsense story about EU plans to put GPS speed limiters in all cars, or the Daily Mails story about the EU planning a "soviet-style brainwashing" education campaign for children.

Comment Re:This is clearly against E.U. Human Rights (Score 1) 374

This goes directly against prior decisions by the European Court of Human Rights. There is very clear and unambiguous legal precedent, that a person under criminal investigation need not bear witness against himself.

As usual, the truth is more complicated, and the legal situation isn't clear and unambiguous.

This law has been in force for over a decade, and there have been a few convictions using this law, and a couple of appeals. The quote from Marttinen v Finland is lifted almost straight from Saunders v UK , where there was similarly a breach of Article 6 through the use of self-incrimination. However, as the Court notes in paragraph 69 of Marttinen, "not all coercive measures give rise to the conclusion of an unjustified interference with the right not to incriminate oneself," again referring back to Saunders.

The issue of whether this law is an unjustified interference with the privilege against self-incrimination (either under English common law, or Article 6 of the ECHR) was discussed by the English Court of Appeal in R v S & Anor back in 2008. The Court found that this law didn't necessarily engage the privilege against self-incrimination (applying both UK law and Saunders), arguing that the passwords existed independent of the defendants' wills; "The actual answers [given by the defendants; i.e. the passwords], that is to say the product of the appellants' minds could not, of themselves, be incriminating. The keys themselves simply open the locked drawer, revealing its contents."

The Court's position seems to be that the passwords themselves aren't incriminating, it is the material on the computers that is. Therefore divulging the password isn't necessarily self-incrimination. However, the Court did note that it could be that the defendant's knowledge of the passwords could be incriminating (e.g. if the prosecution needed to use it to prove that the defendant had created etc. the encrypted files) - in such a case then the defendant's knowledge of the password wouldn't be admissible as evidence, protecting the privilege against self-incrimination. Similarly, if there was an issue with disclosing the password being incriminating for another reason, other evidence could be declared inadmissible. The privilege against self-incrimination doesn't mean you can't be made to tell the police stuff, but that self-incriminating stuff coerced out of you can't (always) be used against you in a criminal trial.

The Court then went on to discuss whether, even if the privilege was engaged, the law was a "proportionate and permissible" interference with it - and they found that it was, due to the limits on it, what it achieved and the various procedural safeguards in place.

I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced by the argument, or the analogy with the key to a locked draw, or a blood sample to show blood alcohol levels, but I think it is far from clear that this law breaks Article 6. It would, however, be useful to get clarification from the ECtHR either way.

Comment Re:I'll be in trouble (Score 1) 374

Unless the prosecution can convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that you haven't forgotten the passwords, they can't convict you.

Similarly, if you filled a device with random data, they'd have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it contained the information they were after. If you could stand up in court and say it was random data, maybe with something to back you up (you could probably use this post?), you would probably be fine.

If not, the maximum sentence is 2 years, or 5 years if the matter relates to national security or possession or distribution of indecent photographs of children (although, interestingly, not in cases of actual child abuse). That's if it goes to a jury. On summary conviction the maximum is 6 months.

Which isn't to say you wouldn't face months if not years pre-trial, under investigation, with expensive and draconian bail conditions, unable to do much, with your life being destroyed, plus have to face the massive legal fees required to defend yourself... but that's the UK criminal justice system for you.

Comment Re:Good news !! GCHQ couldnt crack the password (Score 1) 374

If that were really the case no-one would ever be convicted of this offence. How can you prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone remembers something?

I can't speak for this specific case (the parent has more information than I do), but in one of the few other cases of this law being used (one that got appealed on the grounds of it breaching the privilege against self-incrimination), I think the prosecution were able to show that the defendant was at his computer, in the process of entering the password when the police turned up to arrest him. That may have been enough to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that he knew the password.

I think that in at least some of the other cases (there aren't many), there have been defendants making it clear that they refused to disclose the password on principle. In others it may be possible to show that the defendant accessed the data (and therefore used the password) shortly before the order for disclosure was issued. Basically it comes down to being able to convince a jury beyond reasonably doubt that the defendant knew the password.

He claims he forgot and then later remembered it.

And it seems the court didn't believe him... which they do. And I imagine they have far more relevant facts than we do.

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