Kent police appear to have arrested a man in connection with comments made on alternative news service Indymedia – despite neither making the comments nor administering them.
The Register reports he was arrested
“under sections 44-46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, which came into force on October 1 last year. The relevant sections criminalise “intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence”, “encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed” and “encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed”.
“A spokeswoman for Kent Police confirmed the man was arrested on “suspicion of incitement” under the Serious Crime Act.”
The comments included the personal details of a judge – but were deleted by Indymedia administrators “soon after” they were published.
Indymedia’s report on the arrest points out: “Section 44-46 of the Serious Crime Act [was passed] to combat serious international crime like drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering and armed robbery.”
The Register understands that
“the man arrested was not responsible for either of the comments and is not an Indymedia activist or administrator. Rather the server was hosted by UK Grid under a contract in his name, along with several others on behalf of unrelated clients.”
After being questioned for 8 hours, he has since been released on bail.
“Indymedia has a long-standing policy of not retaining IP address logs to preserve anonymity, and the hard drive of the server taken from UK Grid was encrypted, as were the drives taken from the man’s home. It’s understood police did not use Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) powers to demand he turn over any encryption keys.
“Refusing to provide encryption keys is an offence under section 49 of RIPA and carries a prison sentence of up to five years.”
This is the sort of case the NUJ should be taking up as it attempts to reshape itself for the 21st century – but will they?
Thanks to Ulla for the tip off