Once again, the government is talking about increasing the time suspects can be held without charge, from 28 days to ’50 ish’. And, once again, they’re not bothering to make a case as to why such a massive infringement in right should be allowed.
The 28-day limit on holding terror suspects without charge is likely to be doubled by the government.
Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said the government wanted to extend the limit, “probably” to 56 days.
Security Minister Lord West said “about 50″ was the figure being talked about – but said safeguards would have to be in place to win over critics.
Lock, twunt features, ‘safeguards’ will not win over any critics unless they’re told why it’s necessary. What further information can be obtained in two months that cannot be obtained in one?
One semi-plausible reason that I’ve heard mentioned was about computer encryption and the like, where time and resources could be necessary. But if the situation is exceptional enough to detain a person without trial for two months, then surely it’s exceptional enough to cancel a few leaves and spend a few quid to get the job done.
The smacking-down that was administered to the government over their original increase in the detention-without-trial period from 14 days was one of the few things that pleased me about parliamentary process over the last decade… I don’t want to see that good work being undone, without so much as an explanation and for no apparent reason.
Just on the note of computer encryption and the breaking thereoff by law enforcement people – i am reliably informed by another person who like me cannot watch CSI due to the “science” that due to constraints put on the “Law” to provide forensically sound evidence, they do not actually work from the confiscated hard drive. Instead they take a proper full on copy of it – not a ctrl+c copy but an actual physical copy of it and so depending on the size of the disk this can take a few days up to well over a week – the machine only gots one speed! This means that nothing can be done – well apart from Possibly a few games of a generic online multiplayer game until that process ends – then the investigation starts on the actual data – and so given the widely available consumer encryption products that exist today it can take some time to get anywhere – unless you have a helluva a lot of processing power! and a funky algorithm with green text! and and and…
So say, worst case, a fortnight for a copy of the disk (or multiple copies) to be available, followed by a week to deploy the finest of GCHQ processing power to break encryption. Still leaves a week to check the data; if it’s serious enough to hold someone without trial, it’s serious to devote masses of analytical manpower to the problem.
I still think that that’s more than enough time to decide if there’s enough evidence to charge someone; it doesn’t need to be enough to convict them.