PhoenixFire

Immunicity Returns

On the 2nd of October the Government Intellectual Property Office and the City of London Police PIPCU posted to twitter about how they’d diverted 11 million views from ‘pirate’ websites since July 2014.

Unfortunately there’s a slight problem with their claim; some of the seized domains, such as immunicity.org, have been under the control of Brass Horn Communications for several months now, hundreds of thousands of those supposed diverts have actually been seeing the following page;

divert

Domain seizures are censorship and as we all know; the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

Hopefully PIPCU will concentrate on people actually committing crimes rather than those who are just routing packets.

Legislation_gov_uk_logo

The Laws PIPCU used to intimidate Immunicity

Following the announcement of the City of London Police’s arrest of the operator of Immunicity.co.uk I issued a Freedom of Information request to ascertain which laws were used.

Yesterday I received a reply;

Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Llewellyn,

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REF:  COL/14/672

I write in connection with your request for information dated 21 August 2014 in which you seek access to the following information:

I’d like to know what specific laws were broken by the person who was running immunicity.org and what powers the City of London Police used to arrest the person in question.

Running an “umbrella” website, running a Tor relay or just generally maintaining a Cisco router that routes packets is not a crime so I’m at a loss as to what grounds the City of London Police had.

 

The male was arrested on suspicion of committing the following offences;

Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence contrary to section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007

Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud contrary to section 6 of the Fraud Act 2006

Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds contrary to section 7 of the Fraud Act 2006

Money Laundering contrary to section 327 & 329 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

 

Should you have any further questions regarding your request, please contact me via e-mail, letter or telephone, quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Katy Grunblat

Senior Information Access Officer
Intelligence and Information Directorate
City of London Police | 182 Bishopsgate | London EC2M 4NP
T+44 20 7601 2287F+44 20 7601 2088
Email: Kathryn.Grunblat@city-of-london.pnn.police.uk

Katy Grunblat – Senior Information Access Officer

The laws in question can be found on legislation.gov.uk but are copied below for convenience;

Serious Crime Act 2007

44 Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence; and

(b) he intends to encourage or assist its commission.

(2) But he is not to be taken to have intended to encourage or assist the commission of an offence merely because such encouragement or assistance was a foreseeable consequence of his act.

Fraud Act 2006

7 Making or supplying articles for use in frauds

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he makes, adapts, supplies or offers to supply any article—

(a) knowing that it is designed or adapted for use in the course of or in connection with fraud, or

(b) intending it to be used to commit, or assist in the commission of, fraud.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or to both);

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine (or to both).

(3) Subsection (2)(a) applies in relation to Northern Ireland as if the reference to 12 months were a reference to 6 months.

6 Possession etc. of articles for use in frauds

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he has in his possession or under his control any article for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or to both);

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a fine (or to both).

(3) Subsection (2)(a) applies in relation to Northern Ireland as if the reference to 12 months were a reference to 6 months.

Proceeds of Crime Act

327 Concealing etc

(1) A person commits an offence if he—

(a) conceals criminal property;

(b) disguises criminal property;

(c) converts criminal property;

(d) transfers criminal property;

(e) removes criminal property from England and Wales or from Scotland or from Northern Ireland.

(2) But a person does not commit such an offence if—

(a) he makes an authorised disclosure under section 338 and (if the disclosure is made before he does the act mentioned in subsection (1)) he has the appropriate consent;

(b) he intended to make such a disclosure but had a reasonable excuse for not doing so;

(c) the act he does is done in carrying out a function he has relating to the enforcement of any provision of this Act or of any other enactment relating to criminal conduct or benefit from criminal conduct.

(3) Concealing or disguising criminal property includes concealing or disguising its nature, source, location, disposition, movement or ownership or any rights with respect to it.

329 Acquisition, use and possession

(1) A person commits an offence if he—

(a) acquires criminal property;

(b) uses criminal property;

(c) has possession of criminal property.

(2) But a person does not commit such an offence if—

(a) he makes an authorised disclosure under section 338 and (if the disclosure is made before he does the act mentioned in subsection (1)) he has the appropriate consent;

(b) he intended to make such a disclosure but had a reasonable excuse for not doing so;

(c) he acquired or used or had possession of the property for adequate consideration;

(d) the act he does is done in carrying out a function he has relating to the enforcement of any provision of this Act or of any other enactment relating to criminal conduct or benefit from criminal conduct.

(3) For the purposes of this section—

(a) a person acquires property for inadequate consideration if the value of the consideration is significantly less than the value of the property;

(b) a person uses or has possession of property for inadequate consideration if the value of the consideration is significantly less than the value of the use or possession;

(c) the provision by a person of goods or services which he knows or suspects may help another to carry out criminal conduct is not consideration.

 

I’m not a lawyer but let’s try and break these down.

Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence

Whilst the PAC file explicitly listed websites that have been found to facilitate the infringement of copyright looking through the Archive.org backup of immunicity.org doesn’t explicitly encourage people to pirate material.

The PAC does however assist in the infringement but simply providing access to a website doesn’t mean that a person will then go on to commit a crime so paragraph 2 may come into play.

Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud and Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds

Unless routing packets is in and of itself considered a connection to or commission of fraud I can’t see how the City of London Police have applied this to running a Proxy.

I would expect however that this could be related to the request for Bitcoin donations or something that the operator was doing unrelated to immunicity.org itself.

Money Laundering

This is most likely related to Bitcoin or something that the operator was doing unrelated to immunicity.org itself.

So, assuming that only the inchoate offence of encouraging or assisting an offence was related to the actual operation of a proxy we need to consult section 50 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 for the defences;

50 Defence of acting reasonably

(1) A person is not guilty of an offence under this Part if he proves—

(a) that he knew certain circumstances existed; and

(b) that it was reasonable for him to act as he did in those circumstances.

(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under this Part if he proves—

(a) that he believed certain circumstances to exist;

(b) that his belief was reasonable; and

(c) that it was reasonable for him to act as he did in the circumstances as he believed them to be.

(3) Factors to be considered in determining whether it was reasonable for a person to act as he did include—

(a) the seriousness of the anticipated offence (or, in the case of an offence under section 46, the offences specified in the indictment);

(b) any purpose for which he claims to have been acting;

(c) any authority by which he claims to have been acting.

In light of the defence of acting reasonably in the knowledge of the circumstances that the current state of Internet filtering being that there are competing ISPs who do not filter coupled with the fact that the honourable Justice Arnold only ordered Sky, BT, TalkTalk et al to block or at least impede access to certain sites but has not made accessing (or providing access) to those sites a crime I have rewritten RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk to be a general purpose selective routing PAC platform for UK users on filtered Internet connections.

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The City of London PIPCU attempts to Block Proxies (and fails)

The City of London Police Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) arrested the operator of immunicity.org “on suspicion of running an ‘umbrella’ website providing access to other websites which have been subject to legal blocking orders.”

So some private entities sued some other private entities to prevent their customers from accessing certain websites. This, as far as I understand it, was a civil matter. How does the City of London Police gain the ability to arrest someone how was not party to either side of the civil matter.

An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation or prevention of crime.Wikipedia

Routing packets is NOT A CRIME. What the fuck do they think they are up to?

 

Thankfully http://immunicity.co.uk/ and http://immun.es/ have already launched to help fill the space and more Tor Project relays are spinning up every day but let’s not stop there, if we don’t complain then they will continue to arrest and harass operators of these servers.

I would encourage people to complain to the City of London Police directly by tweeting at @CityPolice, by phone at 020 7601 2222, directly on their website with either this form (Public Complaints) or this form (Expression of Dissatisfaction) or by email; psd_public@cityoflondon.police.uk

If you have time then also make a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission by calling on 0300 020 0096 or via the website: http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/complaints (it probably wouldn’t hurt to tweet @IPCCNews as well).

As always check our Top Ways to Avoid Filters page for the latest information on the best way to avoid Internet filtering be it performed by the state, ISPs, special interest groups or because your current method was illegally shutdown by a police force overstepping the mark.

Update: September – Immunicity,co.uk has shutdown and immun.es is very unreliable.