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Essex Police Arrest Man Over Blackberry Water Fight Plan 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-how-you-play dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Under the banner headline 'Police reassure residents they are working to keep county safe,' Essex police proudly proclaimed that they arrested a 20-year-old man from Colchester who 'allegedly sent messages from a Blackberry encouraging people to join in a water fight.' Having also made a number of arrests of people sitting at home on Facebook, Acting Assistant Chief Constable Mason wrote: 'Police will continue to monitor social networking sites for unlawful activity.'" That's some good police work there, Lou.
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Essex Police Arrest Man Over Blackberry Water Fight Plan

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:21PM (#37098774)
    The police are just looking out for the man's interests. If he took his Blackberry to a water fight it could get wet and be ruined and it would just end in tears (which he would hide by getting wet again). They saved his Blackberry to tweet/text/post another day.
    • by discord5 (798235)

      They saved his Blackberry to tweet/text/post another day.

      Just found this on twitter:

      Currently in jail for planning aquatic mayhem. Now my cellmate is planning aquatic mayhem in the shower.

      • by rednip (186217)

        OMG, so we're like doing that now? And it's being modded up?

        The end days are here indeed.

    • by duguk (589689)
      I'm sure it was just meant to be a fun water-pistol 'fight' - it's taken place in nearby Chelmsford in the park in the past.

      It's totally fun, and from what I hear; people are pretty respectful of those who don't want to be involved.

      Presumably this this dangerous terrorist [allevents.in] will be next. [events site, so much for hacking BBM]
      • I hate to link to The Sun, but it was linked to from TFA. It seems these things aren't always quite as much fun as one might think.

        http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1499810.ece [thesun.co.uk]

        • by duguk (589689)
          You are joking, right? One problem over hundreds of events in the country?
          It's hardly "plotting violence, disorder and criminality", is it?

          Its more like the police and Government going bat-shit insane now they have the opportunity to get and do whatever they like.
          • You are joking, right? One problem over hundreds of events in the country?

            I guess you didn't read to the end of the article. It said that at a similar event 2 weeks before someone was fatally stabbed.

            Don't get me wrong, from the story as presented by the Guardian, it sounds like the police completely overstepped the mark. I just wanted to point out that they may have reason to believe it won't be the fun you seem to think it is.

            • by duguk (589689)

              I guess you didn't read to the end of the article. It said that at a similar event 2 weeks before someone was fatally stabbed.

              Don't get me wrong, from the story as presented by the Guardian, it sounds like the police completely overstepped the mark. I just wanted to point out that they may have reason to believe it won't be the fun you seem to think it is.

              I guess you missed what I said - there were hundreds of these water pistol events across the country. One person gets stabbed. Outcry, but it's not cancelled.

              This guy then tries to arrange it again this year over BBM, has he messages hacked, his privacy raped, a lot of peoples fun is cancelled, and he ends up in court, probably with a record that will stick with him the rest of his life.

              I'm sure you're right. The police just overstepped the mark, and decided to hack an innocent man's messages JUST IN

              • I guess you missed what I said

                I read exactly what you said. You said one problem. Yet I had linked to an article which described multiple problems on that day, and linked back to the stabbing of two weeks before. That isn't "one".

                I'm sure you're right. The police just overstepped the mark, and decided to hack an innocent man's messages JUST IN CASE he decides to murder under the guise of being in a water pistol fight.

                I think you need to calm down. There's no evidence of "hacking", and the encryption on system is strong enough that the police couldn't decipher the messages without RIM (A Canadian company) cooperating. The Occam's razor explanation is that someone forwarded BBM to the police because they were concerned.

                Additi

                • by duguk (589689)

                  You said one problem. Yet I had linked to an article which described multiple problems on that day, and linked back to the stabbing of two weeks before. That isn't "one".

                  Nine people... in one location... in Hyde Park... and you're getting your information from The Sun 'newspaper'.

                  There were hundreds of these across the country every year! You've picked one place that had trouble THREE YEARS AGO, in arguably the second worst newspaper in the country?

                  I'm sure you're right. The police just overstepped the mark, and decided to hack an innocent man's messages JUST IN CASE he decides to murder under the guise of being in a water pistol fight.

                  I think you need to calm down. There's no evidence of "hacking"

                  TLDR; keep yourself up to date: MI5 joins social messaging trawl for riot organisers [guardian.co.uk], Riot inquiry to go ahead as MI5 helps investigations [smh.com.au] and Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that the government would investigate sh

                  • You've picked one place that had trouble THREE YEARS AGO, in arguably the second worst newspaper in the country?

                    I didn't pick it. It was linked to from TFA. And I've since linked to a Telegraph article that covers the same ground.

                    TLDR; keep yourself up to date: MI5 joins social messaging trawl for riot organisers [guardian.co.uk], Riot inquiry to go ahead as MI5 helps investigations [smh.com.au] and Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that the government would investigate shutting down social networking platforms like BlackBerry Messenger and Twitter if they were helping to "plot" crime. The police recently called on MI5 to crack encrypted messages sent through BBM. [wired.co.uk].

                    I was aware of all that. None of which indicates that GCHQ has made the breakthrough in cryptography that would be needed to crack the 256 bit AES encryption on Blackberry messages in less than a few million years. And note that each message has a different key, so they don't just have to crack it once.

                    Why are MI5 involved?

                    Because that's who the government would ask. Yet they are no more capable of hacking the c

  • England (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:23PM (#37098810)

    They're really determined to become Airstrip One, aren't they?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The debate in the British Parliament was scary. It was endless calls for more police officers, more cameras, allowing police to use tactics like water cannons, more cameras, sending everyone even tangentially involved to jail for the absolute maximum possible, and more cameras. The sadly few occasions an MP would mention looking for the root causes of this social unrest, the British PM would ignore that part of the question.

      Airstrip One now has telescreens everywhere with MPs crying out for even more of th

      • by Heed00 (1473203)
        And now MI5 (GCHQ) has been drafted in to help crack BBM:

        Intelligence agency asked to crack encrypted messages – especially on BlackBerry Messenger – to help police

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/15/mi5-social-messaging-riot-organisers-police [guardian.co.uk]

        • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

          MI5 and GCHQ are two entirely different agencies. MI5 are counter intelligence and internal security, MI6 are foreign intelligence and external security, and GCHQ are in charge of intercepting and decoding communications and, iirc, also developing ways of protecting the UK's own communications. GCHQ basically do a lot of back room work for MI5 and MI6.

          MI5 are what John Le Carre used to refer to as "the security mob" in his books based in the intelligence community.

          • by Heed00 (1473203)

            GCHQ basically do a lot of back room work for MI5 and MI6.

            Right, which is why I wrote GCHQ in brackets after mentioning MI5.

        • GCHQ is a large dougnut shaped building on the edge of cheltenham that intercepts and listens to communications - they are simply a data gathering agency. . MI5 (in london) is the brains of the operation (and scours the data that GCHQ collects). If you like, GCHQ is 'google' for MI5/MI6
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Of course it's scary. It's also highly predictable. I'd just sigh whenever someone mentioned support for the rioters because they had some grievances because it was obvious that the rioting would only reduce freedoms. Just like the anonymous bozos, who claim to fight for freedoms but who will only end up hurting them in the long run.

        That's why anarchy at the beginning of last century didn't work. The "theory" that the government would look incompetent due to random violence and be weakened didn't work a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Unfortunately the police have figured out how to deal with peaceful protests. All they have to do is surround a small group of protesters, force them into a corner, and keep them there until someone does something stupid. Then wait for the media to get a few juicy shots of the "violence" which can be repeated over and over on TV.

          This is partly the reason why the riots got so out of hand: These tactics don't work *at all* if everyone shows up looking for trouble.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:24PM (#37098822) Homepage Journal

    asking undefined amount of people to meet in public is illegal in increasing number of countries.
    because that's a riot. or unlawful assembly. or whatever.

    he should've sold something and advertised for people to come buy it - at least that's still legal almost everywhere.

    next up, banning using post office to invite people. commercial spam's going to be ok though.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Right to peaceably assemble sound like something you have heard of ?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        as long as you have approval from the government yes you are allowed to peaceably assemble citizen

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        He might have. I don't think the government has, though. Seriously, I'd bet quite a few of them don't even know about that right, having never actually read whatever equates to the Constitution in England. Assuming that is a right in the UK, maybe it isn't.

        Either that or they just don't care anymore. I'll give most of them the benefit of the doubt and call them ignorant rather than willfully tyrannical. This is the government we're talking about here, and not the competent branches like MI-6 either.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          asking undefined amount of people to meet in public is illegal in increasing number of countries.

          GP was not talking only about the UK.

        • by digitig (1056110)
          "Whatever equates to the Constitution in England" would be our constitution [wikipedia.org]. And in the case of the Human Rights Act 1998 most politicians will be well aware of it, and aware that it contains enough exemptions that they can still do pretty much what they like.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          There is the right to do something, and then there is the police harassing anyone who does it, the so called Chilling Effects.

          It happens regularly in the UK. The police film demonstrations to compile mug shots of known agitators. They then get hold of the person's car number plate and plug it into the automatic number plate recognition system that is running on most major roads now. When that person starts driving towards London to join a peaceful protest the police stop and search them and their vehicle. O

      • What exactly is a water fight anyway? Just a protest involving water guns + balloons or what?
        • by Hatta (162192)

          Not a protest. Just a bit of fun.

      • Right to peaceably assemble sound like something you have heard of ?

        I vaguely remember it from somewhere. History class, I think.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Indeed. It seems to me that the police have violated this fellow's rights under article 20 of the UN's universal declaration of human rights.

      • Iirc the UNDHR isn't binding in the UK. However, the police are bound by the Human Rights Act which protects freedom of association (Art. 11). Unfortunately, like freedom of speech and privacy it comes with the annoying qualifications about doing things "in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others".

    • asking undefined amount of people to meet in public is illegal in increasing number of countries.

      I'm declaring this now: any meeting of any type I call for, in public or in private, the maximum number of participants I'm asking for shall forthwith be defined as "seven billion." If there is no obvious defined number in my call to meet, know that number is not undefined, and thus not illegal, the number is seven billion.

      That is all.

  • Compensation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:27PM (#37098868) Homepage

    This is an age-old debate but in my opinion there needs to be significant compensation for arrests that don't lead to convictions. Even more so if the arrest doesn't even lead to a charge.

    The way things are at the moment, people who are wrongly arrested are expected to see their eventual release as a "relief" and be thankful for it. That's not how it should be. Otherwise the police had might as well arrest and hold everyone, take their time investigating all of them, and then release everyone who didn't do anything wrong.

    In the venn diagram of arrests and convictions the target intersection is 100%. Currently it is nowhere near 100% and that is not entirely due to a flawed court system, it is partially due to too many innocent people being arrested.

    • They also need some controls on how long they can keep people on bail for (currently indefinitely thanks to our incompetent, reactionary Parliament - in practice this can be years, then a few more years in prison between being charged and tried), and restrictions on what they can do with seized property, i.e. having to give it back quickly, and in good condition.

      Rather than just arrests and convictions, it might be worth comparing investigations (or stop-and-searches), arrests, charges and convictions (the

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I think there is a large difference between just arresting a random person on the street for no reason and arresting someone in the middle of a huge angry crowd at the same time that there are violent riots going on. Maybe there's no reason to arrest the second person but it is a much more effective strategy; arrest a chunk of people and others will be less likely to come out and "support" the violent rioters; arrest the loudest voices that seem to be crowd leaders and it does make a difference in breaking

      • Re:Compensation (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday August 15, 2011 @07:09PM (#37100760)

        Did you see the famous civil rights marchers in the US south whining when they got arrested or demanding compensation?

        No, but they should have. They deserved compensation for the terrible treatment they endured under color of authority.

        If you allow significant compensation for this sort of arrest I can guarantee you that people will be out in greater numbers trying to get arrested and doing their best to piss off a cop as their chance to get some cash.

        With today's technology, this isn't such a problem. Cops should wear helmets with cameras at all times; what the cop sees, the camera sees. If some hooligans are out causing trouble, and the cops arrest them, no problem: they have video evidence against them, placing them at the scene and showing their actions. If there's thousands of people rioting, video showing a person in the rioting crowd, and that same person being whacked by cops with batons and arrested, is sufficient to show that the cops acted properly. If they just bring in some random guy with bruises and claim he was rioting, but have no video of his actions or his takedown and arrest, then the cops have done something wrong.

        This video evidence should also be made immediately available to the public as soon as technically possible (e.g. when the cop gets to the station and turns in his memory card for the day), in case any interested citizens want to keep a watch on the cops. This type of system can serve to protect both the cops from false allegations, and potential victims of police abuse, and also to repair the public's distrust of cops.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        The law is the law. You can not selectively break the law because it suits you or because it is convenient to do so. Don't want rioters on your streets, then solve the problems that put them out there in the first place. When the police start acting like thugs, randomly beating people up, randomly torturing them with chemical weapons and grossly abusing the law by, let's put this is full context
        Physically assaulting them
        Using death threats
        Kidnapping them
        Illegally detaining them
        benying them their

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      First point is that police are not lawyers. Police just need to be reasonably sure an offence has or will be committed for an arrest to occur. Someone can be arrested for purpose of verifying identity.

      What if someone matches the description of a suspect that just committed a crime. They get arrested and when seen by the victim they are released.
      What about the drunk friends who fight in the street? They both get arrested and when sober refuse to press charges.
      What about the alcoholic who is so inebriated tha

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        I am just wondering, should you not also be able to apply this to citizens arrest. A group of hooligans, grab a young lady during a riot, making a citizens arrest, tie her up, threaten to kill her if she resists, take her back to their gang clubhouse, strip search her including cavity search, torture her with chemical weapons for protesting the arrest, apply electric shocks to random parts of her body, keep her overflight and then, whoops, tee hee, she did nothing wrong lets release her the next day, bruis

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          One of the stipulations about citizens' arrest is that a suspect must be turned over to authorities at the earliest opportunity. Citizens are not allowed to hold someone in custody. Police have a different standard than citizens. They are trained to deal with suspects and have rules they must abide by. If they go beyond those rules they are charged with excessive force. It is understandable to fight against a gang of hooligans. The police have a different authority so don't fight against them. If you fight

  • by dbc (135354) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:30PM (#37098898)

    Does he not have the freedom of assembly? Does he not have the freedom to call for an assembly? What part of a water fight is not legal? If he was planning a non-crime, then what is the pre-crime? Can you be arrested for a pre-crime in England?

    • by westlake (615356)

      Does he not have the freedom of assembly? Does he not have the freedom to call for an assembly? What part of a water fight is not legal?

      It comes usually down to when, where and how many people?

    • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:08PM (#37099486) Journal

      Does he not have the freedom of assembly?

      Yep, he has that [legislation.gov.uk]. Although it can be restricted.

      Does he not have the freedom to call for an assembly?

      Probably covered by the above.

      What part of a water fight is not legal?

      Well, it could be some sort of offence against the person (would certainly be battery, if there was no consent). Then you have all those lovely "breach of the peace" or "affray" things that the police love to (often incorrectly) apply when they want to round someone up. They could also go with s127 Communications Act 2003 (as with the Twitter Joke Trial [wikimedia.org]) if they can show that calling for a water fight is "menacing".

      Can you be arrested for a pre-crime in England?

      Of course you can - planning, or conspiracy to do a crime is arrestable most places.

      Times like this I wish I was a lawyer already....

  • welcome to 1984!

  • by J'raxis (248192) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:45PM (#37099136) Homepage

    So this storiy is basically a tacit admission either that:---

    Blackberry and Facebook are doing realtime or near-realtime surveillance of users and sending suspicious information to the British police; or

    The British police are capable of, and are, listening in on Blackberry or Facebook* without the co-operation of these corporationsi i.e., they're surveilling network traffic or similar. Facebook is entirely conducted through HTTPS nowadays, so if this be the case, that the bobbies can listen in is an even more significant revelation.

    * This conclusion wouldn't hold of course if the police are merely trolling through what people post in public on Facebook, which is entirely a possibility considering how ignorant many people are about discretion and privacy.

    • So this storiy is basically a tacit admission either that:---

      Blackberry and Facebook are doing realtime or near-realtime surveillance of users and sending suspicious information to the British police; or

      The British police are capable of, and are, listening in on Blackberry or Facebook* without the co-operation of these corporationsi i.e., they're surveilling network traffic or similar. Facebook is entirely conducted through HTTPS nowadays, so if this be the case, that the bobbies can listen in is an even more significant revelation.

      * This conclusion wouldn't hold of course if the police are merely trolling through what people post in public on Facebook, which is entirely a possibility considering how ignorant many people are about discretion and privacy.

      Well, there is a third possibility. It is entirely possible a friend of a friend got invited to the water fight, and decided to fuck over his mate by showing the local constable selected bits of the original invitation. No need to postulate that level of surveillance by the police when simple human maliciousness is available...

    • by Sinthet (2081954)

      I agree that people generally don't care about privacy and/or security, but I would never have expected being arrested for inviting people to come to a water fight. Unless this "water fight" was supposed to be a large coordinated attack on civilians via water balloons, the arrest is totally unwarranted.

      • by J'raxis (248192)

        I don't know how bad it is in the U.K. yet, but I read almost daily about arrests for things "I would never have expected" over here in the land-of-the-free United States.

    • 1. AFAICT: The police are already investigating Blackberry messages (with RIM's co-operation) as part of the riot/looting investigation.
      2a. Facebook is not entirely conducted through HTTPS. There is an option to always connect through https, but as far as I know it is turned off by default.
      2b. Where it is turned on, many Facebook games/applications don't support https and you will be prompted to "turn it off." We all know how well security fares in the face of "You have to do this to click the dancing mo
  • I don't know if this is over reaching or not, but there was at least one death and a number of serious injuries back in 2008 in these mass water fight events.

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1499810.ece [thesun.co.uk]

    If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

    • by syousef (465911)

      I don't know if this is over reaching or not, but there was at least one death and a number of serious injuries back in 2008 in these mass water fight events.

      http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1499810.ece [thesun.co.uk]

      If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

      Well then by that logic you must be in favour of banning sports clubs, churches, mother's clubs, and schools for that matter. How often do interactions in those places lead to violence?

      • Well then by that logic you must be in favour of banning churches for that matter. How often do interactions in those places lead to violence?

        Quite often, if you [blogspot.com] and your tribe [acu.edu.au] are nearby.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:18PM (#37099604)

      How many deaths were caused by people crossing the street at appropriate crosswalks and with the traffic lights? Better make that illegal. How many deaths playing football in after work leagues? Better make that illegal. How many deaths falling out of bed? Better make that illegal!

      I don't say this often, because I try to be generally polite even on the internet, but your logic is retarded. It is what leads to kids not being able to play tag during recess. It is the levels of paranoia that makes an adult male hesitate to help a terrified child because someone might think that they are trying to kidnap them. It is a significant portion of what is wrong with our society: the idea that everything and everyone can, and should, be made as completely safe as possible, regardless of the consequences.

      And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        Go and procreate. We need more people like you! :)

      • by iceaxe (18903)

        And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

        As a corollary I'd like to go on record preferring a country (or world) where there is a small risk of being blown up by a terrorist nutjob to one where I am made "safe" from insignificant risks by the loss of significant freedoms, while things that pose much larger actual risks are allowed to go on, largely because someone is making a pile of money off of those larger risks.

        In general I prefer freedom to safety, though I will accept a certain amount of restriction where it makes reasonable sense. But for C

        • by j-beda (85386)

          And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

          As a corollary I'd like to go on record preferring a country (or world) where there is a small risk of being blown up by a terrorist nutjob to one where I am made "safe" from insignificant risks by the loss of significant freedoms, while things that pose much larger actual risks are allowed to go on, largely because someone is making a pile of money off of those larger risks.

          In general I prefer freedom to safety, though I will accept a certain amount of restriction where it makes reasonable sense. But for Crom's sake, do it for real reasons, not for political expediency.

          I can get behind that sentiment.

      • Except that there are 10s or 100s of 1000s of after work football matches every year. How many result in a woman being punched to the ground by a man? How many end with someone being stabbed to death? How many end with 9 arrests and "children as young as 5" at a riding school being thrown from their horses?

        And these water-fight events aren't the same as children in the back-yard playing, they're 100s of "adults" getting together to have a water-fight so please don't try and conflate the two to argue that
        • The very same people who are yelling "OMG1984nazis" are exactly the ones who, if they or their relatives were injured by the violence, would be the first to complain that the police should have done something.

      • by j-beda (85386)

        How many deaths were caused by people crossing the street at appropriate crosswalks and with the traffic lights? Better make that illegal. How many deaths playing football in after work leagues? Better make that illegal. How many deaths falling out of bed? Better make that illegal!

        Neither you nor I know the stats for dangers associated with this type of mob event. In general I agree with you, but it seems like there is at least the potential that this type of event could be orders of magnitude more likely to result in injury or death than the examples you site. We already do have laws prohibiting crossing against the light - do we perhaps need laws to address the dangers associated with "open invite" style of "fun" events? Will our existing laws against bad behaviour be sufficient if this type of event becomes common? Frankly I don't know.

        I don't say this often, because I try to be generally polite even on the internet, but your logic is retarded. It is what leads to kids not being able to play tag during recess. It is the levels of paranoia that makes an adult male hesitate to help a terrified child because someone might think that they are trying to kidnap them. It is a significant portion of what is wrong with our society: the idea that everything and everyone can, and should, be made as completely safe as possible, regardless of the consequences.

        And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

        Is there any level of death rates where you would be willing to do something more than go with the "hey, shit happens" type of attitude? Does it make a difference if the deaths are participants or "innocent" bystanders?

        In general I do agree with your assessment that as a society we have become overly risk averse, to our detriment. However, I will restate: "If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place."

    • by digitig (1056110)
      A "newspaper" owned by the (then) owner of Myspace blames a civil disturbance on Facebook? Have a look at this [dontbuythesun.co.uk] if you think The Sun is a reliable news source.
    • by dissy (172727)

      If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

      There have been injuries and deaths resulting from posts made to online web forums before too. Are you implying the activity we both just did should be illegal? By your logic, it sure seems so! I'll let you turn yourself in first however...

      Granted, FAR more posts are made safely every day than those that result in injury or death, however the exact same is true of water fights.

      Of course our water fights always involved just water, no asshole kids punching people in the face for being squirted with water

      • by j-beda (85386)

        If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

        There have been injuries and deaths resulting from posts made to online web forums before too. Are you implying the activity we both just did should be illegal? By your logic, it sure seems so! I'll let you turn yourself in first however...

        Granted, FAR more posts are made safely every day than those that result in injury or death, however the exact same is true of water fights.

        Sure, general water fights seldom result in any troubles, but what about "open call" water fights such as these? If 10% of them result in someone's death - probably we want to do something about it.

        Hey, I think it is a bit over the top too, however I can understand at least some of the reasoning. It looks like back in 2008 there were at least a few instances of people calling for a great big waterfight and a bunch of thugs turned up and caused troubles for the water-people and "innocent" bystanders were also negatively impacted. If this becomes common, then it makes sense to try to do something to prevent the unwanted outcomes. In my opinion one should be using existing laws against the "troublemakers", but there is some justification in assigning some share of the responsibility for problems with the people who "organized" the event in the first place.

        Freedom of speech and assembly are limited in a variety of situations where other people's safety are impacted for example. One might be charged with some sort of "public nuisance" type of offense if you started to throw money into the street, and there is the famous prohibition of shouting "Fire!" in crowded theaters if in fact no fire exists.

        • by dissy (172727)

          In my opinion one should be using existing laws against the "troublemakers", but there is some justification in assigning some share of the responsibility for problems with the people who "organized" the event in the first place.

          Let me first say, just because the above is all I am quoting, doesn't mean I'm dismissing the rest of your post.
          In fact I'm singling the above out because I agree with that statement 110%

          I also realize things are pretty different in the UK than the US (I'm in the latter) so quite possibly don't know what I'm talking about..

          But as I've said in another post, it seems to me the problem is not the water fights themselves, but the punk thugs showing up starting real fights.
          There are already laws against all of t

      • Granted, FAR more posts are made safely every day than those that result in injury or death, however the exact same is true of water fights.

        Millions of posts are written on the internet, every day. How many result in injury or death? Now, how many of these massive, "organised", water-fights among "adults" occur every year?

        Oh, and please don't confuse "a few kids running around in the yard squirting each other" with "100s of adults in a public space squirting each other", it makes you look foolish.

        • by dissy (172727)

          I still don't see how either of those points matter.

          Water fights are just that. The idea is to soak everyone and get soaked yourself.
          The idea is not to punch people and start real fights.

          Is this seriously that big of a problem in the UK, where -most- turn outs like this end up with thugs showing up picking real fights?
          Seems a bit hard to believe, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt if you say its true.

          Either way, everything these thugs have done is already illegal. Arrest them for that.

          But to me it

  • by vorlich (972710) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:29PM (#37099750) Homepage Journal
    Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Under article 11. Since there are two different systems of Law in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the European Convention on Human Rights is the final adjudication on this. So he can go to a water fight - however the possibility that a water fight could affect the "peace" it could be restricted on the grounds of possible public safety. In Scotland, which is the country with a different legal system, the possibility that a "water fight" could get out of hand would be classed as "intent to commit a breach of the peace". However a regular water fight in a sensible location would be hardly fall into that category.

    However this is all academic because it appears to come from a collection of stories in today's Colchester gazette where it reports that a man was arrested for trying to organise a thousand strong water fight in the town centre or 'inciting public disorder.'http://mobile.gazette-news.co.uk/news/9194795.Man_charged_after_allegedly_trying_to_organise_a_mass_water_fight/ [gazette-news.co.uk]
    I'm reasonably certain that if their is any truth in the story, the local constabulary would have to take it seriously and avoid charges of complacency.The story appears to have been drawn from the Monday morning court calendar - the normal source of news on a Monday morning. The same report mentions another man, posting on facebook, one assumes he is the main feature of this post and he was released without charge.
  • Just using facebook should be a crime.
    • by lexsird (1208192)

      We might get our wish. Let me wax poetic with this if I may.

      Be care what we wish,
      wish upon a star,
      its on the satellite dish
      on the road there is On Star.

      God hears what we say,
      but he is not alone.
      Be careful little kids,
      never leave without your phone.

      When will my words be free to be said,
      without wondering who will be poking in my trash.
      Some say that freedom is dead,
      but will know for sure when their backs feel the lash.

  • They are both afraid of water fights in their streets apparently. I was just looking at an article just the other day on how the youth in Iran were gathering for water fights, and the article showed this beautiful Iranian girl with a squirt gun, (Super Soaker type) with a big smile on her face. It was talking about how the regime frowned on these water fights, but the youth of Iran would not be daunted and were out in the streets having fun. It's just a peaceful assembly of young people having fun.

    Even in I

  • by MrL0G1C (867445)
    So what are the police going to do if it rains heavily, arrest god?

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

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