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Should the police be allowed to phone-tap whoever they want without a court order? Watch

  • View Poll Results: Should police be allowed to phone-tap without a court order?
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    • Thread Starter
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    Yay or nay?

    Arguements for and against please.
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    Nay. Invasion of privacy &c.
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    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    /thread.
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    No, and officers who do so should face criminal charges. However, such evidence, once collected, should be admissable in court.
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    A warrant should be obtained from a senior member of "staff" (where this may be a Chief Officer or Home Secretary etc), on the basis that there is a valid reason for doing so, it can be shown that the intelligence cannot be obtained through other means and that the intelligence gathered will be of some positive use in terms of crime prevention.
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    No, they shouldn't. Expediting civil liberties and justice for the sake of "national security" isn't a price worth paying.
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    No. If we treat everyone like potential criminals it leads to people feeling (and thus more likely to become) criminals.
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    e.g. USA.
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    No, but if government representatives absolutely must authorise such things, we get to phonetap government representatives too. Oh and we also get to read their Cabinet minutes. Thanks.
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    (Original post by sconzey)
    No, and officers who do so should face criminal charges. However, such evidence, once collected, should be admissable in court.
    I have to ask, how on earth does this work in practice. Surely this would lead to pressure within the police force for junior colleagues to sacrafice their careers in order to capture prize targets etc.

    Evidence obtained illegally should not be admissable...
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    (Original post by dannymccs)
    I have to ask, how on earth does this work in practice. Surely this would lead to pressure within the police force for junior colleagues to sacrafice their careers in order to capture prize targets etc.
    This isn't the issue. If you break into my house and find I rape and murder children in my spare time (a la Hard Candy), any of the evidence you find is inadmissable in court.

    Evidence that exists, however it was gathered, should be admissable in court. If high-ranking police officers are forcing underlings to illegall accept responsibility for illegally gathered intelligence then the prosecution of those individuals is a separate issue.

    If a junior officer sacrifices their career for a case that goes nowhere, they're going to be pretty pissed, and it wouldn't be too long before the senior officers are prosecuted.

    But yeah, the point is that if we *know* someone did something illegal they should be prosecuted, regardless of how the evidence was gathered.
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    (Original post by sconzey)
    This isn't the issue. If you break into my house and find I rape and murder children in my spare time (a la Hard Candy), any of the evidence you find is inadmissable in court.

    Evidence that exists, however it was gathered, should be admissable in court. If high-ranking police officers are forcing underlings to illegall accept responsibility for illegally gathered intelligence then the prosecution of those individuals is a separate issue.

    If a junior officer sacrifices their career for a case that goes nowhere, they're going to be pretty pissed, and it wouldn't be too long before the senior officers are prosecuted.

    But yeah, the point is that if we *know* someone did something illegal they should be prosecuted, regardless of how the evidence was gathered.
    Well, I can't speak for your Hard Candy reference but I have to continue to disagree with you.

    Perhaps the 'sacraficing of careers' argument was a little over the top but it demonstrates the fundamental flaw of allowing evidence to be admissable even if gained illegally.

    Surely, what is the the point of the law if it there is some level of reward for breaking it? The key issue- how can we have any belief and confidence in our justice system if there are not fundamental principles which are held up at all time. Yes, while I like you would like to see guilty offenders convicted, it is a slippery slope to the erosion of liberty on a wider scale. Phone-tapping is a serious level of surveillance which should only be used when it is absolutely necessary. To use it without the backing of the courts is without doubt a step too far. The resulting criminal charges that any officers may face etc are not a satisfactory trade off for basic civil liberties guaranteed by the justice system.
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    No, although it may help solve some crimes and incriminate people, I believe the risks are too high.

    The scope for abuse is huge, the government could essentially monitor phone calls without any real justification. Obviously there are the privacy and liberty issues, and Jeff Hunter express my view very nicely with his quote.

    The cons far outweight the pros.
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    (Original post by dannymccs)
    Surely, what is the the point of the law if it there is some level of reward for breaking it?
    Okay, police "come into possession of" some illegally-gained evidence that someone is doing something evil.

    Two things can now happen:
    1. The evidence is admissable in court, in which case the bad guy goes down, along with the guy who illegally collected the evidence.
    2. The evidence is inadmissable in court, in which case either only the guy who illegally collected the evidence goes down, or the police bury the evidence to save the guy's career. In the latter case, not only does no-one get punished for their wrongdoing, but no-one even hears about the bad-guy!
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    (Original post by sconzey)
    Okay, police "come into possession of" some illegally-gained evidence that someone is doing something evil.

    Two things can now happen:
    1. The evidence is admissable in court, in which case the bad guy goes down, along with the guy who illegally collected the evidence.
    2. The evidence is inadmissable in court, in which case either only the guy who illegally collected the evidence goes down, or the police bury the evidence to save the guy's career. In the latter case, not only does no-one get punished for their wrongdoing, but no-one even hears about the bad-guy!
    I see your point and the underlying idea is that we all want to see guilty people convicted. But.

    Illegal phone-tapping is a gross invasion of privacy- particularly if the decision were to rest in the hands of the police force. There are already question marks about the generally high willingness of judges to agree to wiretaps on suspects let alone the police being in a position to decide when and when not to think it's OK. What if the person/people they wiretap are innocent- it hasn't even been legitimised by a court of law? And even in the best case scenario, the people under surveillance are guilty, fundamentals of the justice system have been shelved to create 'justice.' In my eyes, shortcuts to the 'right' result are not a price worth paying for confidence in the system.
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    (Original post by dannymccs)
    Illegal phone-tapping is a gross invasion of privacy- particularly if the decision were to rest in the hands of the police force.
    I don't disagree. But illegal phone tapping will happen, the question is what do we do with the results, and whether having illegally obtained evidence admissable in court will increase collection of such evidence.

    I don't doubt that it will increase the reporting of illegally collected evidence, as I outlined above: currently even if evidence of a crime is uncovered illegally there's no incentive to report it.

    Lets look at the incentives:
    1. A maverick cop is convinced that the Suspect is secretly raping and murdering children.
      # If he taps the phone and finds evidence, it's admissable, but he'd go to prison and never work as a policeman again. So instead he -- having his suspicions confirmed -- pushes for a legal wiretap/search warrant.
      # If he doesn't find evidence, he removes the tap and doesn't tell anyone.
      Whether the evidence is admissable or not, the phone is tapped illegally.
    2. A voyeuristic cop likes to listen to the woman across the road's phone conversations.
      # If he taps the phone and finds evidence of a crime, he doesn't tell anyone.
      # If he taps the phone and doesn't find evidence of a crime he doesn't tell anyone.
      Whether evidence is admissable or not, the phone is tapped illegally.


    A third alternative is "evil lieutenant forces underling to tap phone and take fall" but seriously, would you? I'd have to be bribed with a ****load of money, in which case the lieutenant better be pretty ****ing sure, in which case he can probably obtain a legal wiretap.
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    (Original post by Jeff Hunter)
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    /thread.
    :ditto:

    It really is that simple.
 
 
 
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