Being safe on the internet (was Re: Here we go again - ISP DPI, but is it interception?)

Ian Batten igb at
Mon Aug 2 14:13:26 BST 2010

On 2 Aug 2010, at 09:34, James Firth wrote:
> It is this which I object to.  A Tesco employee is (was at least)  
> given
> comprehensive training on how to deal with shoplifters.
> Merely acting suspiciously, even taking products and hiding them under
> coats, nests of bags or even ones hat should not be acted upon - even
> thought I suspect this could be shown as conspiracy to commit  
> theft.  The
> employee is trained to gather any available evidence and wait until  
> the
> point which a crime is committed - the items are removed from the  
> shop.

I don't follow the argument.  Tescos have a policy of always  
prosecuting shoplifting, as theft.  Theft requires that the goods have  
left the shop.  However, there are plenty of ways in which Tesco could  
reduce theft by customers to zero: mostly, they could put all the  
goods on one side of a wall, all the customers on the other, and only  
pass goods through a swing-bin in return for immediate payment.  They  
don't: they put the stuff out on shelves, just asking to be stolen,  
and rely on the force of the law to deal with people that do so.   
There is an externality to their tempting array of goods, and they use  
the law to reduce some of that.

> It is my view that BT are a large organisation and should therefore  
> be in
> a position to understand the CMA and take proportionate action, only
> involving the police where necessary.

Neither you nor I were in the court to judge "proportionate" and  

> Unless the actions a.) did cause harm (cf. goods have been taken  
> from the
> shop) or b.) there is clear and overwhelming evidence of a substantial
> attack which if left unchecked could cause damage (cf. clear  
> evidence of a
> conspiracy to commit theft) large operators should know full well that
> sending correctly-formed protocol requests is not sufficient  
> evidence to
> bother wasting the police or court time.

The police and the CPS can, and often do, refuse to prosecute on the  
grounds of it not being worthwhile.  On this occasion they took the  
prosecution to court.  Had they thought it was a waste of time, they  
have the absolute right to say so and send BT away with a flea in  
their ear.


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