Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2001, makes it an offence to posses data that could be “useful” to a person”committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.
In 2007 a 17 year old boy was charged with possession under this offence for of “Anarchists’ Cookbook”, a well known book for making explosives, smoke bombs, and the like. Very popular with undergraduate chemists at university, who want to have some “extra-circular” activity.
However in 2004 a man who was arrested and charged for the same offence was found not guilty of the offence.
Section 58: Collection of information
(1) A person commits an offence if—
(a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
(b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.
(2) In this section “record” includes a photographic or electronic record.
(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for his action or possession.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, to a fine or to both, or
(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.
(5) A court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence under this section may order the forfeiture of any document or record containing information of the kind mentioned in subsection (1)(a).
(6) Before making an order under subsection (5) a court must give an opportunity to be heard to any person, other than the convicted person, who claims to be the owner of or otherwise interested in anything which can be forfeited under that subsection.
(7) An order under subsection (5) shall not come into force until there is no further possibility of it being varied, or set aside, on appeal (disregarding any power of a court to grant leave to appeal out of time).