UK Ruling Says Authorities Can Force You To Hand Over Your Encryption Key

from the self-incrimination-means-different-things-across-the-pond dept

A year ago, there was a legal ruling in the US that said an individual could not be forced to hand over their encryption key to encrypted data on a computer, since it violates the 5th amendment against self-incrimination. Over in the UK, they apparently also have protections against self-incrimination, but apparently it doesn't cover handing over your encryption key (thanks to JJ for sending over the link). Basically, the ruling is pretty close to the opposite of the US ruling. Basically, it found that an encryption key isn't speech but an independent "thing" that can be required to be turned over to authorities.
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Filed Under: encryption, free speech, self-incrimination, uk, us


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2008 @ 10:50pm

    Re: Flawed logic all around

    > To all those who have commented that you simply say, “I’ve
    > forgotten it”, it doesn’t work like that. You’ve failed to hand
    > over the encryption key or plaintext equivalent of the
    > encrypted material. That’s prima facie evidence that you
    > have committed a crime. The prosecution doesn’t have to
    > prove you have not forgotten it.

    Perhaps in the UK that's true but in America, the Constitution sets the burden of proof on the government and no law or court ruling can trump that.

    If a similar law passes here, it will still be the government's burden to prove you're lying about forgetting the password, not the other way around.

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