UK Man Jailed For Refusing To Decrypt His Files

from the right-against-self-incrimination dept

Two years ago, a US judge ruled that a guy with an encrypted hard drive did not have to hand over his encryption key to the police, as it would be a violation of the 5th Amendment (the right not to self-incriminate). The argument there is that the encryption key is a form of "speech." This is quite a reasonable ruling -- but it appears that over in the UK they view encryption keys quite differently. Last year, we wrote about a UK court ruling interpreting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to mean that people could be required to hand over encryption keys, since encryption keys were not "speech" but an object that could be demanded. Unfortunately, this has now resulted in a schizophrenic man being jailed for refusing to decrypt his files. As many are noting, this seems to be an abuse of law enforcement, as the purpose of the RIPA law was supposed to be about stopping organized crime and terrorism, not dumping the mentally ill in prison.

Filed Under: crime, decryption, uk


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  1. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:50am

    It's not like the UK has ever done anything wrong, like following the wrong suspect to a train and shot him in the head and chest repeatedly to make sure he was dead, because some other guy that dressed completely different with no resemblance whatsoever may or may not have been part of some bombings, and then said to their mother "though luck ma'am, we're doing our job" and refused any kind of responsibility.

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