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


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What the big deal

    > You can explain exactly where it came from and why you can't
    > decode it, along with externally verified sources.

    What if you can't? What if you don't know?

    > Try to keep your argument within the bounds of the relevant
    > legal framework.

    Don't know if you've noticed, chief, but this discussion has moved beyond just the UK. At least half this thread is addressing the situation in the USA as well, with people criticizing the judge's ruling that encryption keys are protected by the 5th Amendment.

    > Again, your using the wrong legal framework.

    Again, no I'm not. I'm participating in the broader discussion here.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.