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. identicon
    Jez Hemming, 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:34am

    RE: Rights of the individual

    This government has continually and consistently devalued the rights and more importantly the privacy and legal protection we have previously enjoyed.
    Each bit of creeping legislation has taken away another little bit of our personal space, so that now we can neither walk down the street, surf the web or talk to our family without being spied upon.
    We are led to a position where any of us could make a genuine mistake and the assumption is guilt.
    The changes in our legal system now mean we are actually more often then not compelled to prove our innocence rather than be proven guilty.
    Someone above said that our government works for us. I disagree. They are in charge and take every opportuntiy to show us.
    It really is time people voted outside the normal parties and shook the buggers up so we could recapture some of our personal and private space.
    I still wouldn't want to live in crazy USA though, where guns are normal, law suits ten-a-penny and the Patriot Act is still in force.
    We should ally ourselves closer to mainland Europe, where civil liberties are a sanctity few governments dare mess with.

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