Thursday, 26 November 2009

Principle - a route to prison.

In a recent article about the IMP Intercept Modernisation Programme, this writer, tongue in cheek, encouraged you to consider encryption.

However, government has got there first and we now have the first case of imprisonment for refusal to give keys to decrypt computer files to the police. The Register tells the story of a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record.

The 33-year-old man is currently held at a secure mental health unit after being sectioned while serving his sentence at Winchester Prison. He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment under Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). The powers came into force in October 2007.

In his final police interview it was suggested that the refusal to decrypt the files or give them his keys would lead to suspicion he was a terrorist or paedophile.

"There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective. "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know... What is anybody gonna think?"

JFL says he maintained his silence because of: "the principle - as simple as that".

What would you do?

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