Tuesday, January 29, 2008

[encryption] thou shalt have nothing private

The documents on my computer are encrypted but:

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was changed last autumn to allow police to force people to hand over passwords or keys to encrypted data. Refusal to do so is a criminal offence carrying a penalty of two years in jail, or up to five years if the issue concerns national security.

And yet there is still a slim hope:

The government's new powers to force the handover of encryption keys could be vulnerable to a legal challenge under the Human Rights Act's guarantee to a fair trial. People who refuse keys or passwords face up to five years in jail.

The problem with this iniquitous act is that it allows the government, e.g. the ODPM, to decide whom they consider undesirables and can then break in and arrest the ordinary citizen along with the genuine terrorist threat - all swept into a waterboarding prison under the charge of sedition.

Section 22 says:
It is necessary on grounds falling within this subsection to obtain communications data if it is necessary-

(a) in the interests of national security;
(b) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder;
(c) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(d) in the interests of public safety;
(e) for the purpose of protecting public health;
(f) for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department;
(g) for the purpose, in an emergency, of preventing death or injury or any damage to a person's physical or mental health, or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person's physical or mental health; or
(h) for any purpose (not falling within paragraphs (a) to (g)) which is specified for the purposes of this subsection by an order made by the Secretary of State.



This is fascinating yet scary!
Is Russia less of a police state now than the UK?


I often think that the threat of terrorism is grossly exaggerated for the express purpose of passing such legislature.
Isn't is alarming how people blindly accept control if (thinly)disguised as protection?

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

In terms of foreign policy and involving oneself in affairs of state, that's a point the west is much debating.

In terms of freedom of movement, of association and of speech, of smoking in pubs and not being frightened of litigation, Russia is streets ahead just now. No one's going to get too fussed about an insult or a campaign donation.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Now that is alarming.

Anonymous said...

Wave goodbye to........

Bag said...

The best bit is I can send you an encrypted file for which you don't have the key and you are still liaible for the 5 years.

Someone did that to Straw when this was first raised but somehow I just don't see it being a problem for that useless lot.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

They've got us by the short and curlies.