New UK crypto law and an idea on how to defeat it

William X. Walsh
Wed, 01 Dec 1999 13:26:38 -0800 (PST)

On 01-Dec-99 Sean Rima wrote:

> Hi Adam!
> You ignore a couple of major points of British law, in that the police
> chief
> would need reasonable grounds to believe that Bob was involved somehow
> in a
> crime. He would not be able to demand Bob's key if he believed that Bob
> was
> having an affair with his wife. Don't forget that the police chief is
> also
> answerable to British law. But I also understand that you were using it
> as
> an example.
> The second mistake you make is that if Bob used such a program, he would
> have to hand over both sets of keys. He would not be able to say that
> there
> was only one. Should the police chief find that the file was locked also
> with a second key then Bob would be automatically guilty of failing to
> hand
> over the keys.
> Bob would not be able to claim that the files were encrypted using
> random
> keys without his knowledge as he would have had to start the process.
> My personal view is that such a bill may not happen. But if it does, it
> will
> be mainly used for Organised Crime and Pedophile and not against the
> average person on the street.
You might be interested in reading Richard Stallman's article on this at which also links to the actual text of the bill. There is AMPLE room for this thing to be vastly abused. It's a real case of circular logic. They need something to base their suspicions on to invoke the law, and your use of encryption and unwillingness to co-operate makes you suspicious, so they can invoke the law. The court that would oversee all of this is a secret closed court, hence their is no public accountability for their decisions and actions. The ends don't justify the means. Sure they have concerns with child pornography and domestic terrorism, but once the door is open to trample on people's individual rights, that door can be forced wide open and abused in ways it was never intended. Closing the door after the fact is extremely hard, if not impossible. -- William X. Walsh - DSo Internet Services Email: Fax:(209) 671-7934