Two convicted in U.K. for refusal to decrypt data

Brian Mearns mearns.b at
Fri Aug 14 16:51:07 CEST 2009

On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 8:40 AM, the dragon<ceprn at> wrote:
> oops, didn't reply all...
> And if you look at the cases reported, these are not system admins refusing to divulge data, or even regular people trying to protect their privacy - they are child molestors and wanna-be terrorists.
> encrytion is about maintaining personal and data privacy; it's not about having a tool to break the law.

If you truly believe that, then there's no reason not to hand over
your encryption key immediately to your local police department. For
that matter, turn over a copy of your house key too: that's about
protecting you from the "bad guys", not the police, right?

Clearly I'm being a little extreme (ad absurdum) , but you need to
re-read the article: it said the cases had to do with the crimes you
mention, but it specifically didn't say that the people being charged
with refusing to turn over their key were actually suspects. For all
we know, they could be childhood school mates of the suspect who
haven't seen him/her in thirty years.

And, as many on this list have already pointed out, even if they were
suspects, that in no-way means that they actually are child-molesters
or terrorists, it means somebody things they might be. I could very
well claim that there's a secret message coded in your lengthy email
signature which admits to a vile crime; that doesn't mean you actually
did it. Would you want to turn over all your encryption keys and
passphrases just because I made some accusation?

Clearly this is a tricky issue, because there are two important but
conflicting values at stake: public safety and private rights. But I'd
like to just keep one thing in your mind when this comes up; a little
mantra to chant to yourself: "I am innocent until proven guilty."


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