Jailed for keeping a password secret

  WhiteTruckMan 20:13 05 Oct 10

I've been hearing about this on the radio this evening

click here

and I dont mind admitting some slight misgivings. Not about the specific individual, but about the fact that its a criminal offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to withhold a password. I've never even heard of this act before. It also seems to fly in the face of the caution everyone should be given when arrested, which is:

"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

Right there in the first words, is says that you do not have to say anything. But apparently you do, after all.

Another freedom surrendered, or a valuable tool in a fight against crime and terrorism?


  sunnystaines 20:56 05 Oct 10

the law change a few years ago, if you fail to answer questions the court can now consider your guilt considering that fact you did not answer police questions

the days of staying stomp are over.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 21:32 05 Oct 10

'Police seized his computer but could not access material on it as it had a 50-character encryption password'..yeah right, and there is nothing on it. Please pull the other one. The half wit is a moron and deserves all he gets.


  Wilham 21:59 05 Oct 10

If you wish to preserve your privacy you now need to devise two passwords; one to decrypt your stored data, and an alternative to execute a data self-destruct program.

If ever under duress to reveal a password you will be able to comply.

  WhiteTruckMan 22:00 05 Oct 10

that I didnt have any misgivings about the individual in question.

But my point is that he hasnt been jailed for the suspected offence(s), even if you can infer that he is guilty because he kept quiet. No, he has been jailed for failing to surrender the password(s) that he used to keep supposedly private data secure. Now before I get lambasted for the 'private data' part of that statement, just think about it for a moment in more general terms. Without getting bogged down in specifics of this case, it means that there is no digital privacy to be had in this country that the state cannot pry into if it sees fit. I am mindfull of councils using anti terror laws to snoop on people to check if they are in a schools catchment area, for example.

It seems that when a power is introduced, then as sure as cats have kittens there will be abuses of that power. In a wider context, do we actually have any right to any privacy whatsoever in this country anymore?


  spuds 23:43 05 Oct 10

" do we actually have any right to any privacy".

Under the Human Rights Act article 8 it says you do, but you try convincing others and the establishments.

  Forum Editor 23:49 05 Oct 10

to any privacy whatsoever in this country anymore?"

Well, it depends on your definition of 'privacy'. If you mean the right to keep details of your personal life a secret from others - no, you don't. You've never had that 'right'.

If you mean the right to protect personal information about your name, your address, your date of birth, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, and your marital status from being published and/or distributed without your prior consent,then yes,you have a legal right to expect that information to be treated in strict confidence by anyone to whom you provide it.

The fact is, most of us are on so many databases that we have little hope of keeping ourselves 'private' in the sense you mean. It's up to each of us to protect the integrity of our personal information by taking care over who gets it.

  Kevscar1 02:23 06 Oct 10

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about.

  richierich 04:35 06 Oct 10

"If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about"
wasn't that what hitler said in the 30s when he introduced compulsory regestration of the jewish people.

  sunnystaines 07:31 06 Oct 10

magazines are a bit different to a hdd, once you smash the box your dont need a password to read the mags.

  canarieslover 13:18 06 Oct 10

He must have had a good memory because if I had a 50 character encryption password I would have to have it in a file so that I could copy 'n paste it.

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