Hand over your keys

November 15, 2007 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

Have a Brit on your must-get-even-with list? The law now makes it easy. Even better, you can do it right now, as long as you have the person’s email address.

Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) has come into force from October 2007, allowing UK police to demand encryption keys or provide a clear text transcript of encrypted text. Failure to comply can result in up to two years imprisonment (five years for terrorism offences).

One of the first people to get a notice under the Act is an animal rights activist. Despite some people calling animal rights activists a bit extreme, they hardly qualify as terrorists. The activist has posted her side of the story on Indymedia.

As an aside, the heat generated in the comments to both the stories above is amusing. There are also several practical suggestions on what recipients can do about encrypted files, like providing any clear text file and saying that’s the unencrypted file, honest.

So you’ve got nothing to lose- email your favourite Brit now and follow up with a call to the cops. To make it easier for the cops, being somewhat suspicious of their competence, the encrypted file you send should be named “this_is_encrypted.file”.

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Entry filed under: government, network, personal_info, privacy, security, UK.

Peter Gutmann on malware Everyday biometrics

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