The Day Privacy Died?

November 14, 2007

Day Three: Update One

Reported today on the register encryption key disclosure situation has arisen. For seven years, since 2000, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA, link here), has technically been law. Section III states that if you have encrypted files on your computer you must hand over the key to unlock if there is reasonable suspicion that these files can be used in the investigation. An anonymous post (here) documents the experience. This is a very interesting and provocative point. Back in 2000 when RIPA received royal assent, section III was seen as the final intrusion into the privacy of the individual. Whilst it is documented in law that you must put the encrypted documents in a readable form, it is not necessary to provide the key if you have already done this. This does raise an worrying idea, if the law enforcement agencies are demanding encryption keys for all data on a specified hard drive, does this means that unrelated information can catalogued and used in evidence against you?

Paul

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