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Backlash Against British Encryption Law

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the feel-the-love dept.

409

gardenermike writes "The BBC is reporting on some backlash against the British Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that came into force in 2000, which makes it a criminal act to refuse to decrypt files on a computer. Not surprisingly, the bugaboos of child pornography and terrorism, while unquestionably heinous, are being used to justify a law which does little to protect against either. Lord Phillips of Sudbury is quoted 'You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them, that's the road to hell.'"

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Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (5, Insightful)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911535)

Does somebody posessing some bits on a computer equal somebody who posses plans to blow me up? Obviously a crime went into the making of the file. But it's quite easy to have stuff on your hard disk that you didn't knowingly download. Should a nasty video that happen to got downloaded with something else make you a criminal? So certain bit patterns make one a felon?

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911570)

Probably the same reason rape often gets the same or more jail time than murder. Even though the first only involves a temporary loss of freedom and some unwanted intrusions that are over in a few minutes, and the other leave you *dead*.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911600)

> Probably the same reason rape often gets the same or more jail time than murder. Even though the first only involves a temporary loss of freedom and some unwanted intrusions that are over in a few minutes, and the other leave you *dead*.

But if you really wanna rack up jail time, try copyright infringement!

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (5, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911749)

Obviously a crime went into the making of the file.

Obviously? What about an image which is 100% computer generated?

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (2, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911774)

100% computer generated is protected free speech, and not illegal in the US. (Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition)

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911847)

That was in 2002. The PROTECT Act which among others makes obscene drawings of fictional children illegal was passed in 2003.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (2, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911884)

It can't. You may not understand what "protected free speech" is, and maybe congress doesn't either, but you can't just pass a new law to re-ban something that has been ruled unconstitutional.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (1, Insightful)

arbarbonif (307596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911927)

You can change the wording to get around the part that was ruled 'unconstitutional' and try to get the courts to ok this version. Oh yeah, and toss people in jail until the new law gets up to the supreme court...

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911754)

Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism?

Who the crap said it was? TFA didn't. The summary didn't. Mentioning two things in the same sentence does not imply that they are equal.

Besides, even if one did claim that the two are just as bad, they would have an argument. How many people outside Iraq's warzone were killed by terrorist acts this year? Not nearly as many as the number of kids that were exploited and are going to have screwed up lives because of these sick fuckers. To many people, child pornography is a bigger problem than terrorism.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911979)

In 2004, one of the worst recorded years for terrorism, ~9000 people were injured, and 1900 died. Sexual assaults in 2004 were about 200,000, and 44% were under 18, so about 88,000 minors. I'm not sure if I'd rather have been raped as a child or been injured by a bomb going off, but sexual assault is certainly more widespread.

*Tourism Statistics [johnstonsarchive.net]

*Child abuse statistics [rainn.org]

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (0, Flamebait)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911768)

I'm sorry, did someone compare the two because if they did I missed it.

Also, are you saying that if found possessing child pornography on your computer you shouldn't be prosecuted. The whole point of bringing a case where someone has been found to have child porn on or about them is to prove their guilt or innocence. Maybe you didn't realize what you downloaded, but I have just your word to go on, unless other proof supports your assertions. What choice would I have?

"So certain bit patterns make one a felon?" Yes, unless you want to make the data we store on our computers completely ungovernable. People seem to think that they have the right to store anything they want to on their computers, even though it might be highly illegal, just because it's "bits". Well wake up call, those bits are a photograph of a young child who had no choice in the matter. What gives you the right?

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (1, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911857)

those bits are a photograph of a young child who had no choice in the matter. What gives you the right?


I've never heard of an infant give consent to pictures being taken in the hospital. You better start hunting down all the people with evil baby pictures.

What about mainstream child actors? Isn't that even more exploitative? Most of those people turn out pretty fucked up too.

You have to admit there's a ton of hypocrisy and overreaction when it comes to this. It goes way deeper than dealing with the social harm caused by these acts.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (2, Insightful)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911949)

you are comparing photographs of children forced to do sexual acts to people taking pictures of their children in hospital or child actors?!

There is a massive amount of poorly written press when it comes to serious taboo issues like this, however comparing paedophilia to baby pictures is just plain stupid and I can't be bothered to be more polite about it then that.

It's true that some child actors grow up with problems, but if you hadn't noticed some adult actors seem to make up for lost time if they weren't famous as a child and develop their own sets. I think this is a symptom of stardom as much as anything else.

If you were wandering about the difference between baby pics and paedophile photographs, it's to do with intent. work it out.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911902)

I agree wholeheartedly. It'd be just as ridiculous if someone tried to say "why shouldn't I be allowed to own this rock of crack? It's just a bunch of atoms hanging in space."

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911932)

And if the persons possesing the bits had anything to do with producing them in the first place -- either directly or even just by creating a demand -- then there's a crime a related to the act of producing or obtaining the information.

But frankly I don't see how the information itself can be either illegal (I know that technically it is illegal, but that doesn't mean it makes any sense). If I've seen a bit of child porn, perhaps as a result of prosecuting its producers, is it illegal to metally recall that image? If not, how is the memory different than the file on a disk? What if I had a really good memory and drawing skills and repoduced the image faithfully on paper? Possession of information should never constitute a crime; the only sensible crimes are related to the production, distribution, and possibly the use of data, but never to the mere fact that it exists in some reproducable form.

Re:Why is child pornography as bad as terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911822)

you diddle kids

Just a Continuation of McCarthyism Tactics (5, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911542)

Any time you disagree with the latest reduction of your civil liberties by government, it must be because you are hiding something. If you disagreed with the tactics of Joe McCarthy, it must have been because you were a pinko. If you don't want your phone calls listened to, you must be a terrorist. If you disagree with this law, its because you are a kiddie porn collector.

Re:Just a Continuation of McCarthyism Tactics (2, Insightful)

fair_n_hite_451 (712393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911713)

It's the establishments continuing evolution of a kind of "reverse Godwin's Law" designed to end all arguements. I think they feel like when they trot this out, you lose because there is no place to stand that they feel they can't paint as "morally ambiguous".

Re:Just a Continuation of McCarthyism Tactics (3, Insightful)

drakyri (727902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911743)

Too right. With this sort of system, the average citizen is damned both if they comply and if they refuse to.

People fear terrorism, which is what this law was probably meant to address. Unfortunately, with this sort of law in place, people still fear terrorism - and begin to fear their own government.

One of the primary roles of any government is to protect the interests of its citizens on at least the most basic levels. But in pursuing their safety, there are lines that ought not be crossed. There is no way - none - to ensure that people are completely safe. We could encase our citizens in underground cells of concrete, steel and lead shielding, but this is still no bar to someone slipping in the shower.

Just because safety is essentially unattainable doesn't mean that it's a bad goal - it's not - but it ought not be treated as paramount, and permitted to reduce civil liberties.

It's another thing to be afraid of hunters (5, Insightful)

Petskull (650178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911778)

I read something here [slashdot.org] a long time ago, and I think I'll repost it in it's entirety because it's just that important:

"If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

Ever heard that one? I work in information security, so I have heard it more than my fair share. I've always hated that reasoning, because I am a little bit paranoid by nature, something which serves me very well in my profession. So my standard response to people who have asked that question near me has been "because I'm paranoid." But that doesn't usually help, since most people who would ask that question see paranoia as a bad thing to begin with. So for a long time I've been trying to come up with a valid, reasoned, and intelligent answer which shoots the holes in the flawed logic that need to be there.

And someone unknowingly provided me with just that answer today. In a conversation about hunting, somebody posted this about prey animals and hunters:
"Yeah! Hunters don't kill the *innocent* animals - they look for the shifty-eyed ones that are probably the criminal element of their species!"
but in a brilliant (and very funny) retort, someone else said:
"If they're not guilty, why are they running?"

Suddenly it made sense, that nagging thing in the back of my head. The logical reason why a reasonable dose of paranoia is healthy. Because it's one thing to be afraid of the TRUTH. People who commit murder or otherwise deprive others of their Natural Rights are afraid of the TRUTH, because it is the light of TRUTH that will help bring them to justice.

But it's another thing entirely to be afraid of hunters. And all too often, the hunters are the ones proclaiming to be looking for TRUTH. But they are more concerned with removing any obstactles to finding the TRUTH, even when that means bulldozing over people's rights (the right to privacy, the right to anonymity) in their quest for it. And sadly, these people often cannot tell the difference between the appearance of TRUTH and TRUTH itself. And these, the ones who are so convinced they have found the TRUTH that they stop looking for it, are some of the worst oppressors of Natural Rights the world has ever known.

They are the hunters, and it is right and good for the prey to be afraid of the hunters, and to run away from them. Do not be fooled when a hunter says "why are you running from me if you have nothing to hide?" Because having something to hide is not the only reason to be hiding something.

Re:It's another thing to be afraid of hunters (5, Insightful)

Petskull (650178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911844)

I forgot to add this from here [slashdot.org]

3. Because there are lots of little things we do every day that break the rules. These include: j-walking, downloading MP3's, subletting without telling your landlord, recording sporting events without express written concent, undocumented domestic help, recreational drug use, stealing cable, logging on to other people's wireless networks, "leaking" company information to your girlfriend, anything besides the missionary position (in many states), cheating on your wife (in many states), rolling stops on empty streets, u-turns in the middle of empty streets, locking your bicycle to the handrailing, lying about your age to get into movies, lying about your age to get senior citizens discounts, lying about your age to avoid getting senior citizens discounts, telling your company that you're "sick" when you really mean you're "sick and tired of this crappy job," not reporting e-bay sales as taxable income, grabbing an extra newspaper when someone else buys one from the machine, putting chairs in the street to save your parking spot, stealing office supplies, stealing the towels, littering, loitering, the office NCAA pool, etc etc. All of these are necessary for the functioning of our society in some way or another, but are illegal. Yet we would go batshit insane without a few personal pet vices.

And the system has been built with this in mind: nobody wants to stop your weekly 5$ poker match, they wanted to stop the gambling houses where people lost their rent money. Enforce the letter of the law, and the intent of the law gets lost.

Re:It's another thing to be afraid of hunters (2, Insightful)

arbarbonif (307596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911899)

I always go for the 'Oh, really? So what is your credit card number? Do you have a daughter? What path does she take home from school? Is there a nice secluded grove of trees along that route? What do you have to hide if you are not a terrorist?' angle myself. It's much the same as the hunter analogy, but it's a little more personal that way.

People on the 'What do you have to hide?' bandwagon always seem to assume that it is GUILTY things I want to keep secret...

Re:Just a Continuation of McCarthyism Tactics (1)

Horus1664 (692411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911782)

This is absolutely spot on. I'm sure there must be a rapidly growing number of people in the UK, despite being known for our relaxed attitude to problems and adversity, that are thoroughly fed up with this continuous 'knee-jerk' reaction from our Government to draft bad laws (badly !?) while treating any/all criticism with the same supercilious disdain, or perhaps even worse earnest superiority.

The sad thing is that these people really do not understand that to anyone that knows the subject they appear crass and deeply ignorant. The unfortunate fact is that even if they do realise they clearly don't (need to) care because they are the people in power and we are (largely) power-less to prevent ill-conceived measure after ill-conceived measure being introduced in the name of 'our safety'.

As I sit frustrated typing words that will probably end up on some professional snoopers database somewhere (we're extremely good at that in the UK, even the NSA & CIA learn from these guys) I actually worry more for my children and their children because by the time I'm outta here at the present rate of progress Big Brother's even Bigger Brother will be in every part of our lives.

Re:Just a Continuation of McCarthyism Tactics (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911809)

Here are my favorites in the genre:

If you disagree with copyright laws you are just a thief.
If you disagree with drug laws you are just a junkie who wants to smoke dope.
If you disagree with laws setting arbitrary speed limits you are just a bad driver.

Hit the costume store (5, Funny)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911546)

Guy Fawkes masks in 4...3...2..

Re:Hit the costume store (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911670)

it would be intresting to get people to randomly walk around with them..

just for fun..

Re:Hit the costume store (4, Insightful)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911808)

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people."

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911550)

Backslash? I thought the article was under IT? MY BRAIN!

Freedom to All! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911558)

That's why I'm with Captain America [marvel.com] !

Lord Phillips (4, Funny)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911561)

Lord Phillips of Sudbury is quoted 'You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them, that's the road to hell.'"
Because when I want somebody's ideas on what comprises a democracy, I ask somebody with a peerage.

Re:Lord Phillips (5, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911617)

Actually, since the House of Lords don't have to chase after votes all the time, they help chuck out all the stupid knee-jerk laws the House of Commons come up with to make it look like they are doing something important. It's a useful component of a democratic system that mitigates one of the downsides of democracy - that the elected representatives are concerned with appearances more than the well-being of the country.

Re:Lord Phillips (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911640)

hear, hear

Re:Lord Phillips (4, Funny)

Wooster_UK (963894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911699)

Or, given that we're talking the Lords, *snore* "what? oh, hyah, hyah" *snore*.

Re:Lord Phillips (5, Insightful)

eipgam (945201) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911668)

Absolutely, as ironic as it may seem given I support decomcracy, I'm a huge fan of the House of Lords. It's an important check on Parliament, particularly given that hereditary peers have essentially been phased out and the only new members of the chamber will be those appointed by government - in fact quite a few experts in their particular fields get appointed. The US has the same idea with the Senate v the House of Representatives (although the Senate is elected), with the Senate being the more "measured" of the two.

Lets hope that Parliament doesn't further castrate the House of Lords with its latest reforms of the lower chamber.

Re:Lord Phillips (4, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911753)

The US has the same idea with the Senate v the House of Representatives (although the Senate is elected), with the Senate being the more "measured" of the two.

What most people - even Americans - don't know is that in fact the Senate was not originally elected at all. It was filled with the appointees of states legislatures (two from each state), who could fill the appointments however they best saw fit. It wasn't until the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, made during an era of populist progressivism in 1913, that the Senate became filled by direct election.

Personally, I think it is an open question whether this particular reform has been a net positive or negative.

Re:Lord Phillips (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911853)

Personally, I think it is an open question whether this particular reform has been a net positive or negative.

I don't think it's a question at all. I think it's been very negative because it eliminated the voice that state governments had in the federal government, allowing the federal government to run roughshod over the states. The fact that senators were appointed by (and could be recalled by!) their respective states was another way of setting the components of government in opposition to one another. By making senators popularly elected, we significantly reduced the strength of one of the "checks and balances" built into the system.

Re:Lord Phillips (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911936)

I was being charitable to those who would argue in favor of direct democracy - but I agree with you, 100%.

Re:Lord Phillips (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911897)

Personally, I think it is an open question whether this particular reform has been a net positive or negative.

I don't -- I think it's a negative, right along with electors being chosen by popular vote (it ought to be done by the state legislatures).

As far as modifications to our government's structure go, I do think the Presidential term limits are a good thing, and that the concept ought to be expanded to cover Congress as well. Of course, it might be useful only to limit congressmen to two consecutive terms (i.e., they could sit out a term and then run for reelection as a challenger instead of an incumbent).

Re:Lord Phillips (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911820)

US senators were originally chosen by the State legislatures, it wasn't until the 17th Amendment was fully ratified in 1913 that popular election of senators became practise.

Arguably things have gone downhill since, althought the 6-year term for senators vs 2 years for representatives does help a bit -- the latter are pretty much campaigning all the time.

Re:Lord Phillips (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911760)

Indeed. They serve roles a bit like the US Supreme Court (a seat on which is much like a life peerage to the Law Lords) and the US Senate. The Senate's 6-year term is designed to give it some of the same moderating effect, in that they're not continuously campaigning.

The House of Lords does not often overturn bills; they see their job is to oversee the House of Commons, not compete with them. But I think that having them there has a moderating effect on the bills that are put into play.

Re:Lord Phillips (2, Interesting)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911961)

Our senate was designed not to be elected by the people thus not directly influenced by mob mentality that the house suffers from, they were suppose to be appointed by the state government. But certain amdendment changed all that and fucked up system. So now we get all these feel good laws, and since there is no balance(senate being really controlled by the state government), congress has taken lot of power away from the states.

Re:Lord Phillips (2, Insightful)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911641)

Perhaps that is a bit ironic, but he does seem to have a better grasp of how to maintain liberty and democracy than many elected leaders.

Re:Lord Phillips (2, Informative)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911675)

Because when I want somebody's ideas on what comprises a democracy, I ask somebody with a peerage.

That's fair comment, but it's worth pointing out the first elected parliament was instigated by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, in England in 1265. So arguably modern parliamentary democracy was invented by someone with a peerage ;).

Re:Lord Phillips (2, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911676)

Actually, I thought he was quite eloquent.

It really better to look at the substance of what people say rather than peg them to a stereotype.

Re:Lord Phillips (4, Informative)

Triskele (711795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911704)

Because when I want somebody's ideas on what comprises a democracy, I ask somebody with a peerage.
He's a Life Peer not an inherited aristocrat (we've mostly got rid of those, thank you). You can find the details of what lead to his nomination here [libdems.org.uk] .

The closest parallel I can think of would be one of your Chief Justices... They provide some oversight on Parliament's legislation, tend to be less bound by party politics and rarely bothered by winning votes.

Personally, given the parlous state of your nation, I'd think twice about throwing jibes around about democracy.

Re:Lord Phillips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911755)

He's a Life Peer not an inherited aristocrat (we've mostly got rid of those, thank you).

Given the choice between randomly selected peers and ones appointed or voted in, I'd take random any day. It would be better if it was genuinely random but genetics is a substitute. Many of the life peers are richer than the life peers were.

No shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911816)

Personally, given the parlous state of your nation, I'd think twice about throwing jibes around about democracy

I just watched Lord of War . . . there's a great scene there where the movie's stand-in for Charles Taylor of Liberia tosses a newspaper in front of Nicholas Cage's character, circa Election 2000, and says more or less that he feels much more secure in power now because our "kangaroo court" has made a mockery of Democracy, and now the United States must "shut up forever" its criticism of his own country's dubious democratic processes. All I could think of was ouch! that hurt.

Stand (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911568)

This is one of the reasons that Stand [stand.org.uk] formed, way back when. I remember writing to my Member of Parliament, trying to argue against the Bill's usefulness. It was forwarded to Charles Clarke, who replied in boilerplate about the risks of terrorism, fraud, child porn, and all the things that are as irrelevant today as they were then.

If they could get the provisions approved in 2000, then it'll be even easier for them in the "post September 11th world".

Fifth amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911571)

I guess they don't really have the fifth amendment. Like here.

Re:Fifth amendment (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911696)

" guess they don't really have the fifth amendment. Like here"

yea i hate to point it out.. but i think we don't have one either

rejecting laws repugnant to principles (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911582)

Lord Phillips of Sudbury is quoted 'You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them, that's the road to hell.'"
Way to go Lord Phillips. There is hope in this world after all.

Won't work.. (4, Insightful)

stillmatic (874559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911611)

Because you are going to decrypt your terrorist documents to avoid a slap on the wrist?

Re:Won't work.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911786)

Strangely, I suspect I would very rapidly forgot the password, encryption key, encryption method and everything else related to decrypting the file...

No Clue

Our Beloved government... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911619)

Sine New Labour came to power back in 1997, we have had more laws passed relating to Criminality thane ever before.
It is widely acknoweledged that many of these laws are badly thought out and despite the attempts of the House of Lords to revise them, they are actually inneffectual and sometimes impossible to enforce by both the Police and the Courts.
This is one of those laws.
There was huge amounts of SPIN associated with its passage through parliament. Sort of like "This law will save the world"

Now, just a few years later (in legal terms this is still a new law) we get this ack that it is not all it was cracked up to be.

No, what professions did our beloved leaded follow before he became a politician?

He was a barrister. So is his wfie.
So, I ask you, why can't a TWO lawyer family make sure that they get more appropriate laws passed?
The reason is that bad laws make for lots of money coming the way of lawyers who make the bad laws in the first place.
A self perpetuating circle.

I'm posting this annon as I don't want a knock on the door at 04:00 tomorrow from our esteemed police force.

Re:Our Beloved government... (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911688)

I'm posting this annon as I don't want a knock on the door at 04:00 tomorrow from our esteemed police force.
Too bad you don't live in a free country [firstgov.gov] .

Heinous? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911643)

the bugaboos of child pornography ... while unquestionably heinous
Sure they are, sure they are ... you're playing right into the hands of the police state. Sure, child pornography is REALLY REALLY EVIL! Certainly, children are not at all sexual and have no sexual thoughts or desires until the day they turn 18! The 1st amendment only applies to free expression and art that middle class Christians approve of! Each and every time somebody looks at a child being given sexual pleasure, that child is directly abused. This right-wing puritanical society makes me sick.

Re:Heinous? (3, Interesting)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911682)

I have always thought that the offence of statutory rape should be redefined.

There were some figures in the guardian today showing most girls in the UK lost their virginity at 15/16, whereas for boys it was 6 months - 1 year later. Presumably reflecting delayed sexual development.

if ~ 1/3 of UK girls are losing their virginity at 15 then thats an awful lot of statutory rape.

Re:Heinous? (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911978)

Generally in US at least, Statutory rape generally does not apply if two people are with 3 years of each other in age. Statutory rape laws protect 15 year old from a 23 year old.

Re:Heinous? (4, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911806)

The 1st amendment only applies to free expression and art that middle class Christians approve of!

Um, what? This thread is about a UK law, and thus has nothing to do with the American First amendment.

Re:Heinous? (1, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911850)

I'm sure that 8 year old really wanted to have sex with her uncle...

Re:Heinous? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911917)

I know you're trying to be sarcastic, and there's an awful lot of instances of underage, incestual rape, but what if she actually did and happened to be a relatively mature and well informed child (and even, shock horror, enjoyed it!) ? The only reason this is unthinkable is because of irrational taboo, not because of reason. The puritancial right want to restrict sex as much as possible, and they start with young adults/children because it's easier.

If you're going to argue, please use reason and not emotive rhetoric.

Suggested compromise (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911646)

Rather than making it a crime to not decrypt encrypted files, they could go the positive incentive route. For example, they could, if Joe Blow unlocks his uncrypted files for them, ensure nothing bad will happen to his kids, such as them being forced to perform sex acts on the chief of police.

The entire family has this problem. (2, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911665)

"Joe Blow unlocks his uncrypted files for them, ensure nothing bad will happen to his kids, such as them being forced to perform sex acts on the chief of police."

With such a surname, this might be a problem that everyone in this family might run into.

Re:The entire family has this problem. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911913)

...and it could have been a worse example: Joe Bleauxkaapz

implications for programming. (2, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911647)

I suppose it makes coding in APL [faqs.org] (without documentation) a crime.

Securing power and control, not liberty... (1, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911656)

Lord Phillips of Sudbury is quoted 'You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them, that's the road to hell.'

What people need to understand is that the current administrations (both in the U.K. and in the U.S.) are not trying to secure the liberty of their respective countries. They're trying to secure their own power and the power of their paymasters (the big multinational corporations). They're intentionally turning both countries into fascist police states, step by step.

I'd say the U.K. is in the lead on that one, but only by a small margin.

The worst thing about it is that once you lose your liberties in this way, you almost never get them back except through bloody revolution, which is something that can no longer succeed thanks to the technological situation (which concentrates much more killing power in the hands of the government than it did back in the 1700's when most of the democratic revolutions took place). That means the loss is essentially permanent.

Enjoy what freedom you have left. I won't last,

Re:Securing power and control, not liberty... (1)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911673)

Enjoy what freedom you have left. I won't last,

Er, it won't last.

Sigh...

Re:Securing power and control, not liberty... (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911710)

The worst thing about it is that once you lose your liberties in this way, you almost never get them back except through bloody revolution, which is something that can no longer succeed thanks to the technological situation (which concentrates much more killing power in the hands of the government than it did back in the 1700's when most of the democratic revolutions took place).
I know.

Just look how quickly and effectively we put down the pan-Islamist uprising in Iraq.

Re:Securing power and control, not liberty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911930)

You should concentrate on the can no longer succeed part.

Re:Securing power and control, not liberty... (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15912005)

You should concentrate on the can no longer succeed part.
Did we win and I missed the memo?

Re:Securing power and control, not liberty... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911824)

The worst thing about it is that once you lose your liberties in this way, you almost never get them back except through bloody revolution, which is something that can no longer succeed thanks to the technological situation (which concentrates much more killing power in the hands of the government than it did back in the 1700's when most of the democratic revolutions took place). That means the loss is essentially permanent.

Yes, that's why the US has been so sucessful stopping the insergency in Iraq. Also, that's just what every facist state wants, to eliminate all of the citizens. No, its never permantely lost. I think if 150 million people decided to actively fight, they'd overcome, dispite the fact that the other half has nukes. Indeed, just the willingness to use nukes against your own 'brothers' may cause more to defect to the other side.

Re:Securing power and control, not liberty... (2)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911990)

Indeed - I think that Americans most of all should not forget that those in the military services have sworn an oath to, above all else, "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Most of them take that seriously.

Why not... (3, Interesting)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911662)

...just name your encrypted files random.xx, and claim that they are not encrypted at all? They are just local entropy bits you consume for testing software.

Re:Why not... (1)

introp (980163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911742)

Even better, use TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] and create a hidden volume within an encrypted volume. You decode the "dummy" volume for the investigators and, for shame, it has merely a racy picture in it. The real data is hidden in the "random" unused data elsewhere on that volume.

Hidden TrueCrypt Volumes (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911836)

But how do TrueCrypt volumes look to a forensic tool with regard to the mere *amount* of data they contain?

If a 16GB volume reveals only ~1mb of racy pics after you meet their decryption demands, you can bet they'll apply some force towards determining the probability of hidden contents being present after the outer container is revealed. How strong is the deniability of having further data present?

Re:Hidden TrueCrypt Volumes (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911968)

100%: it looks like random noise. Well, of course nobody would go around with a 16GB encrypted partition in order to store just 2 MP3s but, after you comply with their demands, there's not much more they can ask you to do.

Re:Why not... (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911904)

There are all sorts of clever tricks you could use to obfuscate your data, but if you don't want to live in a society where you have to use them now is the time to put a stop to this sort of bullshit. Courage, brother.

Re:Why not... (1)

Iambic Pentametor (155674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911980)

Better yet:

Let M be the message you want to make secure.
Encrypt M with *your favorite crypto system* to produce M'.
Insert decryption key after N bytes (memorized this number) to make M''.
Create a zip file (A) of some innocent files so that it is the same size as M''.
Create a one-time pad (P)
XOR M'' with P to create E (doubly encrypted).
XOR E with A to create P'.
Save E on your hard drive.
Burn P and P' to CDs.
Store them in separate secure locations.

If asked, give the authorities P'. They'll only get the innocent files.

As comapred to the US? (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911666)

Lord Phillips of Sudbury is quoted 'You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them, that's the road to hell.'
Funny, I thought that was the road to Washington, DC.

Maybe it's the history of the British fight against the IRA, but it seems to me that the British people have been a little more tolerant of state intrusion than Americans. What I infer is happening now is that the overboard Orwellianism of the current British government is reaching a tipping point where a lot of Brits are wondering, "How much is too much?".

Unfortunately, in the US, I think we're nowhere close to that tipping point yet... and quite honestly, I'm not sure that a majority of the public is aware of how little freedom[1] they have, nor of how long it will take for that mindset to change.

At any rate, It's good to see that someone is vocally taking a stance (won't happen by a major figure in the US; too much conserative/moderate vote-pandering -- heaven forbid you're 'weak on terra').

[1] Besides the obvious encroachments on our traditional liberties, what about the freedom to elect whom we choose? Corporate sponsorship of candidates, the two-party system; these all contribute to mass disenfranchisement (never mind about vote tabulation fraud and individual disenfranchisements).

Re:As comapred to the US? (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911887)

[1] Besides the obvious encroachments on our traditional liberties, what about the freedom to elect whom we choose? Corporate sponsorship of candidates, the two-party system; these all contribute to mass disenfranchisement (never mind about vote tabulation fraud and individual disenfranchisements).

You left out the biggest one of them all -- gerrymandering. I don't have the cite handy, but I'm pretty sure that somewhere well north of 80% of all federal offices are gerrymandered in the USA.

For all it's worth... (1)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911686)

Encrypted data is much easier to hide than non-encripted data. Just like terrorists or paedophiles have "wised-up" and started encrypting, they might just as easily develop techniques for hiding their stuff.

A law like this might help them with a couple of cases, but ultimately will become less and less useful against the worst criminals.

Simple enough (2, Informative)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911708)

Some one needs to mod GPG to include Steganography [wikipedia.org]

One password decrypts to unimportant data, the other provides your true payload.

Then when they demand your password, you give them the first one. You have met the law and have plausible deniability.

Re:Simple enough (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911766)

They have this... its called "True Crypt". Check it out, it supports many algorithms, as well hidden slices requiring a second password.

jail anyone (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911712)

It's great, this law gives the police an opportunity to put anyone they want in prison.

(1) Grab someone's computer.

(2) Find a binary file containing more-or-less random data, or pick an image on their machine and claim it has stegonometric data embedded in it.

(3) Demand the password for this "data".

(4) Jail the "miscreant" when he claims he doesn't know.

Dude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911831)

If there has been one New Labour contribution to our system of justice, it has been to make sure that the burden of proof is as light as possible. One may now be arrested for things that were never arrestable offences... and have to give a DNA sample. Lovely.

Is this wrong? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911722)

I would like to know, in what way is this law different from court warrant powers demanding one open up their home or safe to police holding said warrant? To refuse law enforcement means risking contempt of court or possibly obstruction of justice. So the government now gets to demand information locked up in a different way. But in what way are the powers of law enforcement different between searching physical property with a warrant vs. digital files?

Re:Is this wrong? (1)

Triskele (711795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911798)

I would like to know, in what way is this law different from court warrant powers demanding one open up their home or safe to police holding said warrant?
I think this is an important point. An awful lot of legislation that goes into our books is badly thought out, but worse, is usually already covered by existing legislation. And as you point out, at the end of the day, a court can insist on you decrypting your data and if you refuse, you risk contempt of court (which is far more serious than it sounds).

Re:Is this wrong? (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911898)

They can search your computer with the same warrant powers, this forces you to incriminate yourself. by divulging something you know that can lead to damming evidence. It's possible to break nearly all forms of encryption given time and computational power so if the government realy wants in they can get in but they would have to actualy do work to do so. For a real terrorist investigation they will break the ciphers for joe blow with some kiddy porn they probably wouldent bother. Besides what terrorist is going to give up the passwords to there network vs a couple years tops on some contempt charges? realy anybody with something damming on the computer is going to take the lesser of two evils and keep there passwords private.

Re:Is this wrong? (2, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911975)

"They can search your computer with the same warrant powers, this forces you to incriminate yourself. by divulging something you know that can lead to damming evidence.

And how is that different from the police searching your home with a warrant? Suppose they found a murder weapon in your home that you knew of? Is "allowing" them to search thus incriminating yourself as well? No. Self incrimination only refers to speech under oath. Further, you can be compelled to self-incriminating speech (here in the US) upon being subpoenaed and given immunity for prosecution. The fifth amendment article against self-incrimination is not as broad as you believe.

Deviant alternative (2, Informative)

works (995530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911738)

In case you do want to crypt your files and when forced by an official of this oppressive regime to decrypt them, you make sure that you use TrueCrypt http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org] From the page: Provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password: 1) Hidden volume. 2) No TrueCrypt volume can be identified (volumes cannot be distinguished from random data). So with one password you can open a volume that 'appears' to be what you needed to encrypt, but still hides the files that you intended to crypt in the first place. Good free software, perfect for us working with laptops.

Stupid laws, not so stupid people (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911746)

As I was saying elsewhere [reddit.com] , the UK has a history of passing stupid laws, and then having the rest of the country ignore or bypass them.

For example, we have a law saying that all schools must provide daily worship of a predominantly Christian nature. Over three-quarters of schools in the country are simply breaking the law [bbc.co.uk] or finding loopholes [bbc.co.uk] . As a result, the law is being relaxed [bbc.co.uk] , and will probably be disposed of entirely before long.

If you are approaching this from an American perspective, where bad laws like the DMCA are routinely enforced, then I can see how this might be considered an absolute disaster in terms of liberty. But from a British perspective, it's just another law to be ignored, and if anybody tries to use it, there'll be an uproar. As things stand, it hasn't even been used and there's already a backlash that has reached the House of Lords.

Exactly... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911966)

It's one of the things that genuinely scares me about people in the US, that they will blindly follow any law no matter how stupid, ill-conceived or intrusive.

Here in the UK, we will follow the law, unless it's inconvenient (speed limits), unpopular (drug laws), badly thought-out (foxhunting ban) or merely obscure (did you know that all men in England are required to practice archery for an afternoon a week? Not required in Scotland, Wales or NI, and possibly repealed in England now).

False payload encryption (2, Interesting)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911773)

What about an encryption/compression scheme where the cyphertext decrypts to one, two or more different plaintexts depending on the password provided? The scheme should actually fill the cyphertext with lots of random data, so no clues are given towards the number of encrypted payloads contained.

Why would anyone give over? (4, Insightful)

jtroutman (121577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911845)

How stiff are the penalties for not decrypting the files? If the offense that the criminal has ostensibly committed (terrorism and paedophilia were the two mentioned in the article) carries a hefty jail sentence, wouldn't they be likely to say, "Okay, I'll take the six months for not letting you see my files", rather than the more severe punishment their crime deserves?

Constitutionality (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911872)

(RIPA) that came into force in 2000, which makes it a criminal act to refuse to decrypt files on a computer

If such a thing is really constitutional, then it should also be constitutional to demand that anyone accused of murder turn over the body or imprision them forever in contempt of court. You'd just better pray that you actually did commit the murder, or you may never get out.

Double Decryption Key (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911926)

What you need is a double decryption key. Decrypts your files one way with one key, and into something innocuous when decrypted by a second key.

Di3k (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15911928)

was in the tea I codebase became new faces and Many poor priorities,

What nonesense is this? (1)

Azeron (797264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15911964)

It is perfectly reasonable for the government to demand a key to obatin evidence upon a reciept of a warrent signed by a judge for a criminal investigation. Where in the world does anyone get the idea that don't have an obligation to comply with a lawful court order?

Does the poster believe thate people have the right to flout thier obligation to hand over evidence demanded by the governmnet or by the orther party in a civil proceeding.
Yes I can image how this line of reasoning would have worked in the Enron case,
Ken Lay> Ohh no, we have to give the prosecutor our finanical records, which will implicate us in a multi billion dollar stock fraud scheme
Lawyer>No you don't, all you have to do is encrypt them and refuse to hand over the keys!!
Ken Lay>Brilliant!!

Whawt kind of freedom is that when you deny victims of crimes and torts access to the information they lawfully demand? Sounds more like tyranny to me.

I for 1 appluad the British for standing up for justice over deranged cries of lost liberty.
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