back to article Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

A convicted terrorist will serve additional time in jail after he was found guilty of refusing to supply police with the password for a memory stick that they could not crack. Syed Farhan Hussain, 22, from Luton, was handed a four-month sentence at the Old Bailey on Tuesday after a jury took just 19 minutes to deliver the …

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Boffin

Ironically, given the likely time to brute force a 12 char pass-phrase and the promise of quantum devices, the logical approach is not bothering to start.

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You must understand that quantum devices are of no fecking use against good old 3DES or any symmetric cipher.

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Anonymous Coward

I still don't get how it can be legal to try and force someone to talk. That's all this is really, a law that says "if you don't give us evidence against you, it means you are guilty".

You'd think the lawyer would have bothered to contest that particular law ....

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You'd think the lawyer would have bothered to contest that particular law ...

If it's Law then it's law and there is no point in contesting it in this court. What needs to be done is to have the law itself contested in the High Court.

But you will need only one guess to work out how that will turn out.

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Anonymous Coward

Innocent until proven guilty

Yeah, we're not doing that anymore in England and Wales. Dumb fuckwits thought "innocent until proven or assumed guilty" would give their judicial system better conviction rates, so they could claim they were being "tough on the causes of crime".

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-incrimination#English_.26_Welsh_law

I'm afraid it's like much of the CJS nowadays, it has abolsutely nothing to do with Justice anymore, it's about serving the interests of those who are members of it.

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Regardless of the morality or ethicity of the law, a barrister (as this is the UK) doesn't have any (strong) grounds to contest the law as it has been passed into law by both houses of parliament including a declaration from the home secretary stating that it complies with the human right act.

There's always the option of going to the European Courts of Justice to get them to declare that actually it doesn't comply with the human rights act but that will take more than 4 months and a convicted terrorist probably isn't the best poster child for that campaign

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The Golden Thread

If you are a fan of Rumpole of the Bailey, you'll remember his waxing lyrical over the Golden Thread that ran through British justice. These were:

- The right to silence

- The presumption of innocence and the fact that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution

- The right not to be tried twice for the same offence.

Pillars of justice that had stood for centuries were removed in the space of about 10 years between 1994 and 2004 after terrorist attacks that killed, in this country, rather fewer than the number dying in road accidents in two weeks. Rumpole's Golden Thread is no more.

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Pint

Re: The Golden Thread

+1 for Rumpole ref.

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Anonymous Coward

Regardless of the morality or ethicity of the law, a barrister (as this is the UK) doesn't have any (strong) grounds to contest the law

How about the English Bill of rights "excessive bail" and "cruel and unusual punishments" provisions. Locking someone up for refusing to hand over what amounts to a word, must surely class as excessive bail.

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Re: The Golden Thread

@ Richard Barnes

But those rules dont work against the current threats to our lives. We are now facing some of the worst terrorists you can possibly imagine, we used to call them the people. And of course to ensure every potential criminal can be identified we must remove the rights of the terrorists (formally known as the people) so we can identify which ones need arresting now or can be controlled under whatever government takes over.

This is a sick situation where the people have their protection stripped from them in the name of protecting them. And regardless of our faith in current governments (if we have it) is leaving us open to abuse by a future gov

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Re: The Golden Thread

"is leaving us open to abuse by a future gov"

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always get in.

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.

-- Edward Abbey "

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Generally in UK law the last bill passed takes precedence and implicitly amends the previous bill - the basic principle is that parliament can't be bound by decisions of past parliaments.

There's a couple of exceptions such as the Human Rights Act which explicitly has wording in that says it can't be implicitly amended instead parliament have to explicitly state that they are amending it in the later passed legislation (which they can do - although that may then be violating treaty obligations which could cause other political but not actually legal issues).

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No constitution, remember...? @BongoJoe

> have the law itself contested in the High Court

Your post reads as if you are used to living in a jurisdiction where the legislation is framed by a constitution, e.g. the United States of America? We in the UK do not. There is no analogue of a Federal Judge or Supreme Court declaring a law to be unconstitutional, for the good and sufficient reason that the United Kingdom does not have a constitution. We have a constitutional monarchy, sure, which means [1] that any bill that Parliament can persuade the Queen to sign becomes an Act, and the operative law, i.e. in this case the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. There is no mechanism to petition a court, crying "Not fair!".

In the US, RIPA would be declared incompatible with the Constitution as amended by the 5th Amendment. Not here.

[1] Gross oversimplification warning!

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Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

It's the same as "failure to provide a breath test specimen", and I'm sure it's not coinicdence that the punishment happens to be the same as drink driving.

>>That's all this is really, a law that says "if you don't give us evidence against you, it means you are guilty".

Nope, the way the law is, is means "if you don't give us the means to easily gather evidence, it means you are guilty of not allowing us to easily gather evidence".

Personally, I suspect that they wanted to firstly convict him of something easily provable (not supplying the key) which gives them time to build a subsequent case around what they have already found, this buys them lots of time.

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@ Sir Runcible Spoon

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always get in.

Or alternatively, "The House always wins"

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Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

I struggle to see what is wrong with this law. This is just an extension of the law to take account of technology. Just as the court can issue a warrant to allow a search of premises for evidence, the same applies to encrypted information.

In any event, in this case, I definitely can’t see what is wrong the defendant has already been convicted of terrorism offences.

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Re: The Golden Thread

On the otherhand Rumpole didn't lift a finger to stop Jimmy Savile.

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@Mole 13:11

Worse cases than that have won the blessing of the European Court.

But what a contempt for English law and England the terrorist showed. Could not remember his password, until suddenly he could. He would deserve to be jailed for contempt, even if the RIPA law did not exist. I hope we can throw him out one day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Innocent until proven guilty

The other disgusting aspect of our law as it's developed over the last 20 years or so is the trick of turning a non-criminal act into a criminal one by creating a (potential) crime via an ASBO. I see the current Government have, unsurprisingly, some even more illiberal proposals in the pipeline.

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Re: The Golden Thread

I agree with Rumpole. But without a law making suspects reveal passwords, it is hard to see how any investigation could progress. Previous laws were written before electronic encrypted data became widespread, as was Rumpole.

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Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

"I struggle to see what is wrong with this law. This is just an extension of the law to take account of technology. Just as the court can issue a warrant to allow a search of premises for evidence, the same applies to encrypted information."

<snip>

Yes a court can issue a warrant. In this case we are obliged without any warrant and at the whim of an officer to allow access to private data. I would have no problems if due process took place and I was then legally obliged to supply a key or password. At the moment a bloke in a pub with a warrant card can do it.

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Stop

Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

A section 49 request, which may then lead to prosecution under section 53 has to authorised in the same way as a search warrant.

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Re: how it can be legal to try and force someone to talk.

Legal is easy, you pass a law saying so, provided you don't have some higher framework law that prohibits said law. Fairness is a whole other issue.

That being said, even in places where you have those protections prior to conviction, once you've been convicted you tend to lose most of those rights. In the US which does have a higher thresholds against a number of these invasions, a paroled prisoner is subject to search by any law enforcement officer without the requirement that a warrant by issued. Similarly free movement is also restricted as is free association (hangout with other previously convicted felons will earn you a quick trip back to the pen).

Given the terror conviction, it seems reasonable that he lost the right to protect the data on the drive.

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Headmaster

Contempt

Contempt for others is a nasty condition to fall into but is not a crime. Trying to injure and kill people is a crime, as is hindering a police investigation. The guy was jailed for those crimes.

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Re: The Golden Thread

The real solution to stop terrorism is to stop doing what is causing them to be created by the UK, US of A, France, ........ and stop selling them weapons.

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@Jonathan Richards 1 Re: No constitution, remember...? @BongoJoe

You're correct that we don't have a document called "The Constitution", but you aren't correct that we don't have a constitution. A constitution is simply that which constitutes a thing - and we have that in spades. We have the founding documents of the modern United Kingdom, the Parliamentary Bill of Rights and a few other bits and pieces of legislation and treaty, and accompanying that we have legal precedent as set by the courts over about a thousand years.

Together the form our constitution - they constitute the legal foundation of Parliament and grant its authority to govern by the will of the people.

Up until about seventy years ago it was common for people of a certain sort to discuss British constitutional issues. Knowledge of the constitution of our nation was taught widely and in rather great depth. Not any more. The lack of knowledge of our constitution allows the current governments to sweep away huge swathes of our ancient liberties without even bothering to convince us why, and people aren't able to properly protest because they've accepted the idea that we have no constitutional body of law defining the limits of Parliament's power, and outlining the source of that power.

On top of that: courts can and do overturn legislation all the time. Our legal system rests on the assumption that the courts have the authority to overturn legislation that is unjust, or goes against the rights of the people, or when a precedent exists to contradict the legislation in place. The courts used to limit the power of the legislature rather nicely by this mechanism.

Where do you think the Americans got the idea in the first place?

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Re: The Golden Thread

That's the Labour party for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

You should hope that one day the police don't raid your house and find a 10 year old USB drive with an old truecrypt test container on it for which you can't remember the password.

If this ever happens you will go to prison with all the other 'terrorists'.

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"Self-Incrimination"

"I still don't get how it can be legal to try and force someone to talk. That's all this is really, a law that says if you don't give us evidence against you, it means you are guilty'."

There is a "right to silence" in some jurisdictions, and the "right to refuse to answer questions" in others but the right to refuse to give testimony against oneself extends only to oral testimony.

He may not be compelled to give testimony against himself but a refusal to give the password is obstruction of justice, obstruction of a police investigation, and concealment of evidence; the right to silence does not shield one from sanctions in such cases. (I don't know that these are specific charges in the UK but that's the underlying intent.) The password he was required to give is, in itself, not evidence against himself, even though that password unlocked a device that did contain evidence against him. Additionally, as he had already been convicted of a serious crime, there was probable cause to think that the USB stick held information bearing on the crime and its attendant circumstances and therefore the police and investigating authorities have a right to demand access.

As he had already been convicted of a crime, the right not to incriminate oneself becomes moot: as he is no longer capable of incriminating himself as he has been found guilty. Moreover, concealing facts and "refusing to talk" after conviction is still (as ever) frowned upon to the extent that longer sentences can be imposed by the court, or parole denied later on.

It is possible that the possession of the password becomes evidence against him after he gives it up and the device is thereupon found to contain evidence but again, concealment of evidence is taken more seriously and the right to silence does not protect the concealer.

(Somewhat analogous are court decisions in the US stating that income must be declared even if the result of criminality and a failure to declare such income renders one liable for imprisonment for income tax evasion. The specific objection that being compelled to declare income from criminal activity is self-incriminatory has been specifically rejected, see http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html#5th although tax cases are generally civil cases.)

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Re: The Golden Thread

None of which apply AFTER you have been convicted.

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Re: legal precedent as set by the courts over about a thousand years.

I wasn't aware we were in the 23rd Century.

As too where we got our ideas from, it was the result of abuses of justice and fairness even within the boundaries that existed at the time. Hence they are more protected under our unitary constitution. Part of the problem with the assembled bits and pieces in the UK is that it leaves more than sufficient room for word manglers to rework clear intentions.

Not that it has helped us all that much on this side of the pond. Here judges just ignore the plain meaning and substitute their prejudices when they see fit, then claim stare decisis when someone challenges their interpretation in subsequent cases.

The underlying problem on both sides of the pond is that neither of our governments are fit for purpose under any except a religious people. Absent essentially immovable rights granted from an all powerful, just and sovereign God its all just words on paper that are easily re-arranged by other clever men. And if that fails, they can always just shoot you.

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Re: "Self-Incrimination"

Your entire argument is a disaster.

"The password he was required to give is, in itself, not evidence against himself"

First of all, what if his password was "I_confess_to_the_crimes_of_xyz"? Wouldn't the requirement for him to give up his password be in direct conflict with his right not to incriminate himself? Please don't say "Well, he would be stupid to do that" because fundamental rights belong to everyone, not just the intelligent.

Secondly, other than name, date of birth, and address, ANY AND ALL information that you give to the police is potentially incriminating. The police can demand to know what your favorite color is, and you are STILL protected from having to tell them this. That's because police can, and do, twist anything you say to make you appear as guilty as possible.

That is why nobody can ever be "required" to give "innocent" information to the police.

"Additionally, as he had already been convicted of a serious crime, there was probable cause "

No. Wrong. A criminal record NEVER constitutes probable cause. If it did, the police would be entitled to search his car, search his home, etc etc, every day for the rest of his life.

"As he had already been convicted of a crime, the right not to incriminate oneself becomes moot: as he is no longer capable of incriminating himself as he has been found guilty. "

It pains me to have to explain how wrong you are on this. NO, A CRIMINAL RECORD DOES NOT REVOKE YOUR RIGHT NOT TO INCRIMINATE YOURSELF IN FUTURE CRIMES. THAT I NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS TO YOU IS DEEPLY DISTURBING.

"but again, concealment of evidence is taken more seriously and the right to silence does not protect the concealer."

You are just 100 percent dead wrong. Nobody on this planet is legally required to provide evidence that might be used against them. This is so basic it almost gives me a headache.

"(Somewhat analogous are court decisions in the US stating that income must be declared even if the result of criminality and a failure to declare such income renders one liable for imprisonment for income tax evasion."

And there's a very good argument to be made, a slam-dunk case even, that the laws in the tax code are unconstitutional. The only reason the IRS can get away with this is because filing an income tax return is officially declared a voluntary act, not compulsory. However, the law states that you MUST volunteer to submit your 100% completely non-compulsory income tax return. If you fail to volunteer, you're guilty of tax evasion.

Pointing to the Internal Revenue Service as a role model of legality is ridiculous.

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Re: No constitution, remember...? @BongoJoe

Does this mean the UK and the US are right off the list of places to visit? Or only the UK?

I hear Afganistan is lovely this time of year....

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Re: No constitution, remember...? @BongoJoe

My understanding of the legal position is this:

Per Factortame, some acts are of constitutional significance. The European Communities Act is the one that case is about but it's far from being the only one. Such acts are special because they are not subject to implicit repeal. If a later act wants to contradict a constitutional act then it has to do so explicitly.

Subsequent acts like the Human Rights Act (which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights) have adopted some of the logic of this line of thinking: all acts are to be interpreted compatibly with the HRA unless they state explicitly that they're incompatible. Were there no recognition of the idea of a set of elevated acts, such a provision would be void since there's an underlying rule that no parliament can dictate which laws a future parliament may make or unmake.

So if a barrister could find a suitably significant act then he or she could argue that the subsequent one is not to be applied literally as written. Similarly judges could try to finagle some sort of unintended meaning out of the literal words if they really put their minds to it.

But in England and Wales courts cannot strike down legislation in any broad sense. This is something the Americans explicitly did differently as a balance and measure to try better to ensure ongoing separation of powers. See e.g. the Lord Chief Justice prior to 2005 for an idea of how much the British system has ever been bothered about technical separation of powers. We like strong competing interests but have historically not generally been especially bothered about whether powers technically may flow from one body to another.

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deserve to be jailed for contempt [of court]

It depends...

You can only be charged with contempt of court if a judge tells you to do something within his powers to command and you fail to obey.

He cannot command you to wear a pink miniskirt, for example.

Since there is a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_silence_in_England_and_Wales, it is only the RIPA act that could give the court any teeth.

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Boffin

Re: Richard Barnes Re: The Golden Thread

".....his waxing lyrical over the Golden Thread that ran through British justice....." Yeah, well that are a lot of old laws that people used to wax lyrical over - like being able to beat your servant, employ children to clean chimneys and work down mines, or shoot Welshmen with a longbow if they enter Chester after midnight (oops! that one's still legal! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6204511.stm). Laws change and develop as the society we live in develops and faces new challenges.

".....The right to silence......" The Section 49 bit does not remove his right to silence, it merely allows him to be prosecuted for obstructing the Police investigation in a very narrow set of circumstances.

"....The presumption of innocence and the fact that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution....." He was already found guilty of the terrorism charges which meant the Police were free to insist he decrypted the drive in the interest of protecting others. The fact it turned out to be related to a different crime (fraud( is neither here nor there as these twits were trying to use the stolen credit card numbers to fund their terror plans.

"....The right not to be tried twice for the same offence...." Where does it say he was tried a second time for the same offence? First charge for terrorism, second for not answering a Section 49.

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Vic
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Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

A section 49 request, which may then lead to prosecution under section 53 has to authorised in the same way as a search warrant.

No, that's not true.

A search warrant has to be authorised by a magistrate.

A Section 49 notice may be issued by a number of people detailed in Schedule 2; each must have been granted permission to grant Section 49 notices by a member of the judiciary, but each individual notice does not require judicial oversight.

IMO, this is way, way too lax...

Vic.

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Re: The real solution to stop terrorism ...

... is to stop worrying about terrorists, and pay more attention to important issues like obesity and road safety.

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WTF: Worst terrorist you can possibly imagine?

They seem to have been the worst bunglers anyone could possibly imagine.

The worst we could imagine having had a shot at Britain were the green and orange ****ers that Blair bought off by letting George Bush bugger us.

I can't think of a more badly managed episode since Blair introduced martial law into the UK. At least when the Irish bungled a threat and blew themselves up they did it by accident :) These monkeys couldn't peel a banana.

As for GCHQ not decoding that silly password...

His password was unlocked immediately and the police failed to inform him of the fact, thus adding to his incarceration. No doubt the secondary case brought against him after the sell by date for the password one lapsed was framed -as in framed; to suit the mentality of the imbecile.

after so many days unattended. Assuming that the GCHQs antics wouldn't count.

He should have kept his mouth shut. And he should have put the USB in a timelock device where it would blank itself after so many days unattended (assuming that GCHQ's antics wouldn't count) and blanked if mishandled in some way al la Cryptonomicon

In the world of terrorism and espionage are there no memory sticks that are designed to lose all their data when attacked?

Is that not irredemably inept?

It's about as inept as an Arab terrorist using dollar signs in his password. He should have used some non Latin characters. And burned the keyboard every time he used it. A foreign keyboard that required three or so keys to produce each character would be difficult to force, especially if it didn't exist. It might take a few seconds as opposed to instantaneous.

What we want in the free world is a password that is time dependent as well as having any imaginable character in it. Only the characters must be home made. How long do you think it would be before owning such a device would be deemed and act of terrorism?

Despite the fact that to be a terrorist means you have to be unimaginably stupid enough to use a blown password that is easily forced.

Ah well, it takes all sorts, الحمد الله.

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AFTER you have been convicted

The trick is to hide it down the back of a sofa and wipe it clean before dropping it there. But you must do all this before you are convicted and have a seemingly identical USB that is also password protected (but obviously doesn't contain evidence against you) and has a different password. A GIANT! fail for the fool.

But at least after reading all this, the others will know better. (Or not, as the case will be.)

Why the hell did he need a USB to tell him what he'd been up to?

And why was any reference to any crime clearly identifiable?

What an absolute mutt!

Why do we need draconian laws to deal with idiots like that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying. @AC 17:46

"You should hope that one day the police don't raid your house and find a 10 year old USB drive with an old truecrypt test container on it for which you can't remember the password.

If this ever happens you will go to prison with all the other 'terrorists'."

The "You should hope it never happens to you" is a typical response to someone who supports this kind of law. Wrong. BongoJoe simply stated why the guy was done; he didn't state support for it and it seems quite clear to me he doesn't.

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Where does it say he was tried a second time for the same offence?

I think he has just cause for claiming the police withheld evidence. But I very much doubt he can prove it.

Maybe he can find a case where the experts that failed to crack the password managed to crack a similar one in times past?

Or can claim they must have already known it?

How much would it cost him to appeal?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying. @AC 17:46

"Wrong. BongoJoe simply stated why the guy was done; he didn't state support for it and it seems quite clear to me he doesn't."

Correction - the post I was referring to was by "No, I will not fix your computer", 14:26.

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Re: "Self-Incrimination"

"'The password he was required to give is, in itself, not evidence against himself'

First of all, what if his password was "I_confess_to_the_crimes_of_xyz"? Wouldn't the requirement for him to give up his password be in direct conflict with his right not to incriminate himself? Please don't say "Well, he would be stupid to do that" because fundamental rights belong to everyone, not just the intelligent.

Secondly, other than name, date of birth, and address, ANY AND ALL information that you give to the police is potentially incriminating. The police can demand to know what your favorite color is, and you are STILL protected from having to tell them this. That's because police can, and do, twist anything you say to make you appear as guilty as possible.That is why nobody can ever be "required" to give "innocent" information to the police."

We are talking about a person who was ordered by a court to divulge a password. It doesn't matter what the password is. If the court feels that there is sufficient reason to discover the contents of the USB stick, they permitted by law to order the (in this case) convicted defendant to do so. This is not the same as the police, on their own, asking or requiring him to do so; what information one is and is not required to give to the police is not at issue here: we are discussing court orders.

"Additionally, as he had already been convicted of a serious crime, there was probable cause "

No. Wrong. A criminal record NEVER constitutes probable cause. If it did, the police would be entitled to search his car, search his home, etc etc, every day for the rest of his life.

The USB stick was found during the course of the original investigation. There was every reason to think that the encrypted USB stick held evidence germane to the investigation - and that's what a judge decided, as per his prerogative by law. (Bear in mind that the investigating authority has the right - and the duty - to investigate all other crimes uncovered by the original investigation.) However, while his conviction might serve as a probable cause to order the decryption of the USB drive, it does not necessarily serve as probable cause for everything that any law enforcement agency might ever want to do. So your objection has nothing to do with the case at hand. (As for the right to search a someone's premises in the future because of a criminal conviction, I am pretty sure that parole officers have the authority a part of their duty to supervise parolees to search (or at least inspect) the parolee's living quarters. I'm not really sure though. It is possible that they have to agree to this as a condition of being paroled.)

"As he had already been convicted of a crime, the right not to incriminate oneself becomes moot: as he is no longer capable of incriminating himself as he has been found guilty. "

It pains me to have to explain how wrong you are on this. NO, A CRIMINAL RECORD DOES NOT REVOKE YOUR RIGHT NOT TO INCRIMINATE YOURSELF IN FUTURE CRIMES. THAT I NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS TO YOU IS DEEPLY DISTURBING.

A person's testimony can not incriminate them for a crime after they have been convicted of that crime. Nor can he refuse to hand over evidence because of danger of incriminating himself in future crimes - the right against self-incrimination applies only to testimony and does not extend to concealing any other kind of evidence. And that is the issue here: the usb key and its contents are not testimony; they are evidence.

"but again, concealment of evidence is taken more seriously and the right to silence does not protect the concealer."

You are just 100 percent dead wrong. Nobody on this planet is legally required to provide evidence that might be used against them. This is so basic it almost gives me a headache.

Well this guy we're discussing was required to do so. So it's not easy to know where you get the idea that he (or other people in other jurisdictions) can't be required to do so. And see that page I cited above, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_disclosure_law where you can learn that there are many jurisdictions where a defendant or person of interest can be compelled to surrender encryption keys (or other kinds of evidence. You do know, I hope, that, for example, concealing evidence, destroying evidence, contaminating evidence, altering evidence, refusing to produce evidence when ordered to do so, and whatever else, is the basis of charges such a perverting the course of justice, impeding an official investigation, contempt of court, and so forth.)

Although you did not feel like citing it, I said that there is a right to silence and a right to refuse to talk - neither of which is absolute, by the way. What you need to is show that the right against self-incrimination extends to refusing to provide evidence when ordered to do so by a judge, and that you are allowed to do anything other than remain silent. What you have failed to grasp is that, while all testimony is evidence, not all evidence is testimony.

And there's a very good argument to be made, a slam-dunk case even, that the laws in the tax code are unconstitutional. The only reason the IRS can get away with this is because filing an income tax return is officially declared a voluntary act, not compulsory. However, the law states that you MUST volunteer to submit your 100% completely non-compulsory income tax return. If you fail to volunteer, you're guilty of tax evasion.

Pointing to the Internal Revenue Service as a role model of legality is ridiculous.

Why? Because it's inconvenient for you? Or because your lack of knowledge of the way the law works made you susceptible to all that tax-protestor rhetoric?

The page I cited in the last section of my post is http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html#5th and it consists almost solely of legal cases and court decisions. And they cover your misconception that income tax is somehow voluntary. We have "voluntary assessment" as opposed to "distraint". It has nothing to do with the income tax being voluntary.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_protester_statutory_arguments#The_.22income_taxes_are_voluntary.22_argument : The quoted language from Flora refers to the Federal income tax: "Our system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint." The key words are "voluntary" and "distraint." Like many legal terms, "voluntary" has more than one legal meaning. In the context of the quoted sentence, the income tax is voluntary in that the person bearing the economic burden of the tax is the one required to compute (assess) the amount of tax and file the related tax return. In this sense, a state sales tax is not a voluntary tax - i.e., the purchaser of the product does not compute the tax or file the related tax return. The store at which he or she bought the product computes the sales tax, charges the customer, collects the tax from him at the time of sale, prepares and files a monthly or quarterly sales tax return and remits the money to the taxing authority.

The real problem here is that you don't understand what the "right against self-incrimination" is, or what its limitations are.

And here is the real difference between your post and mine. This guy (and others too, in various jurisdictions around the world) was ordered to give up his key, he refused, and was tried, convicted, and sentenced for it. A person reading my post will have some understanding of why that happened. A person reading your post won't have a clue.

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Re: The Golden Thread

@Bartholomew: I don't think you'll find that availability of weapons is what makes a terrorist. It's the perception of oppression, unjust treatment, prejudice, and so on, real or imagined, and a general impression that there is no legal way to change the situation which leads to acts of desperation on the part of those who want to change things.

Weapons provide the means for terrorists, but not the motivation

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Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

Actually no, the equivalent would be, "you must tell us where you hid the evidence." What this lets them do is to jail you whether they have evidence or not, simply because you refused to tell them where you hid the evidence, but more importantly, it lets them jail you whether or not any evidence actually exists. This not only saves them the bother of finding evidence, it also saves them the bother of finding criminals, since everybody can be presumed guilty simply by asking the question.

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Re: @Vic Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

A Section 49 notice may be issued by a number of people detailed in Schedule 2; each must have been granted permission to grant Section 49 notices by a member of the judiciary, but each individual notice does not require judicial oversight.

IMO, this is way, way too lax...

That isn't the way I read the law ......

Schedule 2 (1)Subject to the following provisions of this Schedule, a person has the appropriate permission in relation to any protected information if, and only if, written permission for the giving of section 49 notices in relation to that information has been granted

(a)in England and Wales, by a Circuit judge [or a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts)

(b)in Scotland, by a sheriff; or

(c)in Northern Ireland, by a county court judge.

I would read this as a permission is given for a specific instance of a section 49 notice by variety of magistrates .......very much analogous to a search warrant.

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So what happened to the whole "You don't have to say anything, but anything you do say will be taken down and used as evidence against you"?

The law is an ass. Always has been, always will be.

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Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

> At the moment a bloke in a pub with a warrant card can [authorise a section 49 notice to reveal a password].

AFAICT (and IANAL) in this context the section 49 notice would require authorisation under the Police Act 1977 part 3 which means a police commissioner or chief constable (or deputies) so not quite as open to abuse as you suggest though far from judicial oversight (which is available as an alternative authorisation for a section 49 notice)

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The appropriate venue to contest laws is in the legislature, not the executive.

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