back to article UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files

The first person jailed under draconian UK police powers that Ministers said were vital to battle terrorism and serious crime has been identified by The Register as a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record. His crime was a persistent refusal to give counter-terrorism police the keys to decrypt his …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the moral of this story is ...

    Leave the UK while you still can!

  2. Doc Spock
    Black Helicopters

    Regieme Change Please...

    "There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective.

    I'm sure there's a well-known mantra in law that says "suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty." Or at least there used to be.....

  3. Eddie Edwards
    FAIL

    Riiight, this poor guy with traces of high explosives on him

    Less than 5ng is ignored, presumably meaning that more than 5ng is not. He had 9ng, and was unable to explain it. Might not be enough for a terrorism charge but it should be enough for a warrant to search his computer files. He then obstructed that. What is the legal system supposed to do? Say, "oh, that's OK, never mind"?

    What's the point of this story? It's fine for paranoid schizophrenics to play with high explosives and refuse to talk to the police about it? Yeah, right, because no harm could possibly come from that.

    You might have had more of a case against RIPA if he was of sound mind.

  4. Shamalam
    FAIL

    Jack Straw

    You need a "FAIL" stamp over his face in your picture.

    Frankly, every word out of his mouth is either a lie or some waffle to cover is total and utter failure in office. Every department he's managed is unfit for purpose.

    I can't even stand to look at the man, he's what's wrong with this country personified. An unprincipled liar.

  5. Edwin

    Tough call

    'cause the fallout would have been far worse if he *had* happened to be a lone lunatic, released and blew up a bunch of kids at a station.

    Until we're collectively willing to accept that risk, there will always be borderline cases like this.

  6. Shadowfirebird

    title

    Is it me, or is it cold in here? I seem to be shivering.

    1. SC Handle
      FAIL

      Wrrrong

      RDX has 50% more explosive power than TNT. 9ng is nothing to worry about and could easily be transmitted in myriad ways.

      Unless you have factual information to add in some meaningful manner shut up.

      Also it may have escaped you but we used to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is not hard for the authorities to decrypt the files that Mr. JFL had on his computer. Maybe that would have been a better avenue of investigation. But no lets all be totally stupid and follow a crack pot government in believing that everyone is a terrorist. Not sure about you but the worst terrorist attacks in the UK I ever saw on TV were committed by the IRA not Alqueda. We didn't need these stupid laws then and we don't need them now. A, presumably given the lack of evidence to suggest otherwise, innocent person being sent to jail should bear this out to the likes of you. But you unfortunately seem to lack the where-with-all to have noticed.

      The real fail is on your part.

  7. Barney Carroll
    Big Brother

    You don't want to protect you just want to f***ing control

    These laws are ridiculous. They have no serious application for extremist terrorism. Picture this situation with a CTC officer versus a fanatic prepared to end his own life and that of others for ideological reasons, who possesses data he believes would compromise his cause:

    — Decrypt all your sensitive data within the hour or you go to prison for 5 years

    — Oh, all right then

    It just doesn't make any kind of sense in the situation in which it is purportedly applicable.

    In the meantime, the law-abiding citizen has no right to silence or privacy given police suspicion — and according to the numerous incidents (many of which reported here) on the accountability of police regarding their suspicion, police suspicion appears to be self-justifying.

  8. Sam Liddicott
    Thumb Down

    Where was the crime?

    They want to look at his private files /in case/ they find evidence of a crime!

    Do his files pertain to any alleged crime for which there is evidence?

    Apart from a poor attempt to get a replacement passport and missed bail, was anything wrong* done at all?

    *I mean what right-thinking folk would call wrong, not our imbecile overloads.

  9. Chris Hatfield

    What an utter, utter disgrace

    I cannot believe how ABSURD this law is. I forget passwords ALL THE TIME. Losing my data is punishment enough. But jail?!?!?

    Suggestions for all

    1. Use Truecrypt - plausible deniability. (Don't give the file an extension)

    2. Put random gibberish files on loads of computers. Like hundreds. Put them on peer-to-peer sites so that every computer in the land has them.

    To send someone with mental health problems to jail for not remembering something is beyond belief; I'm disgusted.

  10. Dick Emery
    Big Brother

    You have no rights

    The entire point of RIPA is to give those in power the ability to stomp all over Joe Q. Public with little fear or any comebacks. The fact that the person who is arrested is not allowed to tell anyone about the circumstances of their being detained. The fact that the right to silence is made out to be an admission of guilt. The fact that a fair trial is practically impossible. All these and more are the police state firmly pressing down it's steel toe capped boot our heads.

    RIPA is just one of a number of function creep powers designed specifically for controlling the populace without any regard to so called human rights.

    It does not matter if they are mistaken. If you don't cooperate to the fullest you are guilty and will be thrown in jail. Regardless of whether they have any real evidence to support thier accusations.

    Your are a number. Your freedom is illusary.

  11. Jonathan 17

    Quite horrifying

    Guilty until proven innocent eh? My sympathies for this guy.

    Its obvious that the plod wants to flex its muscle and show how powerful they are. Really just another gang.

    I would suggest RIPA Part III be altered so that section 49 can only be used if the suspect is suspected of particular crimes that his computer equipment could be hiding evidence of. As soon as the police dropped the terrorism charge, they should have dropped the section 49 charge because its now meaningless.

    Its actually the biggest farce in the world, and its a shame El Reg has been the first, or so far only, publication to carry the story. We will send you to prison because you didnt decrypt your data, but we dont want it anyway because we arent charging you for terrorism or paedophilia. What then do they want the data for?

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    National security my arse!

    These guys are just playing cops and robbers with the poor man because they are frustrated terrorist takers. No Bin Ladens in the net this week? Pick on the mentally ill instead.

    "In his final police interview, CTC officers suggested JFL's refusal to decrypt the files or give them his keys would lead to suspicion he was a terrorist or paedophile."

    Indeed.

    It's so obvious...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good grief

    They did him for having a pocket knife ... becuase they had nothing else on him. Claxons should have been sounding hard and fast from that point, if nowhere else.

    F***ing police. To think at one stage I wanted to wear the uniform of one of those rat bags. They should be ashamed of themselves ... and the Home Office should be hung, drawn and quartered for not keeping a reign on them.

  14. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    does it count as paranoid

    if they're really out to get you?

  15. Doc Spock
    Black Helicopters

    @Eddie Edwards

    QUOTE: "What is the legal system supposed to do? Say, "oh, that's OK, never mind"?"

    Well, they're meant to require the police to produce evidence that proves their accusation. For example, by using more traditional investigative techniques like stake-outs, phone-taps, records from ISPs, phone companies, etc. You know, _actual police work_.

  16. Hermes Conran
    Grenade

    @ eddie edwards

    Do you know how much a nanogramme is? You would have more than that amount if you shook hand with someone who shook hands with someone who had handled some explosives. This is way below the limit for cross contamination with the police themselves. Do the Birmingham six come to mind at all?

    1. Brian 6

      @Chris Hatfield

      He didn't forget them, he REFUSED to give them.

    2. Brian 6

      @Hermes Conran

      "Do you know how much a nanogramme is? You would have more than that amount if you shook hand with someone who shook hands with someone who had handled some explosives."

      Which is why 5 nano grammes and below is ignored. But he had 9 and u have to draw the line somewhere.

    3. John G Imrie
      Big Brother

      They can suggest as much as they like

      As soon as they publicize this it's slander, and the will have to prove it with the evedence they now have.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Hang parliament

    This is precisely why I'm campaigning to persuade people to vote Lib Dem at the next election and hang parliament forcing a coalition government.

    I'm not a Lib Dem, however, I see a coalition as the only real chance we have to bring some accountability to Whestminster with the leading party having to rely on a co-party in order to gain the majority needed to legislate.

    I don't believe RIPA and similar lawas would have come into force if this had been the case, particularly as the Lib Dems seem to be the only party that even pay lip service to civil rights and feedoms these days.

    I would encourage anyone fed up with over legislation and the erosion of basic civil rights to consider such a vote - you can also join the campaign group on Facebook here:-

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=215927229917

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sad

    Just sad.

  19. Tom 15

    WTF?!

    So a guy is found with traces of high explosives, doesn't turn up at court several times when he's meant to, is found with books and equipment for the manufacture of explosives, guns and drugs and he has more stuff on his PC that he's felt the need to encrypt several times over?

    He's either a criminal, in which case he should be jailed, or he's a nut, in which case he should be sectioned. The government have done both of these, so I'm not sure what there is to criticise?

  20. Steve the Cynic
    FAIL

    Let's try something different...

    Let's put some alternative "There could be"s...

    "There could be spreadsheets with his household budget calculations. There could be pictures from his last holiday in Scarborough."

    Not so impressive now, is it?

  21. Cucumber C Face
    Grenade

    Shades of Dando

    Pick up some sad nutter at random and stitch them up for a crime they didn't commit.

    Only now with RIPA they can go one better - since no criminal act (by any reasonable criteria) was committed by anyone - other than the sadistic b@$3ards who perpetrated this injustice.

    Given [against the general perception] we seem to have so much free space in our prisons, there would be a strong case for prosecuting the politicians who created RIPA under suitable Human Rights Legislation (if only such existed).

  22. neb
    WTF?

    fuck me!

    this is scary

    though part of me likes to think that jfl was just being awkward in refusing to give passwords, and i know i'd like to think that i'd be as strong in the face of such bullshit

    but a 13 months fucking sentence is a joke

    i wish i could afford to leave this shithole and bring my kids up somewhere betterer!

    time to start saving harder i s'pose =(

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Problem.

    He had traces of an explosive on him (nearly double what is normally discounted)

    He repeatedly misses bail appearances.

    He makes multiple attempts to illegally obtain a passport.

    He refuses to provide the decryption keys.

    I've got no problems with him being jailed.

  24. Steve Swann
    WTF?

    I don't bloody believe it...

    All these measures. All these safeguards. DNA Databases, RIPA, gIMP, ID Cards; all to stop terrorists and the ONLY person arrested under these systems is a schizophrenic traveller with an interest in model rockets?!

    Surely, you're kidding?!

    Or is the truth that there ARE. NO. TERRORISTS?

    These are the instruments of control being put into place and then into operation. Oppose. Refuse. Resist.

    It's enough to make me want to write a blog, I tell you!

    1. SC Handle
      Thumb Down

      Really

      Then put your name next to your comment.

      What if he was in hospital during his bail appearances?

      What if he wanted to visit his dying mother in France so needed a passport?

      What if he had sensitive medical records he didn't want exposed in those encrypted files?

      What if he had just been handling a fireworks rocket that contained small amounts of RDX?

      Its just the same what iffing that the police played with the child porn and terrorism but flipped round.

      The guy is innocent until proven guilty - well was once - and there is no evidence against him. By the same token that you agree with him going to jail you should be in jail.

      I hope you encounter similar circumstances one day and that no-one cares about how your rights have been trampled on.

      Its funny how terrorists cannot take our freedoms, but our government can and has and that you support them doing so. I'll laugh once I have left this country. Laugh that you are still here.

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    <title>

    If this had happened to a British Citizen in some communist/3rd world dictatorship, the media and everyone else would have been up in arms at the "travesty of justice".

    But as it occured in the uk, well...that's perfectly fine. He was obviously a heinious criminal and needed locking up for all our protection - not to mention to protect all the kiddies.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 Nanograms

    Could stray explosives incriminate the innocent?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15320650.600-could-stray-explosives-incriminate-the-innocent.html

  28. Richard Jukes
    Megaphone

    And?

    This is nothing unusual. The way the police see it is simple, and has always been the same.

    You either play by their rules and co-operate otherwise you WILL have a problem. They will put pressure on you however they can do it, if that means arresting you for trivial crimes such as 'possession of a pocket knife' or indeed battering down your door with armed police - it doesnt matter, you either comply or they will cause trouble for you.

    I wonder how many full body searches this guy was put through?

    I was threatned with either take the caution - or we will seize all computer hardware in your house - regardless of whose equipment it is, confiscate everything you own and more than likely put you on remand - all for 1/10th of a gram of MDMA which they could not prove was mine.

    End of the day its simple, be reasonable with them, be fair and they will be fair and reasonable with you. But start being arsey - even if you are within the law to do so, and you will have trouble. Regardless of whether your innocent or guilty, its all about attitude and the Police are there to do a very hard job.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am with AC 12:25

    The guy was being dodgy

    he missed bail

    he tried to leave the country

    tried to get another passport twice.

    and refuses to supply his encryption keys.

    His mental health issues asside the guy is nutty.

    Sectioned is probably the best place for him

  30. yossarianuk
    Thumb Down

    The Tories took away our right to silence (1994)

    We have no had right to silence since 1994. The last conservative government took that away ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Public_Order_Act_1994

    Strange to think that RIPA was introduced to fight terrorism pre 9/11

  31. Georgees

    Guitly until not proven guilty but still sent to jail.

    "There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective.

    There could be pictures of barney the dinosaur and poems. You don't know, so don't comment.

    Also, bomb making recipes are not proof of terrorism. I believe I have some on my hard drive somewhere.

    Not AC because the black heli can suck my big one.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    @Tom 15

    "So a guy is found with traces of high explosives, doesn't turn up at court several times when he's meant to, is found with books and equipment for the manufacture of explosives, guns and drugs and he has more stuff on his PC that he's felt the need to encrypt several times over?"

    So - prosecute him for the crimes he has committed.. Failure to appear.

    THAT IS THE ONLY CRIME YOU CAN PROVE AGAINST HIM.

    9ng of explosives, as mentioned earlier, is below the limit of cross contamination. I'll type this slowly for you - there is no proof he got it whilst commiting, or planning to commit a crime.

    He has books? ZOMG - he reads. Off with his head. None of the books are illegal to possess, nor read. What law would you have him tried under? Have you never, once, wondered how true to life films are? Can you really make explosives like they do in Fight Club? Never read up to find out how? No curiosity at all or do you just accept everything that is spoonfed to you?

    Encrypted files? Well that is it. Might as well execute him now. What if they are photos of him with his married lover that he refuses to decrypt to protect the other party?

    All in all it is nothing more than circumstantial evidence at best, coincidence at worse. WTF happened to innocent until PROVEN guilty. The only thing you should be critising is how it became acceptable to jail people on the off chance that they may have done something wrong.

    I really, seriously, hope it never happens to you.

  33. Bitsucker
    Grenade

    It's not a 13 month sentance!

    The defendant was jailed for 13 months, then consigned to a lunatic asylum indefinitely. On what grounds has he been sectioned? The article mentioned no reasons, other than he refused to cooperate with the authorities. That's the kind of thing that used to take place in the Soviet Union.

    Grenade because people should be getting angry...

  34. Charles Calthrop

    hmm

    I was going to make an amusingly sarcastic comment about the article, then I realised that it had scared me quite a lot.

    Good to see a man with principles defend them, I suppose. On the other hand, traces of explosive is a bit odd.

    Uneasy all around on this one.

  35. Secretgeek
    Unhappy

    Inducement to confess.

    "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know... What is anybody gonna think?"

    This is known as an inducement to confess and is widely regarded, even in the police's own training and guidance, as a very bad thing to do in an interview under caution.

    Effectively it would make the results of any 'confession' inadmissable under the HRA.

    Nice to see human rights aren't top of their agenda.

    Sorry did I say 'nice'? I meant 'What a fucking atrocious state of affairs...'

  36. Hollerith 1

    he was his own worst enemy, but that still doesn't mean...

    ... that the Police should have wasted their time hounding him. A smart person who gets sucked into the undertow of police attention does NOT miss bail or court appearances, but gets themselves a lawyer immediately, and doesn't screw himself with silly actions such as carrying a knife or trying to get a new passport. He is one of those people who just keep doing stupid things, most probably because of his mental condition. Believing that he has a right to silence is another stupidity. A decent lawyer could have saved him from himself.

    But the police should not be going for such an easy target, nor should they hound him because he pissed them off. It's too easy to chase a non-threat like this, and to feel the heady surge of power of another human being, than it is to do the hard work of actually catching terrorists so, instead of bending over backwards to consider the whole of his case (mental illness, children's toys, bit of a saddie) they decided to ramp it up. Poor judgement and self-indulgence from the police, and now yet another harmless person in prison for no reason but coming to the attention of the authorities.

  37. Toastan Buttar
    Big Brother

    @Chris Hatfield

    "To send someone with mental health problems to jail for not remembering something is beyond belief; I'm disgusted."

    He didn't forget the password; he deliberately withheld it on principle. There's a big difference and I admire him for his convictions. Much as I'd love to do the same in his situation, I'd crumble facing the threat of prison time AND being branded a potential paedo. I've heard life inside isn't too pleasant for those so accused.

    Yes, the guy seems like a bit of a weirdo loner but if he's truly a threat to society, why wasn't he sectioned previously ?

  38. Chris Hedley
    FAIL

    Re: Gaol teh nuttarz !!1!eleven

    > "He's either a criminal, in which case he should be jailed, or he's a nut, in which case he should be sectioned."

    I'm afraid you seem to have made a wrong turn. The Daily Mail's the third door on the left.

    Sigh. I'm reminded of Monty Python's "burn the witch!" sketch. Not quite so amusing when it's actually happening, though.

  39. Thomas 18
    FAIL

    @AC 12:25 & Eddie

    If you can kill your partner because of a sleep disorder and not do any time ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8364393.stm ). I think you should be able to behave in a paranoid manner without going to jail.

    They aren't charging him for any crimes except refusing to decrypt files (missing bail, obtaining passport, reading explosive magazines etc) they even acccept he doesn't pose a threat to national security which means they accept he isn't a credible bomb maker.

    They are just pissed at him for standing up to them because they cant understand his point of view. Epic fail of the system.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Richard Jukes

    So you got a criminal record which will be flagged if you ever get a crb or vetted possibly travel abroad (depending on how various computer systems and immigration officials are feeling that day) when they couldn't prove you were a criminal?

    Sounds like a mighty just system we're running.

  41. Gianni Straniero
    Big Brother

    TrueCrypt FTW

    Interesting article, which boils down to the fact that the poor lad was jailed for pissing off the Plod.

    I especially like this:

    "One file encrypted using software from the German firm Steganos was cracked, but investigators found only another PGP container."

    Imagine their faces...

    At least we know Steganos is no damn good for encryption. And as Chris Hatfield says above, TrueCrypt gives you plausible deniability.

    http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=hidden-volume

  42. Michael Fremlins

    Metropolitan Police's elite Counter-Terrorism Command

    What is "elite" about them? We've seen one innocent man killed on the Tube, and another person the recipient of a negligent discharge. On both occasions, these "elite" police walked away free of charge.

  43. Craig 12
    Unhappy

    Hmmm

    On the one hand, RIPA is scary.

    On the other hand, we have a guy travelling internationally, failing to get into countries and failing to go to court. I would be suspicious of him as well, although dare I say he is doing the right thing by shutting up. It's lose-lose?

  44. REMF

    Hist own worst enemy........... but

    this is an inappropriate application of a badly drafted law, who'd a thought it possible that something like this could happen, eh?

  45. DefUnct
    FAIL

    @Eddie Edwards

    The point i think is not this drama you seem to make of it, but that before the RIPA powers were implemented, and security was this tight, im fairly sure amateur scientists, rocket modelers, RC modelers and many other types of people who use flammables, explosives or other chemicals etc were making trips and never being botherd. Neither did they do anythint to anyone.

    When police DID single someone out, they had to actually DO some police work to figure out if this person had done anything, if there was a case to answer, and they had to do ALL this while still respecting that persons rights. Didnt find anything? Tough - The person does NOT have to talk to you.

    This new legislation is a cop out for lazy incapable cops who just want everything to be easy, "open sesame" and without any though, analysis or real interest just classify people as "guilty of something"

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prosecuted under the Innuendo act of 2006

    He should sue them in ECHR, and get compensation. Exercising your right to privacy is not a crime and they didn't accuse him of being a terrorist or kiddy diddler, so they're just fishing.

    They're trying to use INNUENDO as a substitute for crime.... which tells you straight away that they don't have actual crimes there.

    This case is really pivotal, because today its somehow carrying fireworks, bang caps, and silly putty, tomorrow it will be you or me or Damien Green MP, or 84-year-old John:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/21/traffic-cameras-used.html

    To me, Alan Johnson, Jacqui Smith & Jack Straw are the mentally ill people who should be sectioned. They are psychotic, they project their own insane fears onto others.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    daft

    He really should not have pleaded guilty... If he was innocent!

    J: Are you a crim?

    D: yup me'lord.

    J: lock im up.

    Served Justice. (or vice versa?)

  48. Steve Browne
    Headmaster

    No we see it laid bare

    RIPA is a gross intrusion into ordinary life. The powers granted to the police, who abuse them with the flimsiest of excuses, supported by politicians and now the reality is laid bare for all to see.

    This shows how the powers granted by our totalitarian masters to our oppressive police force are to be used against us to force conformity. New Labour has been an extremely dangerous experiment, and re electing them will bring about ever more draconian powers to be deployed by an ever more politicised police force to suppress the rights and liberties of the individual.

    I have always thought Stalin would have been proud of the rules invented by New Labour, and as this case clearly demonstrates, we haver no recourse to the protection of the courts against excessive state power.

    These laws, including all of the intrusive legislation of this government ought to be repealed until the police are curbed in their excesses and the courts are restored to require guilt to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

  49. Poor Coco
    Flame

    Explosives?!?! MODEL ROCKETS?!?!

    "with the exception of the throwdowns [devil bangers] and model rocket they all appeared to have other non-explosive uses."

    (a) Model rocket black-powder engines, the type Estes makes, are not explosive. They are not even flammable; using a concentrated blowtorch flame at the side or even the nozzle will NOT set them off.

    (b) The one he was arrested with did not even have an engine. Therefore, a list of the "explosive" devices contained therein: a paper body tube and engine mount; a plastic nose cone and maybe fin unit; alternately, a sheet of balsa wood to make fins; a rubber band (shock-cord) and a parachute. And an instruction sheet. I know this very well; I have built about 100 of them personally.

    WHERE ARE THE EXPLOSIVES THERE? Do they mean the balsa, the polystyrene or the cardboard?!?!?

  50. Witty username
    FAIL

    wtf

    "There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective.

    "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know... What is anybody gonna think?"

    What if there are pictures of children making bombs? what will the daily mail think?

    with a top notch security service like this its no wonder we get fucked over and blown up by ever extremist nutcase with a couple of bags of fertilizer and some common sense

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everything else aside...

    I would expect to end up in jail if I:

    a) Skipped bail, several times

    b) Applied for a passport twice, stating that my other had been lost, when I had actually been required to surrender it

  52. g e

    No terrorists?

    If there really were that many terrorists then most people would know someone who knew someone who knew someone who'd been injured/killed by one (discounting IRA, this is in a 'modern' RIPA/Al Quaeda/etc context even including IRA I suspect the answer may be the same unless you live in Belfast).

    Does anyone I don't and I don't know anyone who does? That's 3 degrees of 6...

    A fearful downtrodden electorate is way easier to control & manipulate.

  53. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  54. Tim Jenkins

    Shiver down the spine moment

    "You... wished to involve yourself in a world which was largely based upon the access to the internet and using computers and not really interacting with other people in the ordinary outside world to any great extent"

    Think about that for a moment as you read this, on the internet, using a computer, when (like me) you should be answering the ringing Helpdesk phone and dealing with that backlog of open Support tickets...

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @No Problem

    "He had traces of an explosive on him (nearly double what is normally discounted)"

    So did the Birmingham Six, if he was a bomber then why no bomb charges? Presumably because the evidence does not stand up in court.

    "He repeatedly misses bail appearances."

    He was not locked up for that, he was on his way to an appointment about a missed bail hearing remember!

    "He makes multiple attempts to illegally obtain a passport."

    He applied for his OWN passport, I wonder how he can be denied the right of free movement in the EU without being prosecuted for anything! Can they just take away a passport now?

    "He refuses to provide the decryption keys."

    He has a right to privacy and to not self incriminate, and they had no charges to lay against him that could make him disclose it.

    "I've got no problems with him being jailed."

    You protest an awful lot, citizen, and you hide behind the AC name, it appears that you wish us to look at him and not at you. I strongly suspect your laptop contains evidence of your crime, and well, you sound very very interested in the issue.

    PAPERS CITIZEN! GIVE ME THEM NOW!

    1. Snafu 2

      A slight correction..

      Anonymous Coward

      @No Problem → #

      Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 13:21 GMT

      "He had traces of an explosive on him (nearly double what is normally discounted)"

      So did the Birmingham Six,

      Umm.. no - the Birmingham Six (& IIRC the Guildford Four, along with others) were convicted on forensic evidence that was subsequently found to be bad science - check your Private Eye back issues

      [...]

      He has a right to privacy and to not self incriminate,

      Umm... not any longer, under the RIPA & slightly earlier Acts (unfortunately IMO)

      You protest an awful lot, citizen, and you hide behind the AC name, it appears that you wish us to look at him and not at you. I strongly suspect your laptop contains evidence of your crime, and well, you sound very very interested in the issue.

      PAPERS CITIZEN! GIVE ME THEM NOW!

      <wry grin>

    2. Pablo

      Duh

      That's where the plausibly undeniably comes in. It is plausible that no hidden volume exists. I doubt even as bad a law a RIPA allows jailing people for not decrypting things that don't exist. So the government would have to prove that it does. If I'm wrong about that, and the government really can jail you for failing to decrypt a document that doesn't exist, the only sensible course of action is flee the country immediately.

  56. Shadowfirebird

    re truecrypt, steganos, random numbers

    1) Steganos is just for hiding files, not encrypting them. Their manual says you should use PGP too.

    2) I'm at a loss to understand how Truecrypt's plausible deniability feature is going to help here. It's not as if the police don't know about it:

    POLICE: Give me the key to this file.

    ME: Here you go.

    POLICE: Now give me the other key.

    ME: There isn't one. I didn't use that feature when I made it.

    POLICE: I don't believe you and I'm hereby issuing you with notice under RIPA section III....

    Note that this conversation goes the same way whether I used the plausible deniability feature or not.

    I'm just waiting for the first RIPA arrest for refusing to decrypt a file full of random numbers...

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steganos

    "One file encrypted using software from the German firm Steganos was cracked, but investigators found only another PGP container."

    Not a good advert for Steganos as this guy was obviously good at using long passwords for encrypted files.

    Also does anyone know what the law would do with your encrypted data stored on a server in another country - assuming the authorities found out about it and were able to legally import a copy/the actual data would RIPA Part III still be possible?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    There is a clear and present danger that we're all going to be blown up; I propose all travellers should have their hands swabbed for traces of RDX, whilst I sit back and eat the popcorn.

    So far as TrueCrypt's plausible deniability goes, I don't see it. The old bill tell you to decrypt the TrueCrypt file or volume under pain of prison and then tell you to decrypt the hidden volume under pain of prison. I don't think any technicalities like you saying there isn't a hidden volume are going to get you out of prison. We're talking about a police state here, people.

    The mental health thing is just sooo reminiscent of the USSR. Has this guy got a barrister? He needs a good one, now.

    Nice to know PGP works though.

  59. The Original Ash
    Grenade

    Sectioned, no less

    Want to know who else was sectioned to keep her out of the way? Christine Collins.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wineville_Chicken_Coop_Murders

  60. jon 72
    Big Brother

    Paranoid?

    "The government are satisfied that offences set in RIPA are appropriate and that the legislation is being used effectively"

    Swatting flies with a nuke is effective, still does not mean it's actually a good idea.

    Information about explosives can be found online at HUNDREDS of forums and oddly enough my local library in the UK, the BBC has even broadcast how to make 'Gun-Cotton' (Nitro Cellulose). Plus a wonderful little find in the Port Talbot library details the finer points of Nuclear weapon design and will never quite look at a stainless steel vacuum flask the same way again.

    Nine nanograms of RDX explosive..from where exactly?, each batch has a chemical signature. Odds are this is from cross contamination, deposited by arresting officers. Handlers of sniffer dogs routinely handle various explosives for training the dogs.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Do I detect a hint of sock puppetry...

    ...in these comments.

  62. Lozzyho
    Thumb Up

    Hmm

    Well if you're so sure he's innocent, answer this: Why the hell didn't he just hand over the keys? Yeah, I'm sure he "forgot" them all, couldn't even hazard a guess.

    The authorities had no option. He COULD have been hiding anything, and surely the law CANNOT take refusal as a presumption of innocence. Let's face it, I don't want Al Qaeda suspects doing so either. I don't suppose missing bail hearings, trying to enter countries illegally and having traces of explosive on your hands helped his case either.

    C'mon, I dislike Jack Straw and the government as much as the next man. But if it's a choice of protecting the public (especially kids) or protecting those who think they can give two fingers to the law, i know who i'm siding with. If he is innocent, then he's BLOODY arrogant.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Basic standards

    Imprisonment (outside such silliness as this) usually requires a JURY to decide BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that the accused INTENDED to commit a CRIME.

    Sectioning IIRC requires TWO QUALIFIED PSYCHIATRISTS to decide that ON BALANCE the individual is a DANGER TO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS.

    He may well fall into the latter category but imprisonment for not telling the police your encryption code(s) is a basic implementation of thought crime. Along the lines of. "Tell us what you were thinking". You either have to lie to the police (a crime) or admit to 'bad thoughts' (a crime).

    BTW I doubly encrypt the files on my drives and would not release the encryption codes to "some weirdo" even it they had a badge as it's got my banking details, photos of my kids, medical records, passwords and draft of my Great Novel that includes murder in the plot!

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    skipping bail

    He may have had a reasonable reason for missing his bail hearing (for something that was eventually dropped) and it's possible nobody made it clear to him he wasn't allowed to have a new passport (what was his state of mind at the time? What kind of schizophrenic is he?)

    And he seemed to be under the impression that if he pled guilty he'd be released - so maybe someone wasn't being entirely truthul - plus he's now sectioned which is something you do for people who are a danger (to themselves or others) for a variety of reasons.

    As someone said this is the kind of thing they did in Soviet Russia and likely still do (pro democracy/human rights = either dead, in prison or in a mental health ward), in China it normally results in an asylum (if they can't pin anything on you) or Prison.

    I'm sure there's a number of other countries where people believing in justice get put out of the way aswell.

    There's a pretty big difference between initial supicion and going after someone like a pitbull whilst having a complete lack of any evidence.

  65. neb
    FAIL

    AC @12:41

    >>What if they are photos of him with his married lover that he refuses to decrypt to protect the other party?

    now re-read what you wrote, give your head a wobble and think why that might not appear to be an obvious choice

    don't get me wrong they're still shits

    but with me having a tin of soup for lunch, thats £2 in the 'escape blighty fund' for me 'n the kids(sod the wife, she voted for the reptiles!)

  66. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    (null)

    Just give e'm a Mickey-Mouse password, then when it doesn't work claim their half-@rsed de-cryption attempts must have corrupted the file... from personal experience with police "experts" they will be far too busy trying to cover their own backsides and wont have any time left to prove it one way or another.

  68. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Clearly Mental Health problems?

    Err - excuse me? Paranoid? Everyone out to get him?

    Sounds like he's the sane one in this case ... now where have I heard of authorities locking people up for "mental health issues" ? That would be the KGB in Russia...

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I see a return to...

    ..."If you drown you are innocent;

    If you float you are guilty."

    The terrorist have already succeeded in an attack; we've had the right to silence, habeas corpus repealed, freedom of protect rescinded etc. We are going to be getting ID cards and continual intrusion into our lives.

    The terrorists have won. They have destroyed our way of live.

    I hope you Labour/Tory voting morons are happy. You are in league with terrorists!

  70. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    So...

    This is very complicated.

    Yes, this law is stupid, but even assuming your account is 100% true it's quite clear that this guy has some serious problems in terms of his interaction with society. As such it appears that he probably needs almost constant supervision. And this is where another stupid act of parliament comes into it. Care in the community is a stupid, stupid, stupid idea for those suffering from such serious mental illnesses. What's worse is that what was CITC has morphed into a situation where sufferers are largely left alone unless they ask for help. And of course the worse the illness becomes the less likely they are to ask for help.

    I have experience of working with a paranoid schizophrenic who was required to regularly check in with his care worker as part of his care arrangements. However whenever his illness worsened he would start to believe that his care worker was out to get him and would miss his appointments and actively avoid his care worker. Should any member of his family or friends suggest that he should see his care worker then they too would become part of the enemy, and things would get worse from there. He would start to do things such as reporting his care worker and loved ones to the police for harassment or worse and it would all culminate in a spell in hospital.

    Yes, you can attribute this guy's behaviour to his illness, but this does not mean that he should be allowed to do as he likes. However, this does not mean he should have been charged with any of these offences. Any police interviews and any prosecution should have been carried out in conjunction with mental health professionals.

    Oh and if your story is to be complete we should be told the grounds for his being sectioned.

  71. Apocalypse Later

    Hero

    You have to be nuts to stand up to them. That's their position anyway.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    90 Day Detention without charge

    Just to remind people that originally Tony Blair wanted 90 day detention without charges being laid. This is just a means by which the guy can be detained without them having charges worth holding him on.

    Even if they'd got the 42 day detention without charge, they have used that.

    The UK is diseased, not fit to be in the Soviet Union let alone the EU.

  73. Onionman

    @yossarianuk

    The 1994 act states: "(3) A person shall not have the proceedings against him transferred to the Crown Court for trial, have a case to answer or be convicted of an offence solely on an inference drawn from such a failure or refusal as is mentioned in section 34(2), 35(3), 36(2) or 37(2)."

    i.e. silence alone is not enough for a prosecution. You need other evidence. You do still have a right to silence, i.e. "I'm saying nothing; it's up to you to prove your case".

    Under RIPA, silence IS enough to warrant a prosecution.

    Somewhat different, I feel.

    O

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    great article

    The Reg at its best

  75. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The UK police + laws suck.

    So if you have any encrypted files on your computer you don't know the password for you can go to prison!!!

    What the hell, I have lots of encrypted files on media I own (blurays, DVDs) all stuff you download from Steam is encrypted. I don't know any of the keys to those off the top of my head. So does that mean I am a criminal?

  76. This post has been deleted by its author

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rdx

    Just had a squint at the new scientist article:

    "...

    The police car, a Vauxhall Astra, had 111 nanograms of RDX on the inside of its rear doors and windows.

    ...

    "

    Looks like there was a chance he picked up the 9 nanogrammes on his way to the cop shop.

  78. JohnG

    Stop the presses! Mentally ill people do strange stuff!

    Someone with paranoid schizophrenia might do very strange stuff and think that everyone is out to get them - especially when the police have been trying to get them for a while. They are quite likely to stop taking their medication, thinking that their doctor is part of the conspiracy and then the situation gets steadily worse.

    Why the fuck did someone not section him FIRST!!!! - not after he has been sent to prison. If he had spent some compulsory time in a psychiatric unit, he would have been given the necessary treatment and, once back to normal, would have probably been quite cooperative and apologetic for missed court appearances, etc.

    I hope the policemen concerned sleep soundly at night and have warm feelings about how they managed to get a mentally ill individual locked up who, the judge has admitted, was never a threat.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lozzyho

    Becouse he believes in the right to silence, innocence, justice, and the right to privacy. At no point does it appear he said he forgot them, he was exercising his right to silence.

    "But if it's a choice of protecting the public (especially kids)"

    ^ this particualarly the end bit proves you're an idiot.

    The eternal fall back "think of the children."

    Evidently he had not been trying to get into Canada illegally (but you're too stupid to read that that case had been dropped.) 9ng is a meaningess amount, and it was accepted by all involved that he was not a risk to national security. Sadly your reading and comprehensive abilities are close to zero so trying to explain anything to you is similar to attempting to explain maths to a bucket of piss.

  80. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    NOT FIT FOR ANY GOOD PURPOSE....

    "During sentencing, the judge seemingly confirmed that NTAC staff had been unsuccessful in their attempts to crack the encrypted files - or had not bothered trying."

    The latter case would be a travesty of justice and surely render the prosecution more than just malicious and vindictively negligent.

    ""It was government trying to put in place increased powers so that we could preserve and sustain our democracy against this new kind of threat," he [Jackboot Straw] said in a Radio 4 interview." Oh please, even a blind man on a galloping horse can see that democracy has never been a governance system and is replaced with a quite fascist and failing petty dictatorship with Labour Muppets and Puppets leading the way to their inevitable ruin .... for they all end up the same way.

    And what further madness from the System they wield, that has a convicted premeditated murdereress sent to an open prison when given a life sentence,in 2001, later reduced to a minimum 12 years ..... but it does help to have royal connections, I suppose, to justify the barking madness ...... http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6929568.ece

  81. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Lozzyho

    @Lozzyho

    IMHO you're pathetic. Swallow any old nonsense will you? "Especially Kids" LOL Pull on the heart strings. Get a fooking grip dude :) You sure you're not working for the gov? Think of the kids. Poor kids...I'd hate to live with the fear you must be living with constantly.

  82. ElFatbob

    re: Charles Calthrop

    'Good to see a man with principles defend them, I suppose. On the other hand, traces of explosive is a bit odd.'

    Or maybe not. I'm sure the rocket enthusiasts he deals with are a relatively small group, therefore the same people who sold him the rocket carcass are likely to be actively involved in making rockets and may have use for this stuff legitimately.

    Given the previous comment about quantities you can expect from a 'second generation' handshake, perhaps this isn't so strange...

    At the hub of it i would expect a trail leading back to ACPO, who no doubt suggested these powers were needed in order to make sure the police had the capability they 'needed' to deal with the 'threat' without recourse to a judge, as they strapped on the jackboots....

  83. Colin Millar
    WTF?

    Pointless law

    Because properly secure encrypted stuff doesn't hang a sign around its neck saying - "hey look here - I'm encrypted." You cannot prove that something is encrypted.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Schizophrenic

    I sugest a few people look it up. That is probably why he keeped missing appointments, trying to travel, move house and his live was genraly a mess. It sounds like the guy needed help not prison.

    Poor guy.

    I wonder if the police know that if you realy want to hide something you don't encript it, you hide it (In a photo, or MP3, or how about sticking it somewhere in the source code of your OS as comments - unless the police are real geeks they are never going to look at that). So many ways to hide things, and the police will never find them if they don't know where to look.

  85. John Murgatroyd

    RDX

    Civilian applications of RDX include use in fireworks, in demolition blocks, as a heating fuel for food rations, and as an occasional rodenticide. Combinations of RDX and HMX, another explosive, have been the chief ingredients in approximately 75 products.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/explosives-nitramines.htm

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Please give over with the hand wringing

    All the talk of "well what if he didn't have child porn / bomb making plans in his encrypted volumes? What if it was pictures of kittens" is disingenuous and wilfully ignores the facts.

    That's exactly what the police asked him to prove, which he could have done by decrypting the files. He didn't. Which rings alarm bells unless you're a committed optimist, which doesn't tend to make you a great detective.

    I'm fully aware this'll be jumped on by the "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" brigade, but that's not what i'm saying at all. I'm asking how YOU propose to deal with the very real problem of people encrypting child porn / terrorist plans in the modern world. What's the solution? Ask them nicely, then give up if they say no?

    If you don't want the police to be suspicious of people who refuse "on principle" to decrypt hard drives after being found with explosive on their hands, after skipping bail, after applying for a passport when theirs was retained etc etc, you're asking them to only pursue criminals they catch with a knife in someone's head and a signed note of intent ("I done it, it was me, i meant to do it, it's a fair cop")

    Besides, he seems to be doing fine giving interviews, so he can't be all that incarcerated.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Michael 2

    "The guy wasn't strapped to a chair with his gonads wired up to 240v was he? He wasn't beaten,..."

    Yeh for British justice! Under this government, if you DON'T get your gonads wired up to 240v then you should count yourself lucky! Lucky You!

    "mistreated, fitted up or in any way a victim of a miscarriage of justice either..."

    Well yes he was. The decryption reason was given as 'terrorism' yet he was not prosecuted as a terrorist. He was stuck in a mental institution without any mental examination (which lets them withhold him indefinitely), and he is entitled to privacy, so it is a miscarriage of justice to demand his keys without a corresponding prosecution to remove his right to privacy.

    But on the plus side is Gonads remain UN-electrocuted, so he should count his glass half full under this government.

    "Kids, if you didn't kill your parents with an axe, say "Not guilty" when asked...but if you do plead guilty, and if you spent the whole time during the investigation being blase about the law and the bail conditions, the chances are you'll get treated like this guy did."

    So the burden is on kids to prove they DIDN'T axe murder their parents? The complete flip over of 'innocent until proven guilty?'

    What is interesting here is that he was mislead into thinking that if he confessed then he would be released on time-served. He should have better legal advice, the police are bastards who want to lock people up for anything to fill their quota, this should have been explained to him.

    What have they prosecuted him for? FOR FAILING TO HELP THEM IN THEIR FISHING TRIP!

    That is what it comes down to, cut through all that silly putty nonsense and other 'no smoke without fire innuendo' that is what he was prosecuted for.. NOTHING!

  88. Ocular Sinister
    Unhappy

    But which party do we vote for...?

    But which party do we vote for to get rid of all this crap? None of the major ones even talk about it, and I can see these kind of policies appealing to Tory core vote so I'd be surprised if they rolled them back. Labour won't undo what they did themselves, and the Liberals... who knows what they are thinking, if anything!

    Time to vote for a 'little' party I think...

  89. Dennis O'Neill

    @Lozzyho

    "The authorities had no option. He COULD have been hiding anything, and surely the law CANNOT take refusal as a presumption of innocence. Let's face it, I don't want Al Qaeda suspects doing so either. I don't suppose missing bail hearings, trying to enter countries illegally and having traces of explosive on your hands helped his case either."

    Yes, he COULD have been hiding anything, but that's no reason to look. I COULD be hiding anything, too, but the law used to require that either reasonable suspicion or evidence be produced before guilt was assumed. If they accept that he is neither a threat to the public nor a terrorist, both of which they openly admit, then they have NO right to insist that he opens his files. They have admitted they have no reason to suspect him of anything but defiance. That is why they have put him away. He didn't enter any country illegally, and even though he missed bail hearings, he was NOT charged with missing the bail hearings. Had he been so, there'd be no argument. But he wasn't. He was charged with defying authority.

    "C'mon, I dislike Jack Straw and the government as much as the next man. But if it's a choice of protecting the public (especially kids) or protecting those who think they can give two fingers to the law, i know who i'm siding with. If he is innocent, then he's BLOODY arrogant."

    And why shouldn't we give two fingers to a law that gives the filth the right to suspect anyone of anything? Why on earth would he do anything other than give two fingers to such a corrupt and unjust law? And if being BLOODY arrogant was against the law, you'd have to jail every MP, every lawyer, every footballer, every banker, every sleb, the list is endless.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot - "Won't somebody think of the children??"

    As to those who think he's getting the 'appropriate' treatment by being sectioned, you have no idea what those places are really like. He's there because they can't put him anywhere else without evidence. He won't be helped there, he'll be held there indefinitely, stuck in the Catch 22 that as long as he defies them, he must be mad. But in order to get out, he has to do what he doesn't want to do and allow them to look at his files. So as long as he protests his innocence, they will say he must be sectioned and the only way out is for him to admit to a 'guilt' that he doesn't want to admit to, thus allowing them to re-arrest him in order to go through his files and find whatever the hell they want.

    It's a fishing expedition, pure and simple. Something we were repeatedly assured that would not happen with this act.

  90. Jimmy 1

    Mr. Rubberband

    Meanwhile, back in the real world the authors of this farcical situation, represented by the Foreign Secretary David Milliband, are desperately trying to suppress evidence of complicity in the torture of an innocent UK citizen while he was off-shored to countries that take a more relaxed view of water-boarding and genital mutilation.

    Milliband is now preparing to appeal to the highest court in the land where his pathetic whining will be treated with the same contempt as it received in the lower courts. But please don't expect Inspector Plod to be waiting outside the Supreme Court ready to slap the 'cuffs on Wavy Davey, that's a privilege reserved for the peasants.

    So maybe JFL is lucky in the sense that he wasn't off-shored and tortured to reveal the content of his encrypted files. But hey, this is New Labour so don't hold your breath.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL...13 months... is that it?!

    13 months, of which he'll probably serve about 6 or 7 as long as he's a good boy.

    Seems to me if he anything even vaguely incriminating in those encypted files he's got off with an absolute touch! Well worth not disclosing for a pissy little sentence like that no?!

  92. Evil_Trev
    FAIL

    What a tale of woe

    Some paranoid schizo buys a model rocket and some test tubes, Not really a threat to National Security or evidence of terrorism is it ? Evidence of dumbness ? It isn't illegal to be dumb or ill, yet, never mind.

    Then he decides to keep his gob shut and not hand over some passwords, yes he probably did have something 'incriminating' on his p.c. No evidence yet of a issue, there are thousands of numptys, dipshits and assholes with hard drives bursting with stuff like this and guess what, not one of them will ever actually do a damn thing! Knowing how is no evidence of intent or ability or sufficient courage to DO.

    So wipe the files, or destroy his p.c.'s, give him a warning and send him on his way, jobs a good 'un.

    If he is ill suggest treatment, if he is a danger to himself or someone else the section him, happens every day to people like this, not really news, just a social problem.

    Since the Judge reckons he's not a terrorist or threat to national security, then the ripa provisions do not apply and anything found could be argued to be inadmissible, He should get a good solicitor and media agent, set up a 'blog' and start an E-Petition like all the other fruitcakes.

  93. Law
    Grenade

    Inglorious Basterd...

    I watched this film last night... it really is starting to freak me out just how nazi like our police are becoming... and did you notice that the "jew hunter" looks an aweful lot like Jack Straw when he smiles???

    Me thinks it's time to put on a merkin accent and take a few scalps...

    Oh - and "One file encrypted using software from the German firm Steganos was cracked, but investigators found only another PGP container." made me lol @ gchq... and at how awesome it is that this guy is at making them so frustrated that they lock him up, then commit him!

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lozzyho

    *golfclap* I was just waiting for the "woman in Simpsons" crying "what about the children" post.

    What I am wondering about is the RDX traces. The compound seem to be pretty easy to find with the right equipment as is cocaine. Can RDX spread as easily on say banknotes in an ATM as cocaine?

    It's no secret that a majority of 100 dollar bills have enough trace amounts of concaine on them that a trained dog reacts to them.

    So if you exchange a couple 100 dollar bills that has been rubbed with RDX... plausible?

  95. zooooooom
    Thumb Down

    @Lozzyho

    Your an idiot, anyone *COULD* be hiding anything, and to think that he got locked up when there was no evidence is just plain wrong. It must have been bleeding obvious to the rather sinisterly named CTC that he wasn't in their critical path.

    Paranoid? No that implies a *misplaced* distrust of the authorities.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Please give over with the hand wringing

    There is no hand wrining, if you can't prove a person did something or planned to do something with the evidence available to you tough shit.

    You start locking folk up on assumption, well in the end it means more terrorists, more discontent, more social disconnect, more failed communities.

    The law should stand for what is right and just, not for rumour, suscpicion and innuendo - that's what the poice are for.

  97. Sandra Greer
    Flame

    Fascinating

    and evidently the stuff of George W. Bush's wet dreams. Now we know what he was trying to emulate here in the good ol' USA. The Yale Cowboy is an Anglophile - who woulda thunk?

  98. The Original Ash
    Grenade

    @Collin Millar

    No, you can't prove that it's encrypted. But therein lies the danger. You can't prove that it's *NOT* encrypted.

    There's your RIPA violation; Not providing keys. You can't prove it's not encrypted, they don't have to prove it is.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Compare and contrast

    ``The suspicion of terrorism was dropped long before trial and JFL was sentenced under RIPA Part III as a general criminal rather than a threat to national security.''

    If RIPA had anything to do with terrorism at all then it makes no sense to not drop RIPA part III prosecutions if terrorism suspicions are dropped. Thus:

    ``"The government are satisfied that offences set in RIPA are appropriate and that

    the legislation is being used effectively".''

    RIPA was not about terrorism. I'd call Jack Straw a liar but I'd be repeating myself.

    Also: I'd like to send the guy a post card just to show he isn't the only one who thinks the government in fact was out to get him and still keeps it up while acknowledging he isn't a threat as such, no. Oh, and I like the veiled hear-say accusations from government officials. He could possibly be a paedophile AND a terrorist rolled into one because he values his privacy. Sure. Right. Carry on government.

  100. copsewood
    Big Brother

    thoughtcrime and evidence obtained through torture

    I wrote to my MP (Bob Ainsworth) while the RIPA was being debated, protesting that this kind of injustice would inevitably result from it: i.e. otherwise innocent people being jailed because they refuse to disclose cryptography keys. I can't imagine anything more closely resembling the idea of thoughtcrime as described in George Orwell's '1984', in which any resistance to the total ownership and control by the state over the state of an individual's mind and thoughts was considered criminal.

    The reason the US constitution's 5th ammendement prevents the US authorities from demanding an individual's self incrimination:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Self-incrimination

    Is because self-incriminatory evidence was invariably obtained through the use of torture. The threat of imprisonment against an otherwise innocent person is a form of mental torture, and the loss of mental health by JLC as a consequence of his wrongful imprisonment is further evidence that this aspect of the RIPA is a form of torture, referred to by cryptographers as "rubber hose cryptanalysis":

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber-hose_cryptanalysis

  101. Richard 102
    FAIL

    Presumed innocent

    "I'm sure there's a well-known mantra in law that says "suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty." Or at least there used to be....."

    We lost that here in the states after the 1916 election. My great-grandfather, a third-generation American, was pulled from dinner with his family nearly beaten to death on his front lawn in front of his wife and kids for commiting the crime of having a German last name. This was a certain organization that a certain US President re-elected around that time encouraged via law, money, and executive order. All to help the Limeys beat the Hun.

  102. Ross 7

    I laughed

    I laughed twice when reading this.

    1. "One file encrypted using software from the German firm Steganos was cracked, but investigators found only another PGP container"

    and

    2. "I'll type this slowly for you - there is no proof he got it whilst commiting, or planning to commit a crime" (AC, 24 Nov 09 12:41)

    I cried during the rest of it :'-(

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Explosives?

    "Good to see a man with principles defend them, I suppose. On the other hand, traces of explosive is a bit odd."

    Not really, I legitimately work with explosives in the military. I open a shop door. You enter a minute later using the same door handle. You're contaminated.

    I wont even start about quarry/mine/tunnel workers

  104. Gordon Pryra

    The guy broke our rules, so he got jail. Simple

    He broke a lot of rules

    he had traces of high ex on him and didnt give a reason

    he broke bail conditions

    he attempted to obtain passports on a number of occasions

    he refused to give up the encription keys to the authoritys when asked for them.

    What are the police supposed to do?

    What would you be saying if it turns out that he set a bomb off killing loads of kids and women?

    Yes the majority of the people who have posted are from the "fcuk the police!!" camp, or the "I wish i could get out of this country" camp.

    Then why don't you? because the rest of the world is a shit hole is probably why,

    Our laws does keep our society ticking over, and its a lot better than any African or East European state. Check out South America if you want somewhere nice to live where your personal freedoms are protected. You could always move to ..... the States.....

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What a joke

    We pay people to tell criminals that PGP is hard to decript? Seems to me the police should have moved to make this case go awawy quietly instead they have just shown that they were put off by PGP so every crim. and his wife now know how to hide evidance. Why don't we just sack the lot of them.

    I think the police should have a right to search elictronic files as they would paper file under a search warent , not this stupid law. If PGP is a problem the government should have made it a criminal offence to own it. RIPA is no use if at the end of the day someone can sit on password untill it is of no use at all, so why did we need this crap law.

    Having sead that it seams he will spend a life sentance on a nut farm so he has not got off sccot free, unless he can prove he is not mad.

  106. Dave Murray
    Grenade

    facists

    "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know... What is anybody gonna think?"

    That CTC are a bunch of facists that have forgotten about the presumption of innocence. Which comes as no surprise these days really since the MET and most other UK Police forces seem to follow the same procedures.

  107. Graham Marsden
    FAIL

    @Please give over with the hand wringing

    "I'm asking how YOU propose to deal with the very real problem of people encrypting child porn / terrorist plans in the modern world. What's the solution? Ask them nicely, then give up if they say no?"

    And I'll ask YOU why you consider the principle of Presumption of Innocence to be so insignificant that anyone who uses encryption on their hard drives can immediately be considered to be a terrerist/ paedo and locked up for refusing to prove their innocence.

    Tell me, do you write for the Daily Fail?

  108. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    Re: Truecrypt considered harmful

    "If the experts know about truecrypt then they'll demand both keys."

    But that's exactly how TrueCrypt achieves plausible deniability - there's no way to distinguish between unused space on a TC volume with one password or a hidden volume (with a second password). [*]

    In other words, you can't tell from a unique TC volume whether there is one key or two. If someone was convicted and sent to prison for "not revealing the second key" without there being solid evidence of a hidden volume existing in the unused space, I'd be looking to leave this country.

    I use TrueCrypt so that I can keep my private files on my HD without them being accessible to any other users, even if I leave it logged into my user account. I've found it to be the most useful encryption program out there - once you mount the encrypted volume it behaves transparently just like another disk. Unmount it once you're finished and you end up with a file that just looks like random noise again. Simples and free (as-in-beer).

    [*] If you have previous copies of the TC volume container file, then there ARE ways to detect the presence of a hidden volume if its contents have changed. In that case, expect to have the RIPA book thrown at you.

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  111. kosmos
    FAIL

    I love the smell of RDX in the morning...

    RIPA is an extraordinary piece of legislation, matched equally by the abject lack of intelligence on display here in some of the posts.

    RIPA is noted for principally reversing the burden of guilt. Because you can not prove your innocence you are automatically guilty. A failure to produce a decryption key for any reason to data containe on your electronic device can result in the assumption of guilt and an arrest.

    Benjamin Franklin said it best..

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

  112. tirk
    Black Helicopters

    Will someone think of the taxpayers???

    Just remember - it's costs heaps of our tax money for the police to pursue this vendetta.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    The Real Danger

    @AC 13:20 -

    > You protest an awful lot, citizen, and you hide behind the AC name, it appears that you wish us to look at him and not at you. I strongly suspect your laptop contains evidence of your crime, and well, you sound very very interested in the issue.

    You sound like Chairman Mao or one of his accusers. It's not the lone pariah lunatic or petty criminal we should be afraid of - they can only harm themselves or at worst a small number of other beings. History demonstrates that It is those with power we should be truely afraid of - they can murder millions.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    schizophrenic ?

    Did he display any schizophrenic symtoms before the CTC decided to arrest him for refusal to hand over his decrypted files. Is this the future of the way our new stazi are going to deal with innocent people, get them sectioned under bogus mental health charges. He obviously crazy as he has invoked his right to silence.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @ AC

    " I'm asking how YOU propose to deal with the very real problem of people encrypting child porn / terrorist plans in the modern world."

    You'll get no answer here. All the posters with 20/20 hindsight can say with perfect indignant "Of COURSE he's innocent you FOOLS" based on the side of the story given by the aggrieved victim.

    The chorus of assumptions is deafening. He thought he'd get out with time served so pleaded guilty? It must have been the 'thorities that told him to do that! He was sectioned? OMG he was dragged to a rubber room without being assessed!

    You may not like the fact that many laws in the UK require the defendant to prove their defence but they do. You don't even have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, just on the balance of probability. RIPA didn't invent this. If there is a warrant to search your house the police don't walk away if your front door is locked. Unfortunately for encrypted files there is no battering ram.

    He decided not to obey the law after he'd been told he'd go to jail. He pled guilty. He had no defence for his actions. He went to jail. Even assuming he's not telling a glossed version of the truth he was still the architect of his own misfortune for failing to help himself. Well at least he has his principals.

    Here's a thought, I wonder was he was sectioned after tellingy a mental health worker he had an insatiable urge to (insert violent perverse sexual violent act here) and had lots of pictures and videos of same on his triple encrypted drives.

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't forget...

    ... that there was a judicial system involved too. A judicial system that now seems to be shamefully complicit with the govt in eroding our liberties. There was a time when English judges were noted for their refusal to toe any kind of political line - as many of our basic rights were established in courts as in Parliament. Especially that most basic, elementary and once inviolable human right - the right to silence when accused.

    Now it seems to have simply degenerated into a comfortable establishment of power-hungry government, cheap-pinch police forces and compliant public-school judiciary - not to mention of course the all-encompassing 'brethren'.

    A few more cases summarily thrown out of court would soon bring Straw & Co to heel, and we might see our civil rights once more given slightly more priority than media copyright.

    But somehow, I just don't see it happening...

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Poke a Hornets' Nest ....Enjoy the Billy WhiZZ BuZZing Swarms*

      "Is this the future of the way our new stazi are going to deal with innocent people, get them sectioned under bogus mental health charges. He obviously crazy as he has invoked his right to silence." .... Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 23:36 GMT

      Is it a Crime to Silently Think on Reserved Ancient Counsels. ....... Immaculate Saintly Protocols?

      * Jung Beautifully Confused Pioneers ...... Precocious Angel Scouts in AdutERated Fields of Enlightenment and Joyous Elevated Being

  117. Robbie 1
    FAIL

    This reminds me of something called a Dictatorship

    The guy was a paranoid schizophrenic... Let me spell that out for you lads complaining about him not wanting to talk / appear / decrypt, his stuff.

    P A R A N O I D - S C H I Z O P H R E N I C....

    Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. In the original Greek, παράνοια (paranoia) simply means madness (para = outside; nous = mind). Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state.

    If you by now still dont get the problem... pls find a rock and crawl under it.. you clearly dont know what your on about

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Tough one this...

    This guy aint exactly mother theresa...missing bail appointments, dodgy passport action etc. I think the police had enough reason to at least question him...

    That said...this RIPA shit is way to heavy handed. The purpose of it is to catch terrorists because terrorists might use encryption. Well, what do you think a terrorist would do if arrested carrying a laptop with his latest crazy scheme to fill parliament with rabid rats?* Is he going to think

    "hmm, i best tell the police the codes or they might lock me up for abit....no wait! If i tell the police the codes they will discover my heinous plan and i will get 35 years and be banned for life from keeping pets!, best keep my gob shut"

    They didnt think that one through, did they? Now the police will just fuck over joe public and make criminals out fo the innocent. It wont help stop terrorism. Only a total fucktard would hand over codes that will incriminate them in a serious offence.

    *or other madcap scheme dreamt up in a hollowed out volcano.

  119. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Outright Totalitarian Police State :( ...

    Sadly it certainly shows how badly we now live in an outright police state.

    "Some of the contents of the luggage could [DSTL's emphasis] be used for the manufacture of explosives" ... And so could the contents of almost every house/kitchen/garage in the UK. I guess that makes all of us in the UK potential terrorists and so everyone must be watched 24/7 and punished at every move.

    I can understand a business man wanting to encrypt their business files and not being willing to trust contracted programmers working for security agencies with their data. Nothing is to stop these security agency experts leaving their current job and then going off and making use of what they learn while spying on other peoples computers.

    Of course in the minds of security agencies such a possibility can't happen and even if it did, its not that important (in their mind) as seeking to find that one in a few million terrorist amongst us all. So we are all subjected to this relentless state surveillance with instant intervention and abuse whenever they wish to rip open our lives and spy on everything we do and say. Stand in their way, and its instant punishment, to arrest and lock people up, then break into their homes and then send them to jail.

    Also this isn't the first time the state has misinterpreted the intentions of science/engineering enthusiasts. In a case like this, its not helped by the problem security people don't understand people could be enthusiastic about science or rockets (or chemistry, or biology, or electronics etc...) ... (The state just expects us all to sit brain dead watching reality TV). The thing is, previous generations of home scientists, engineers and inventors etc.. didn't have this problem because back then, they didn't have such utterly paranoid security state enforcers who jump in terror at every foot step anyone makes near them. They are so jumpy now they see evil everywhere and trust no one. So they are determined to punish us all if they are not allowed to spy absolutely on us all. Which means they have now utterly destroyed centuries of fought for freedoms such as privacy and liberty from state intervention and abuse.

    "In his judgment, Judge Hetherington: "there is nothing sinister in any of this but it is essentially private matters and you do not see why you should have to disclose anything to the authorities."

    Thats because we believed we were still in a free country. Now we see we are forced to live in an outright Totalitarian Police State we fully accept you Judge and the state you represent can now commit effectively a form of privacy rape against us all whenever the state wishes.

    So much for hundreds of years of our history. Our ancestors struggled and even died trying to gain freedom and liberty from state intervention and abuse and yet now its been utterly wiped out thanks to NuLabour. I will never forgive Labour for this outright betrayal of us all. Centuries of struggles wiped out by these self righteous arrogant control freaks.

    Looks like our generation is going to have to repeat the fight for freedom again, to free us all again from the paranoid greedy arrogant control freaks in power. Time to start up another London Corresponding Society, to fight back.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Corresponding_Society

    3 quotes from history:

    George Santayana (1863 - 1952): "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    Andre Trocme (1901 – 1971): - "All who affirm the use of violence admit it is only a means to achieve justice and peace. But peace and justice are nonviolence...the final end of history. Those who abandon nonviolence have no sense of history. Rather they are bypassing history, freezing history, betraying history."

    David C. McCullough: - "History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

    So thank you NuLabour, for showing just how far you arrogant lot will abuse a country when everyone drops their guard against such Narcissist people as yourselves. Hopefully history will remember NuLabour for a very long time. Centuries of struggles wiped out. :(

    1. ForthIsNotDead
      Thumb Down

      Bollocks

      >So much for hundreds of years of our history. Our ancestors struggled and even died trying to gain freedom and liberty from state intervention and abuse and yet now its been utterly wiped out thanks to NuLabour. I will never forgive Labour for this outright betrayal of us all. Centuries of struggles wiped out by these self righteous arrogant control freaks.

      What a total load of shite.

      >Our ancestors struggled and even died trying to gain freedom and liberty from state intervention

      Man, you owe me a new keyboard!

      Our country has fought, for centuries, harder than any other country to subjigate it populous AND THE POPULOUS OF OTHER COUNTRIES to Her Majesty the Queen (or King) and to the laws of the United Kingdom.

      British Empire, anybody? Hello?

      By all means, have your opinion, but please, get your facts straight. We are the worlds biggest bad boys. Make no mistake. Do you think the Nazis invented concentration camps? Clue: They didn't!

      Sorry for the rant ;-)

      1. MinionZero
        FAIL

        @ForthIsNotDead

        As you are evidently a troll, I don't expect you to care about so many events in UK history which you are frankly arrogantly ignoring, but then you are obviously too busy being arrogantly insulting and then twisting the argument into a cheap swipe at the British Empire, whist still ignoring so much history.

        Also you are totally ignoring the people of the UK are not and have never been responsible for the actions of their leaders. The leaders were the British Empire because they controlled it. Do you really believe the people in power have ever really cared about what the peasants of the country have to say. (Most people back then didn't even have the right to vote!). Plus the only time the people in power ever listen to the peasants was when they feared they were about to be thrown out of their rich positions of power by a revolution and even then they changed the laws to punish anyone who called for them to be thrown out of power. Democracy especially over the past few decades has become an illusion to placate the masses, to make them think they have a say in the way a country is run. (Even then its taken hundreds of years of historic fights to finally fight for the right for so many people to even have the right to vote. So yet again, ForthIsNotDead, you show you've totally failed to read up on the history of the UK). I.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reform_Bills

        e.g. “Before 1832, one adult male in ten had the vote”

        Now compare that with the dates for example, of say the American War of Independence, (which was against the British Empire), this war was 1775–1783, therefore the British Empire was very much about the what the leaders of the UK wanted and out of the control of the wishes of the peasant people of the UK who were not allowed to vote. Also the peasant people were totally controlled by their arrogant greed leaders (sound familiar!). This proves the empire was nothing to do with the vast majority of the peasants of the UK, and worst still while other countries slowly fought for freedom from the British Empire, the peasants in the UK were stuck with the arrogant greedy empire establishment. The way things are going, it looks like we never really totally freed ourselves from the greedy power hungry establishment.

        The political ideologies sold by each political party are ultimately meaningless because what every party ultimately descends into is a pyramidal hierarchical command and control structure of people with power over others. Its the hierarchy that defines the party behavior not their sales pitch ideology. Thats why the most extreme left and the most extreme right political parties are virtually indistinguishable. Its not about their sales pitch its just about a group of people all fighting for power over each other and so it naturally forms into a hierarchy of people with more power over people with less power. So a Democracy is a way to choose once every so many years between groups of people who will all behave the same way, seeking power over others people. All the time these people keep altering the laws to help the people with money and power, as NuLabour have very clearly shown time and time again, not least of which everything Peter Mandelson touches is for the gain of his rich friends in business and where do politicians go when their political career is over. They go into the businesses they helped to get rich. The corrupt attitudes of the politicians now are no different than the attitudes throughout UK history, but you, ForthIsNotDead, very evidently don't know about UK history. e.g.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Corresponding_Society

        Start by reading up on the London Corresponding Society. It was a group formed from skilled technical people (back in their time) today the nearest comparison would be people very much like most of us on here. They were intelligent and educated people of their time, but had very little political power and were ruthlessly repressed by the powerful ruling elite who ruled without a care for what the vast majority of the UK people thought. Sound familiar?!. These ruthless greedy arrogant people in power are only ever interested in their own greed for money and power, and NuLabour have spent the past decade undermining the legal system to give them ever more power.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Taking a Few Further Steps ....

      "David C. McCullough: - "History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.""

      Err....... That is incorrect and misleading, DCMC. History is who we were with who we are cloaking who would we be to become and thus are, too..... in Quantum Field Realms.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @neb and Ross 7

    ">>What if they are photos of him with his married lover that he refuses to decrypt to protect the other party?

    now re-read what you wrote, give your head a wobble and think why that might not appear to be an obvious choice"

    I'm obviously having a blonde moment - what, aside from obviousness, is the problem here? If I was dating a married policewoman 'In flagrante delicto' , I would most definitely have problems handing over the key to decrypt those files. How long before copies of the photos made it back to her station noticeboard?

    If it is just the unlikely event of him having an affair with a married lady, then fair enuff - not an immediately obvious candidate for that ;)

    @Ross 7 - Glad you liked it. At least someone derived some humour from this otherwise, frankly, terrifying event.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Subject to search

    Entering a the country means they have the right to search you, regardless of anything. If he were carrying a large lead safe, with a combination lock that no-one could crack, they'd be within their rights to get him to open it. If he didn't, then you're asking for trouble.

    If he's asked to do it by a court order, then refusing is contempt of court (which can carry similar penalties).

    Frankly I'm relieved I live in a country that recognises that an encrypted file is the logical equivalent of a locked safe.

  122. Doug Glass
    Go

    The Biggest Brother

    And here I was thinking the good old USofA was suffering. We got nothing on you people; nothing at all.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chemistry books

    I have a book on Organic Chemistry I bought about 30 years ago. It includes the synthesis of TNT. Indeed there are probably hundreds of chemistry books with the synthesis for TNT or similar. Funny that in the age of the FOIA's the accessing of long freely available scientific information could be redefined to be a crime. Well, not 'funny'.

    Along with all the other lurches toward totalitarianism we're seeing these days, it is notable that Creationism is looking increasingly like becoming required teaching as Science (required teaching as anything is bad enough).

    I suspect when they get round to book burnings, these days it won't be by the Mental Minority in the street, it'll be in the same official incinerators where the home grown goes.

    I'm guessing The Anarchists Cookbook is no longer available in public libraries?

  124. Billy 8

    1990...

    As a bit of a mark of respect I've been watching some old Edward Woodward TV work recently. He did a show in the late 70's called "1990" [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_%28TV_series%29 ]. It's surprisingly good. The government is rather authoritarian, nominally left-wing, rabid home secretary and endless privacy-encroaching laws with a special political police force who use threats, vaguely worded laws etc to control the population.

    It's all a bit tatty in a wonderfully true-to-life British kind of way - worth a watch if you can find it. This story (and many other recent ones!) reminded me of it...

  125. Scott 19
    Troll

    @The Original Ash

    That or trolls, may i suggest going to Google and typing Real Climate, your Trolling will be appreciated over there.

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Prosecuted under the Innuendo act of 2006

    "o me, Alan Johnson, Jacqui Smith & Jack Straw are the mentally ill people who should be sectioned. They are psychotic, they project their own insane fears onto others."

    Yes, to me too.

    And Blair and Brown for using them.

  127. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @Please give over with the hand wringing

    You have got the law wrong. One shouldn't have to prove one is innocent. One is innocent until proven guilty. Locking up people who are too ill or disturbed to clear themselves even though they are innocent does not serve justice. Let us know who you are, and if ever you have to prove yourself innocent, I will be your character witness. I'm staying anonymous.

  128. Haku
    FAIL

    Witchhunting

    The 1500's called, they want their regime back.

  129. copsewood
    Big Brother

    @AC13:52 GMT

    "I'm asking how YOU propose to deal with the very real problem of people encrypting child porn / terrorist plans in the modern world. What's the solution? Ask them nicely, then give up if they say no?"

    Is the reason you use envelopes on snail mail because you have something to hide or is this because privacy is the normal default ? Police work takes effort and time and costs something, and isn't successful in every case. The fact that this could make some police work cheaper doesn't justify compulsory use of postcards instead of envelopes. The same applies to cryptography and compulsory key disclosure. What price innocent people being locked up as with the Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4 ? Did these innocent people being locked up result in IRA terrorism being reduced or did these miscarriages instead result, as many including myself believed, in IRA terrorism being increased ?

    Locking a genuine peado or terrorist up over a refusal to disclose a key when there is no other evidence will make them appear to be taking the principled stand of a privacy martyr, which also won't help the cause of justice against peadophilia or terrorism. If there is other evidence it should be up to the prosecuting authorities to investigate it properly in order to be able to convince a judge and jury, rather than having to rely on a travesty of a law which presumes guilt by requiring an individual to self incriminate. If we need this aspect of the RIPA in order to defeat terrorism then this cause is lost, because the terrorists have decided what kind of police state we are going to become.

  130. ASG

    @Eddie Edwards

    A-men brother.

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    See it this way

    I have a penis so surely it's only right I'm arrested because I have the tools to be a rapist?

  132. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What was it Sherlock said about the Improbable being most Possible and More Likely?

    "I hope you Labour/Tory voting morons are happy. You are in league with terrorists!" ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 13:36 GMT

    The evidence is mounting towards the overwhelming that the morons voted them into Public Office.

  133. Valerion
    FAIL

    You have the right to remain silent

    Unless we decide otherwise, then we'll just throw you in chokey.

  134. Ventilator
    FAIL

    Silence is Golden....though somewhat tarnished

    "The Tories took away our right to silence (1994) #

    By yossarianuk Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 12:44 GMT

    We have no had right to silence since 1994. The last conservative government took that away ..."

    Familiar with the current Police caution, as required by PACE, are you?

    In case you're not, I'll quote it here, from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 2005, Section G paragraph 3.5:

    "The caution, which must be given on arrest, should be in the following terms:

    “You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not

    mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything

    you do say may be given in evidence.”

    Additionally, to allow for imperfect recall , section 3.6 states:

    "Minor deviations from the words of any caution given in accordance with this Code do

    not constitute a breach of this Code, provided the sense of the relevant caution is

    preserved."

    So the right to silence is alive and well under PACE, but under RIPA it's a presumption of guilt and punishable by imprisonment.

    Under any circumstances a sizeable deviation from the established principle of law that says that a person is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty.

  135. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Was it...

    ... because he was a Muslim?

    1. Snafu 2

      @ventilator 23:40 That's fine but..

      it's the police's job to /arrest/; it's the court's job to /prove/

      Thus the police's job will naturally result in <an amount> of failures WRT convictions

      In no way am I condoning the police's behaviour in this, but remember that it is their job to detain (arrest) someone who has broken <the arresting officer's interpretation off> the law in this country

      IMV the bile in this session of comments should be more readily directed at the judge or the person who directed the doctors to put the poor chap in a) gaol folowed by b) mental home, for something he was only /suspected/ of doing

      WRT your mention of PACE & its contradiction in RIPA: well put; although I can't think of an example OTTOMH I expect one exists (or will do soon) :(

  136. Gilbo
    Thumb Down

    Plausable Deniability & Truecrypt

    Hidden containers in Truecrypt volumes are placed in amongst random data and have no signatures that can be used to prove their existence. Thus you can prove there is one big encrypted volume on a hard drive but you can't prove there's another one inside it.

    In this case Plausible Deniability is when "the very existence of an encrypted file or message is deniable in the sense that an adversary cannot prove that an encrypted message exists". - WikiP

    The fact you're opening the top level archive that has a few photos of your cat is enough to demonstrate co-operation. Any suspicions of further hidden volumes cannot be categorically proven. This bloke just wasn't encrypting his files properly.

  137. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No such thing as right to silence

    We don't have right to silence in the UK, never have as far as I'm aware. You CAN be silent if you want (what are the police going to do, move your mouth and throw their voice?) but it doesn't protect you in any way, your silence can be used as evidence against you in court.

  138. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Poor Bastard

    Looks like he's ultimately being punished for his paranoia ( which seems clinical ), a foolish belief that he had a right to silence and a right to refuse to disclose potential evidence, and no legal defence team.

    These laws walk all over individual's personal rights and the right not to incriminate oneself. Britain is becoming more like a dictatorship every day.

  139. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Labour a disgrace to civil liberties

    As a life long Labour voter, I can no longer vote for a party with policies in line with a police state.

    A presumption of innocence is one of those core values, as is having evidence that a crime may have taken place.

    Small traces of any chemical is no surprise. They say that we all have traces of cocaine on our hands, transferred from drugs money.

    You all **could** be anything I say you might be, unless you can prove otherwise.

    1. Doc Spock
      Stop

      @No Such Thing as Right to Silence (AC, 25/11/09 00:13)

      I recently had the pleasure of serving on a jury where the accused exercised their right to silence (i.e. they were not cross-examined). The Judge went to great length to make it clear that we (the jury) were not permitted to read anything into the accused's decision to remain silent and our verdict should be based solely on what _was_ presented to the court.

      Therefore, your silence _cannot_ be used to incriminate you. Sadly however, jury members may not always be that principled.

  140. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cast your mind back to one black day, July 7 2005...

    Ok, so here we have a chap with books on how to make bombs, a model rocket and a complete refusal to decrypt his data.

    I don't know about you, but given the facts that led to the July 7th bombings, I'd be rather curious as to exactly why this guy is determined to remain silent.

    It's perfectly reasonable to assume he's just a lone tinkerer with no terrorist thoughts, then again, it's equally reasonable, given his silence and the evidence, that he does harbour terrorist thoughts. Why the fuck would you want a book about making pipe bombs?

    Rocketry research? - possible, but an odd way to go about it!

    Are you going to take the risk, let the guy free and tell the families of the victims of July 7 2005 "It's ok, he's just a harmless amateur scientist!"?

    His path is simple - give them the encryption keys, prove his innocence, it's all over, everyone goes home.

    As they say, pride comes before a fall...

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    NO pre-sentence review before sentence ??

    Normally, not having a pre-sentence report from probation would be grounds for a judicial review of the sentence. I'm surprised that the judge took the view the defendant would not communicate with probation; normally probation would attempt to interview, since they are rather more expert at interviewing with a view to finding mental problems than a plod or a judge.

  142. zedee
    WTF?

    Corrupt Container

    What if you give the correct key after being ordered to, but a fault on your own HD/USB disk has corrupted the original file rendering it undecryptable?

    Plod: "That's the wrong key"

    Perp: "No it's not"

    Plod: "Oh yes it is"

    etc.

  143. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don&#39;t jump to conclusions without knowledge of the subject

    RDX has in the past been used as a component of rocket fuel, I guess it has high energy. Considering that he had model rocketry materials with him that presumably come from a rocket company this fact doesn't surprise me. However I think it's more likely that the presence of police sniffer dogs that presumably are trained by exposure to that substance and others and police that also presumably have some kind of training I'd say it was more likely to have come from exposure to them. Before using such evidence, they should be required to swab every person, dog and vehicle involved in the incident.

  144. This post has been deleted by its author

  145. oli1
    FAIL

    Missing the point!!

    Schizophrenic are often paranoid to the extent that they believe that there thought s are be read and even inserted into there head, by a malicious 3rd party. So where might a person, who is trying to get to a better state of mind put these thoughts? a diary. But to most schizophrenics, this would be far to risky, as someone could easily read it, however if this guy knew about encryption (remember he has a mental condition, hes not stupid) and he truly believed (or better still understood the underlying math) that his thoughts would be kept safe on the encrypted drive(where as unfortunately due to his condition, he probably didn't feel safe with thoughts in his own head ), then this may of been an excellent way do deal with his condition, somewhere unlike any 3rd person (which the illness prevents him from trusting) he could document his thoughts and maybe find a way to deal with his condition.

    The unnecessary bullying from the police would of certainly made his condition much worse.

    I read the reg daily but have never felt the need to post before, but after reading through all the current comments, i felt that quite a few people, seemed to have little or no understanding of the condition, and those that did failed to apply it to the main issue (the encrypted data).

    I would hate to think how much resources went into bullying this poor guy, that could of actually been spent trying to catch criminals.

  146. Maty
    Grenade

    Let's break this down

    Was this guy a harmless nut, or was he a potential terrorist?

    If it's the first option, then assuming he needed sectioning and treatment, that's what happened.

    If he was a potential terrorist, then the police were right to want to look at his files.

    However, the problem here seems to be that the police decided he was a harmless nut, and continued to treat him as a terrorist. Which is wrong.

    The gratuitous suggestion that he needed to prove he was not a child molester is beneath contempt. Have we really got to the point where we need to prove - and keep proving - our innocence?

    The problem with this part of RIPA is that it won't work anyway. Or perhaps a real terrorist /perv will say 'Golly gee, 13 months in prison? Please, look at my Al-Quaeda plans to blow up parliament* , and my child porn collection from kindergarten II to Primary year I. Anything but 13 months in prison!"

    *should we be stopping this?

    It's obvious that this law is and always was about snooping on ordinary citizens, and when one (admittedly far from ordinary) citizen refused, they had to punish him.

    Hand grenade. Obviously.

  147. headkase

    Authority

    I was raised to have a healthy disrespect for all authority. People are nothing more than animals and most of us are selfish, brutish, and petty at heart. My parents always told me that the world is full of crooks and thieves and that usually they wear suits. Politicians are a separate breed. To enter politics almost takes a psychosis in itself. You want to control how people live? Or do you delude yourself and posture that you are interested in belief and issues? Although distasteful as a necessary evil politics must have one line that cannot be crossed. The sanctity of the individual. Whatever you can gather and misuse about me from my environment and actions fine. Its a game and there are cops and robbers. But my mind is off limits. You may not compel me to divulge any of its contents. Those contents are my fears, virtues, dreams, hopes, aspirations, guilts, and identity. They are not and never will be yours without my consent. To cross this line demonstrates that we are no better than the enemy we purport to hate. We believe in self-determination, respect for all, tolerance, and following your heart. If we cross the line we are violating what makes us better. If we coerce an individual to justify their soul under threat of torture - even if that only means denial of freedom - then we might as well give up and become terrorists. I am an individual, you may not divide and extract a piece of my consciousness.

  148. J 3
    IT Angle

    Tough...

    Lots of knee-jerk from both sides here, it appears.. Lots of black and white but very little gray.

    Well, first of all, as far as I know in civilized countries there are rules that forbid the government to force someone to produce evidence against themselves. At least the two countries I am most familiar with (USA and Brazil) have such laws. Not that they are judicial paradises anyway, but at least the protection does exist. I would expect the UK to have the same. I thought the EU only allowed fully democratic countries in the club, but apparently things are a bit more lax than that... So yeah, the libertarian nut crowd have a great point on this one, and I agree.

    Second. Yeah, the crimes (felonies? what?) the guy committed were "minor", apparently. I don't know what type of sentence they usually carry for people not suspected of terrorism/pedo/hysteria-du-jour. But as far as I've noticed in other places, trying to get a passport under false pretenses (lying) is pretty serious stuff. Failing to comply with court orders is not taken lightly either. The guy had mental problems, we NOW know. Given general police incompetence most of the time, it's easy to see they should have discovered that much earlier and given the case the right type of treatment. But my question is: aren't terrorists usually mentally deranged anyway, in some form or another? Obviously that does not make people with mental problems automatically suspect, but this guy's behavior was definitely not kosher. Not criminal, of course, unless you count hiding your private stuff and being weird as criminal, but strange nonetheless when you look at the whole picture. Now the Daily Fail crowd has a good point too, if a little less water-tight than the previous paragraph's one.

    And finally, as mentioned by others, I'd like to see what your comments above would have looked like if the guy had indeed committed a violent crime after all. How many would instead be howling about how incompetent gov and police were not to see the obvious signs and stop him before it was too late, blah, blah, blah. Damned if you do and damned if you don't, it seems to me. I still think that it's better to live more freely and allow some risks like this than to be in a police state, but many of you guys seem to ignore the shades of gray in the situation.

  149. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Paranoid?

    "He says he felt harassed by authority and helpless against police he believed were determined to pin a crime on him."

    Seems both perfectly sane and reasonable to me. How could he be sectioned for recognising the plainly obvious?

  150. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    jolly rogers cookbook

    Its just occured to me that when i was at secondary school about 16 years ago there was a copy of the jolly rogers cookbook on 3.5 inch floppy getting passed around which has bomb making instructions, how to commit credit card fraud, phone hacking technics etc.

    Now this disk is probably still in the attic at my parents house along with many others and its scary to think that if the police found this disk they could send me or my parents to prison for having terrorist material.

  151. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit of a quandry here

    On one hand this law is really really bad - for two main reasons - it goes against everything a civilised country should stand for and GCHQ could just run it through their quantum computers and decrypt anything they are suspicious about anyway.

    On the other had this guy effectively took the line that he was going to act really unhelpfully, and with previous form he must have known that he was just going to piss off the authorities and make them really want to find *anything* to put him in his place.

    Just remember that he also wasted a lot of police time and resources in sticking to a principle - resources that might have been used productively elsewhere. Like I say I don't like the law in question but the important point is that it is the law.

  152. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Solicitor?

    I see loads of comments about the guy's mental state and the stupidity of the law for cracking down on an obvious non-terrorist. However no one has commented on the lack of his solicitor to defend him properly. There are plenty of facts which can be disproved or can help explain the guy's situation. None seem to have been heard or understood by the court.

    I hope some starts a facebook campaign and/or an e-petition to try and get JFL released from the hospital and for his criminal record to be cleared of all the stupid stuff.

  153. Lozzyho
    WTF?

    @ the ac's

    Funny how it's the anonymous ones here who like to throw around insults to people who have a different point of view, isn't it?

    I don't doubt the guy was probably anything other than paranoid or mentally ill, i'm simply saying I don't want encryption to be a way for paedo's and terrorists to evade the law.

    If you don't like that opinion that's your prerogative, but to call me an idiot for holding it only shows your own paranoia and ignorance.

    1. Phalamir

      Oy Vey

      "Just remember that he also wasted a lot of police time and resources in sticking to a principle"

      Are you kidding me? He didn't make the police do this - they chose to. If they couldn't figure out this guy was a garden-variety tin-foiler with all the time they had, they really are too stupid to breathe. The fact they decided to play Barney Fife isn't his fault - it's theirs.

      " Like I say I don't like the law in question but the important point is that it is the law."

      The law serves to help society prevent devolution into anarchy. It is a tool, not a master; when it fails, it bends, not us. If a law is crap, it should be opposed by every man, woman, and child who believes in the English-borne ideals of liberty - England used to call out against arbitrary, villainous power and not stand idly by while tyrants tried to enslave them. I guess they'll need to rewrite that second line of Hail Brittania for you. Your ancestors must have made it hard for Charles I to walk, since they were hanging off his junk so much

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  154. Colin Millar
    Big Brother

    @ The Original Ash

    You would have a pretty good defence that you cannot provide something that doesn't exist - so long as there was some doubt as to whether or not the info was actually encrypted.

    The problem with most encryption is that it stands up and announces itself - so the rozzers know there have to be keys so that defence wouldn't hold up.

    I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to devise an encryption programme to disguise stuff as something that makes sense in its own right and anyone who is really hiding stuff would be using that anyway.

    You could disguise almost anything as modern art or jazz music.

    BB is watching you - unfortunately he's not watching that guy over there who learned how to show the system what it expects to see.

  155. Registard
    Coffee/keyboard

    Comply then die..

    We are all guilty until our innocence can be proven. We must bare all to the state without complaint or redress. (RIPA 2000)

    Non-compliance is a crime and therefore punishable by indefinite detention. (Mental Health Act 2007)

    Welcome to the new millennium, it won't be long before the Government (Inc.) own your soul.

  156. Mike Richards

    9 nanograms?

    So in ball-park numbers around 1/100,000th the mass of a grain of sugar.

    It makes me wonder if that sort of quantity found on any suspect is a reasonable grounds for suspicion or could be achieved through nothing more than chance contamination. I wonder what the figure would be if you pulled someone off the street.

  157. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @Dennis O&#39;Neill

    You wrote ...

    "Yes, he COULD have been hiding anything, but that's no reason to look. I COULD be hiding anything, too, but the law used to require that either reasonable suspicion or evidence be produced before guilt was assumed."

    To be honest, that has always been more of an inconvenience to the police than an actual barrier. I've been stopped many times in my car with some imagined or minor infraction (often after being followed for 10-15 mins before they can find a reason to stop me), just because the police are on a fishing trip.

    It's been going on as long as I can remember (which is back to the sus laws in the 70's).

    The grounds and laws have changed, but it's the same thing.

  158. anarchic-teapot

    @JohnG

    "Why the fuck did someone not section him FIRST!!!! - not after he has been sent to prison. If he had spent some compulsory time in a psychiatric unit, he would have been given the necessary treatment and, once back to normal, would have probably been quite cooperative and apologetic for missed court appearances, etc"

    Watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" recently? You must have really liked that nurse...

    A few sanity checks:

    - At no point is it stated that the guy's mental health problems required permanent incarceration in the horror of a psychiatric unit.

    - It is estimated that around 10% of the population have mental health problems that require some sort of treatment, starting with counselling (fairly common) and going all the way up to lithium and other scary stuff (much rarer). Are you going to stick them all in hospital?

    - Do you have any idea of what is "normal", in psychological terms? And that "to section" means "to cut into pieces"?

    - Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a deranged mind ( (c) T Pratchett)

  159. Kevin 6
    FAIL

    @AC 13:52

    As someone who works at a mental health facility we have a ton of people with schizophrenia. They have varying degrees of it. Some think everyone is out to get them and will not talk to ANYONE, they also try and carry anything they own with them all day, and they try not to sleep because they are scared that someone might steal their "treasures" (generally a cheap $2 AM/FM radio).

    This guy from the way I read has schizophrenia to a slight degree. And seeing he has a small software company he might truly think they are out to steal his ideas and sell them to competitors. Also trying to flee the country would be a standard reaction to someone suffering from it seeing he thinks the whole government is after him. So in all truth it doesn't sound like its this guys fault more like your governments failure to help its citizens with mental issues.

  160. Lou Gosselin

    Could happen to anyone.

    Granted this person's activities may have brought attention to himself, however in theory, any of us could find ourselves in the same scenario without committing any crime. This is what the furor is about - a potentially innocent defender could never the less be imprisoned for standing up for what they believe is their fundamental right to privacy.

  161. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Countermeasures

    During my former employment, when RIPA came to effect our company removed all the encryption keys for our VPN's and secure storage devices from our offices located in the U.K. back to the head office in Canada. It would make any U.K. government agency who wanted to poke around in the companies taxes, H.R. files or anything else go through proper channels rather than bully the local I.T. staff with prison unless they gave them what they wanted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      @ the chap with the keys locked up in Canada

      But what do you think they'd do in the interim, in order to focus the minds and ensure, hopefully, the speedy compliance of those at head office.....?

      That's it grab the user and possibly a senior manager...... lock 'em up anyway. If HO takes it into their heads to resist there's then the potential for some poor sod/s to end up detained without trial for god knows how long, if the government get their way. The act of resisting itself here is a crime, but if you get the encryption keys and comply without HO clearing it, you're suddenly risking getting sacked. Oh deep joy......

      At other posters...... Yes it's the law, but it's inequitous, and an indication of precisely where our "leaders" are heading. In other news in UK papers today we also have the police accused of making spurious arrests simply to populate their damn DNA database. Of course the person arrested is quickly released, but their DNA isn't, and if your job means travel to the USA for example...... Oh yeah...... Great.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        I was the guy with the keys in Canada

        The point of the company would be it would buy them time to arrange a defense in case of a raid. Even just a few days would be all the time a multi-billion dollar company needs to send every lawyer in existence after these people/government agency. Then stack them with legal paperwork so deep they need parascopes to find their way to their cars. As for the manager and anyone else grabbed, that would be unfortunate for them while they bide their time in a cell, but I don't think charges could stick as they honestly have no knowledge of the keys or where they are. We discussed this scenario you mentioned, the guy in the jail cell was not our concern. We were told the lawyers would take care of him.

        As one of the people who formerly had knowledge of the codes/keys, I would never have given them out to anyone without the head of I.T. standing at my door with the head of security beside him. Actually, I couldn't even if I wanted to as they were locked in an encrypted storage area that needed three people to unlock it out of the ten authorized people, with either the head of I.T. or the security head being required as one of the authenticated users. Where tax data is involved with astronomical sums of money that could hang in the balance, they truly don't skimp on protecting it. They even filmed us being initially authenticated when the system was setup to prove who was an authenticated user, and to show the board of directors that they were serious about protecting company data.

        It was kind of a surreal experience...

  162. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    facist state??

    so you're hard drive is encrypted, so you must be guilty of a crime...you must have something criminal to hide in that encrypted partition.

    FACIST FUCKING BASTARDS

    As far as I can see, there was no evidence of any wrong doing at all, they wanted the passwords to go on a fishing trip, just hoping they would find some sign of illegal activity.

  163. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Guildford 4, Birmingham 6, JFL 1

    The report said:

    "There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective.

    "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know... What is anybody gonna think?"

    If I was in his position, I might have been tempted to say:

    "Could be worse, they might think I was a copper or a politician"

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paranoia

    Hundred odd comments and not one has questioned why he wasn't detained at Gare Du Nord in Paris when the sniffer dogs detected something. Presumably the dog was trained for explosives as it was the CTC who where waiting for him and not the the drug gang. Knowing that he's been in contact with explosives was he kept under observation until he reached England? If they suspected he had explosives why was he allowed to continue with the possiblity that the tunnel could have been a target?

    If you want to be paranoid you could think that the French let him on his way then tipped off the Brits knowing that he'd have sod all rights in the UK, unlike in France and most other European countries.

    Also, to the ones saying he got what he deserved, what did he deserve? When he was detained he hadn't committed a crime, he was detained and then told to prove his innocence. We all know that the phrase "Only in America" signifies a complete lack of common sense. We can look forward to "Only in Britain" to meaning a complete lack of rights. I'm starting to think that I'd rather take my chances with a country full of gun toting wing nuts than live in the UK.

  165. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guilty: @Michael 2

    "Kids, if you didn't kill your parents with an axe, say "Not guilty" when asked...but if you do plead guilty, and if you spent the whole time during the investigation being blase about the law and the bail conditions, the chances are you'll get treated like this guy did."

    Michael 2

    When asked to plea, you have a choice, guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty then you are gambling with the outcome of the trial You may be found guilty at the end of it.

    The whole thing is a gamble, if you plead guilty then most often the punishment is less than if you pleaded not guilty but were indeed found guilty.

    Was he guilty of refusing to hand over passwords under RIPA? Yes. And he knew it. That's probably why he pleaded guilty. All the other stuff about explosives is irrelevant.

    If he took the gamble of pleading not guilty, and they found him guilty, he'd probably have got a longer prison sentence. And given the facts, he almost certainly would have been found guilty.

    So he made the right decision, the decision which sees him serve the least prison time.

    Pleading not guilty, unfortunately, is not always the best way to plead.

    It's a fucking game of strategy and chance. It's not about truth, or fairness, right or wrong, it';s about doing the least time.

  166. P. Lee Silver badge
    Grenade

    Time to vote for the a little party

    Indeed. As for the big two: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

    As for the danger of kiddie-porn and terrorism. Should we compare the damage done by terrorists vs the damage done by our own armies? How many have died? How much more will we sacrifice and destroy in the name of anti-terrorism?

    Sometimes you just have to accept that bad people will do bad things and that legislation "so it will never happen again" is not an acceptable solution. Hard case make bad law, and this is one of the worst. Jailing people for annoying the authorities makes the us no better than the Americans are with regard to McKinnon.

    I'm yet again saddened and disgusted with my own country.

  167. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    We are not our disease

    This is a man WITH schizophrenia (if true), not A schizophrenic.

    BTW, in the States, mental health through prison incarceration is common practice. Usually the charge is disturbance or obstruction. By contrast, it is extremely difficult to get someone committed to a psychiatric hospital against their will.

  168. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Seems to me...

    ...that the stimulus that triggered this event is that this chap was smart enough to get the police decryption effort stuck in a tar pit - perhaps that was the nature of his work within his role as a software firm.

    He has every right to protect his work, as do those of us that read this site and work on innovative security.

    I'm posting AC because I also have mental health problems, and I can fully understand why this chap stood his ground. It's taken over 3 months to get a bank to even admit the existence of section 10.7 of the banking code and their attitude was if you don't do things our way we will make your life a misery, not at all that different to what's happened to this poor bugger.

    I forget passwords on an daily, even hourly basis, but THAT'S the reason I use a computer.

    The premise of his arrest and detention IS LAME.

    The behaviour of the court is highly suspect and abnormal, so there's either a lot more to this than we're being told, or he's being made an example of.

    My journal is behind a 128 deep PGP layer, with a 1024 byte passphrase (assisted access with thanks to xdotool), so I shudder to think what they'd conjure up to gain access to my shopping list, appointments and reminders.(this is an experiment and provides me with peace of mind when I'm paranoid)

    Since they were laying so much pressure on him for what amounts to no criminal activity I can see the thought process of "if I give in now, what will they do in the future", giving rise to "Do your worse and then its over". I suspect that even though he is detained he has won his battle, and I would like to meet this chap in person and shake his hand for having the courage to say NO.

  169. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legitimate business

    Lets suppose for a minute that you are a businessman negotiating a very secret deal with another company.

    Lets suppose that the company you work for has indicated that you were personally responsible for the security of the content of the negotiated contract and it must NOT be disclosed to any persons other than the executives of both organisations.

    Lets suppose you used a 512 bit key to encrypt the content of this contract but HMRC/Police suspect you of terrorism, what do you do?

  170. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Britain is first ( at least in Europe )

    Once upon a time I thought Great Britain's government was using Orwells '1984' as an instruction manual.

    Apparently they now obtained a copy of 'Mein Kampf' for further development.

    B.

  171. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't look now...

    Just because you're a paranoid schizophrenic, doesn't mean there aren't really people out to get you.

  172. jg007
    Grenade

    anybody whinging about this awful country , feel more than free to f£$% off

    ....if you can find somewhere better!

    I am seriously sick of moaning whingers who want to support every oddball who just feels like being awkward, yeah so what he is a pnoid nut that just makes him even more dangerous than the rest of us, maybe he should have been given mental health quicker but I am sure that most of the details available deliberately chose to paint the police in the worst possible light that they can just for the sake of a 'good story'.

    nothing on my pc is encrypted, why the hell should I care about people getting my junk and even if I was going to encrypt stuff why would I bother not handing the key over to the police, oh my god they my look at emails , shock horror

    get a grip people , NOBODY frickin cares about who you are or what sad thing you are doing on your PC and the only even slighty good reason for encrypting your PC would be incase somebody steals it and even then I bet there are plenty of other paper documents that you keep in the house with equally personal information and even if not all it takes is one asre working for your bank , ISP etc who hands over your details for £3 .

    Your data will never be 100% safe unless you live in a cave with no wires in or out and never hand over your details to any company / agency ever and I am sure this inconvenience would slightly outweigh miniscule chance of your data getting out there.

  173. Lawrence 7
    Thumb Up

    New Comment functionality

    Its like you just read my mind, As I thought, 'dammit reg you really need to get some nice comments functoionality going on, like, Reply, Report, Thumbs up and thumbs down"

    Now Im paranoid.

  174. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ironkey

    I have a question, what would happen if I walked through airport security with an Ironkey?

    Better yet, get an Ironkey and type in the password wrong 9 times and then let the police find it, when they find it you give them the wrong password and see what happens...

    Mike

  175. Lawrence 7
    Grenade

    Bullshit / @ 'awitty username' / LozzyHo & Give over the Hand Wringling

    Everything that needs to be said, has been said.

    but....

    @awittyusername

    "There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective.

    "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know... What is anybody gonna think?"

    What if there are pictures of children making bombs? what will the daily mail think?"

    COTW, You get my vote, Funny shit.

    @LozzyHo

    "The authorities had no option. He COULD have been hiding anything, and surely the law CANNOT take refusal as a presumption of innocence. Let's face it, I don't want Al Qaeda suspects doing so either. I don't suppose missing bail hearings, trying to enter countries illegally and having traces of explosive on your hands helped his case either."

    Idiot! Thats exactly what the problem is: Dont you see? Read the story, read the comments, you have a right to silience, but yet you don't. Do you believe in your right to privacy, and silence? Do you believe that you should not have to prove your innocence, but should be proven, by the justice system beyond a reasonable doubt your guilt? Do you not understand that they brought nothing of any value to support thier suspicions, that thier suspicions were dropped, but the guy was put away for RIPA offfences even though they had no charge for any actual crime, apart from using his right to silience?

    Then you should be seriously alarmed about this story, and what it means for your rights and freedom, because RIPA by all accounts suspends your rights. and I'm no activist, or spend all my days reading about this stuff, but this concerns me, alot.

    If your not, then I have no hope for you and your children, enjoy X Factor and stricly, the Jungle and the Dancing on ice, you drone. I hope you do not end up becoming overly paranoid, psychotic, or have a long term mental illness that causes you to have strange behaviour that would make the police question your suspicious behaviour, they outlook isnt good.

    ----------------

    Please give over with the hand wringing #

    By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 13:52 GMT

    " All the talk of "well what if he didn't have child porn / bomb making plans in his encrypted volumes? What if it was pictures of kittens" is disingenuous and wilfully ignores the facts.

    That's exactly what the police asked him to prove, which he could have done by decrypting the files. He didn't. Which rings alarm bells unless you're a committed optimist, which doesn't tend to make you a great detective.

    I'm fully aware this'll be jumped on by the "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" brigade, but that's not what i'm saying at all. I'm asking how YOU propose to deal with the very real problem of people encrypting child porn / terrorist plans in the modern world. What's the solution? Ask them nicely, then give up if they say no?

    If you don't want the police to be suspicious of people who refuse "on principle" to decrypt hard drives after being found with explosive on their hands, after skipping bail, after applying for a passport when theirs was retained etc etc, you're asking them to only pursue criminals they catch with a knife in someone's head and a signed note of intent ("I done it, it was me, i meant to do it, it's a fair cop") "

    ------------

    Thats a good question, what should the Police do about Peados and terrorists encrypting thier data: How about doing thier job properly? If they had, then they would have a case, but they didnt have a case, he got sent down for RIPA Offence, regardless of his strange behaviour. they didnt have a case. just being suspicious of someone doesnt make you a good detective. This didnt end up going to trail on terrorism offences or being a kiddie fiddler, and then get dropped in court because of lack of evidence, with an unencryted hard drive sat in the evidence locker. there wasnt a case to bring to court.

    1. Michael Smith
      Stop

      Are you sure about that?

      jg007:

      "nothing on my pc is encrypted"

      Are there any SSH keys on your system? How about an RSA key for work, or that nice DRM stuff in windows?

  176. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Conspiracy Theorists now all have goverment positions?

    After reading this I can only laugh. The task force set up to combat the crimes the new law sought to outlaw cannot even break the encryption on this guy's storage devices. Maybe they should actively seek to employ him, you know, for when the NHS, government and the likes leaves discs and laptops lying around in public. They will be so secure not even so called experts will be able to crack through it.

  177. Trev 2

    Sounds like judges need their powers changing too

    If they can ignore things like pre-sentence reports which cover a lot more than simply chatting to probation services then why on earth would it possibly be a good idea to ignore them. Sounds like the judge needs a kicking somewhere painful to remind him that he's dealing with people, not robots and there might be reasons behind certain behavior.

    As for release from hospital - probably be done quietly in a month or two.

  178. Gareth Bult 1
    Alert

    The scary thing is ...

    We're all just sitting here letting it happen ...

  179. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Troll

    Citizen, you are lawfully encouraged to board this train to Auschwitz

    With various people evidently fully in accord with the hallowed principles of "nanograms of RDX means we have to protect the children", "if it's the law, there must be a good reason for it" and "all suspects are guilty otherwise they wouldn't be suspects", I do wonder whether State Spin Control has managed to detect this forum.

  180. SirTainleyBarking
    Black Helicopters

    This is not a good precident

    So where are people like Amnesty International and the like.

    Oh sorry they only stick up for nasty little wannabe politicians in 3rd word countries

  181. This post has been deleted by its author

  182. Puck

    mental health and prison

    Having read the article, I don't think the judgement specifically reflects a shortcoming of RIPA III (seeing as it hasn't been used until this case) so much as a shortcoming in the way our criminal justice system deals (or doesn't deal) with mental health issues.

    I was heartened to hear JFL, the defendant, has worked for/managed a software company, and hope his condition will be recognised by the relevant bodies and his sentence reconsidered. I suspect most people with schizophrenia, will just not be in work, and I think it would be tragic were this to take work from JFL's life in a way that it were not to return satisfactorily and quickly.

    P.S. dig the new Daily Mail style 'rate that comment' things... now you just have to get a BNP readership to accompany those piquant stories and the transformation will be complete!

  183. Brian Morrison
    Big Brother

    OK folks, now remember.....

    ...that living in a free country comes at a price. That price is that freedom itself is more valuable than my or you life.

    So, if some lunatic, or terrorist, manages to commit an atrocity, rather than cracking down on all the normal and even abnormal forms of behaviour, we as a society have to do the equivalent of say "Nasty explosion, not many dead, our society and the country is unchanged".

    By acting as we have, we have *already* lost the fight against the people who want to imprison us, because we are busy building our own prison.

    Use your vote while it still has any chance of preventing this process reaching a successful conclusion!

  184. Puck

    Daily Mail

    Wow, the below IS a comment lifted from said newspaper...

    "And the moral of this story is ... #

    Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 12:00 GMT

    Leave the UK while you still can!"

  185. Philip Hands
    Big Brother

    Were do I send money for the fighting fund?

    RIPA is pretty much the first thing (to which they've been busily adding) that cased me to despise the current government.

    I mean, FFS, Jack Straw? He used to actually give a shit about human rights as a student -- do they take these people off for special conditioning on election to parliament?

    I have a USB stick that, at some point, I filled with /dev/urandom -- the stick has since died. If some arse decided that they needed the "secret data" on that stick, having done something clever to make it work again, how exactly am I supposed to prove that I zapped it with random data?

    I'll cheerfully send 200 quid to a fighting fund to get this case quashed just because I'm willing to fight the creeping (or should I say galloping) conversion of the UK into a police state.

    And for all those who seem to be saying: well why didn't he do this or that sane thing -- well, he's not actually sane -- Duh!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pirate

      Police chiefs

      A dicky bird has told me that some police chiefs are plotting to overthrow the UK government.

      It is essential their computers are checked to make sure there is no stuff like that on their computers, both at home and in the Cheif constabluaries.

      If the aforesaid persons refuse to give the pass information to allow these files to not only be seen but also opened then it is a statement of guilt and they must therefore for the sake of the nation be incarcerated.

      These persons saying there is nothing on the machines is just a lie, it is there and they are failing to disclose.

  186. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happend to Innocent until proved Guilty?

    A law that forces you to hand over passkeys assums you are guilty without a trial.

    From what I can tell, this man, how ever unstable, did not commit any crime other than not helping the police incriminate him self or not, who can tell.

    You need to PROVE a crime has been commited before you convict somone of crap like this!

    My passkey is always the abcd5678 , whats that officer? it didint work? oh dear, the data must be corrupt!

    I have given you my passkey as the law asks, its not my fault the date on the cheap memory card is corrupt!

    Now lets see you charge me for having corrupt data!

    The terrorist have won, they have given the excuse needed for goverments to take away our basic rights of freedom! Non of the so called, Democratic goverments give a crap about its citizens, all they care about are the big businesses that pay them bribes or offer them seats on the board of directors with massive payouts!

    It used to be, A goverment by the People, for the People.

    Now its A Goverment by the People, for Big Business and the Rich.

    This isnt Democracy, its an elected Dictatorship, we get to choose who our Dictactor is!

    1. ForthIsNotDead
      Stop

      The guy brought it on himself

      >A law that forces you to hand over passkeys assums you are guilty without a trial.

      No it doesn't. It is merely a search for evidence. Depending on whether you are guilty or not, the evidence contained in the encrypted files is just as likely to exonerate you as to prove your guilt. I know it's a cliche, but if you have nothing to hide...

      >From what I can tell, this man, how ever unstable, did not commit any crime other than not helping the police incriminate him self or not, who can tell.

      Correct. But I just can't see the problem of showing the files if there is nothing to hide. I have commercially sensitive source code that is encrypted. If the Police wanted to see it, I would show it to them. You might even get them to enter into an NDA (using the services of your Lawyer) whereby you agree to show them the information, and the Police will not disclose the contents if the the contents are subsequently shown to have no relevance to the crimes being investigated. I can't imagine the police having an issue with that.

      >You need to PROVE a crime has been commited before you convict somone of crap like this!

      But the police need access to evidence. Come on. Like I said, if you have nothing to hide, then disclosure will exonerate you and you'll be on your way. To refuse to cooperate will only make you look more suspicious.

      >The terrorist have won, they have given the excuse needed for goverments to take away our basic rights of freedom! Non of the so called, Democratic goverments give a crap about its citizens, all they care about are the big businesses that pay them bribes or offer them seats on the board of directors with massive payouts!

      I used to think the same, but there is another side to it: The fact is that we are living in the modern world, and terrorists and other criminals now have many ways to communicate and hide their information. As innocent citizens, we *have* to allow the police to investigate in circumstances such as this.

      More of a worry for me is when the various police powers are used incorrectly. For example, if they fancy a shufty at your data for any particular reason (let's say, extreme porn) it seems possible that they can use *anti-terrorist* laws as a means to get access to it. This is mis-appropriation of investigative powers, and that, I think is a larger problem. WItness local councils using RIPA to spy on you. *THAT* is the major problem here.

      Let's face it, reading this guys story, his actions were dodgy to say the least. Encrypted data, sending items in advance to his hotel room, jumping bail, false application of a passport, and refusing to assist the police in the course of their investigation. He looks as suspicious as hell. Surely any normal minded person can see that? He's a bloody idiot.

      Ok, if he is paranoid, he is paranoid. But that is not a defence. What if he is a paranoid terrorist? Should we all feel sorry for him and send him on his way? Of course not. He was caught under suspicious circumstances, and his behaviour subsequently only served to confirm that he was a dodgy as hell.

      Idiot. No sympathy for him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The guy brought it on himself.

        Dude! I don't think you were listening to the guy above. If the data was corrupted the police would convict him. An encrypted file is not evidence as you are claiming because you don't know whether is was an encrypted file is just random numbers unless you decrypt it. In the case above, you are taking on faith that the file really was encrypted because someone says so. Finding evidence is obviously never been easier if a file full of random numbers (aka unbreakable encrypted) is evidence.

        Id like to know if the author above was someone implicated in child porn or terrorism and they found a file of random numbers on his machine and demanded the encryption key. Clearly he would not be able to provide it and would claim it's not an encrypted file. The cops would then say "yeah we knew he would say that".

        You've taken due process and evidence and jumped straight over to the "He's guilty because we say so" and it's frightening how many people of this list think that's ok because the authority must be good guys. In this cause they've taken a guy he is simply sticking to a principle which equates to innocence until proven guilty and thrown him in jail for a year then sectioned him and you still think that these guys are the good guys.

        God help us because no one else will it seems.

      2. The BigYin
        Flame

        @The guy brought it on himself

        To just pick up on one poin that show how much drivel the rest of your post is

        "The fact is that we are living in the modern world, and terrorists and other criminals now have many ways to communicate and hide their information."

        We have *ALWAYS* lived in the modern world. In 1,000BC *that* was the "modern world" and means of hiding information/encryption-of-sorts have been around since then. People have always had ways to secretly communicate and pass on information, this is nothing new and only the means has changed.

        There is no need to compel and innocent citizen to give up any information. They are innocent UNTIL the state proves guilt. End of discussion. In many cases said citizen may just give up the info as they know it might cut out a bunch of hassle, but what if that info also contains deeply private information or they simply don't want to divulge?

        That is their choice. They are innocent.

        If you want to live in a state that presumes guilt, then kindly move to one that does. Stop supporting the transformations of Britain into to some fascistic state.

        "Idiot. No sympathy for him."

        Idiot. I do pity you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What gets me...

          ...well, one thing out of many, is as you say:

          "There is no need to compel and innocent citizen to give up any information. They are innocent UNTIL the state proves guilt. End of discussion."

          ...hardly anybody seems to understand that this is the natural state. It is like human rights. They are not something that can be 'granted', only denied. People who don't believe we have inalienable rights are basically, tacitly, saying that, for example, they think slavery is okay in the context of a society in which those with power want it. Like the way the right to vote being 'a concession', as most people with an opinion seem to think it is was as though a generous gesture by our 'owners'. Our Government do not have any right to impose draconian Law except the right of might. The very passage of such Laws prove that this is not a democracy. If it ever was, it is not any more.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think of it as...

      ...government of the people, by the hypocrites, for the hypocrites. But that prolly just scratches the surface!

  187. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Double Punishment

    It is interesting to see how we get from schizophrenia to, and here is the list:

    nut

    mentally ill

    psychotic

    lunatic

    paranoid

    idiot

    Now in the DSM (Diagnostics and Statics of Mental Disorders), or as most sane people call it, 'The Great Big Ugly Book of Name Calling', we have this:

    'Initial symptoms may include delusions and hallucinations, disorganized behavior and / or speech. As the disorder progresses symptoms such as flattening or inappropriate affect may develop.'

    Let's start with delusions shall we. A delusion is the belief in anything that is not true, and the problem there of course that no one has ever managed to find the truth of anything except maybe perhaps through the use of paradox, and a paradox is not particularly practical or something to judge another on.

    And of course it is normally subjective cultural, so the people who believed that world was somewhat spherical could be defined as schizophrenic back in the days of yore.

    Hallucinations, imagine a loved one or enemy, you have just had an hallucination. Ever had the dream you were awake, or imagined something visually, well that is an hallucination. And I am willing to bet nearly everyone over the age of a few months has experienced one.

    Disorganized behavior, well he managed to get organized enough to perhaps encrypt devices, or at least to allow the police to have that delusion

    Flattening, inappropriate effect, who defines that? Seems a bit of a catch all there, the DSM itself is quite flat, and for a sane society, wholly inappropriate.

    Psychiatry is full of logical fallacy, hypocrisy, violence and control in the rape sense, it is the Thought Police, and it is evil incarnate in this world.

    Psychiatry is certainly not based on compassion, or the desire to help, it is without virtue.

    Psychiatry is just modern day state sponsored torture, terrorism and corruption. Psychiatry is a very dirty control mechanism and a money spinner for the drug pushers, namely the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies.

    There really was no ethical or moral crime committed here, he just fell foul of the immoral and unethical laws that pollute the legal landscape, oddly enough produced by the automatons, deluded state loving paranoids and manic control freaks, oh the pathetic irony.

  188. Cohkka
    Alert

    @ ForthIsNotDead

    As someone else has already said, terrorism is just the fallout from living in a free society. Whilever we have one, there are going to be people that we've either irked, or are just generally nasy pieces of work who want to blow us up/shoot us/drop pianos on our heads. Whatever. Yes, it's a tragic loss of life when it happens, and yes we should take *sensible* measures to prevent them from doing it, and hit them with the full force of the law if we catch them. What we don't do is take *every* measure to stop them, because to do so means you no longer live in a free society, you can't, the two things are mutually exclusive.

    What people like yourself need to do is stop pissing in your pants every time you hear boogie-man bin laden or his cohorts is on the prowl again. Suck it up, mate, freedom comes at a price and that price is risk. Last time I checked, you are still more likely to die putting your trousers on in the morning than you are to be killed by a terrorist. Your fear is utterly irrational.

    As for the piffle about him getting what he deserved because seemed a bit dodgy. Seriously, wow, that's staggeringly short sighted of you. So he acted suspiciously? Suspect of what, exactly? The police didn't have a clue what they were looking for, they just fingered him as a bit off, didn't like his attitude, and threw not just the book, but the entire library at him.

    No, I'm sorry, you're the idiot in this one.

  189. Lord Zedd
    Big Brother

    The terrorists won a long time ago

    In the states we have the 5th amendment that protects individuals against self-incrimination so, luckily, this sort of injustice will never happen.

    ForthIsNotDead above is a perfect example of the gutless plague eating away at our society. Are our brothers and sisters in all the military branches dying for our freedom just so we can roll over like a coward dog and submit to people wanting to walk all over it?

    "I know it's a cliche, but if you have nothing to hide...

    But I just can't see the problem of showing the files if there is nothing to hide."

    Ever heard the expression "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile"? Freedom eroding laws are exactly that.

    "refusing to assist the police in the course of their investigation"

    I don't care if a person is 100% innocent or 100% guilty, NOBODY should be required to aid the police in a case against themselves.

    If you're innocent, they won't find any evidence and they won't have a case. If you're guilty, its up to THEM to find the proof.

    Granted, the guy was a complete idiot for skipping out on bail and falsifying a passport application. He deserves every day of 13 months for it.

  190. Keith T
    Megaphone

    The real terrorists are our government

    The real terrorists are our government, both the bureaucrats who found our freedom an insulting inconvenience, and parliamentarians who caved into New Labour's demands that our freedom be ended.

    If we were to actually imprison those who terrorise Britain, who take away our way of life, who have toppled our unwritten constitution, we'd have put Tony Blair, Jack Straw, and various nameless faceless intelligence agency and police operatives behind bars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And

      "If we were to actually imprison those who terrorise Britain, who take away our way of life, who have toppled our unwritten constitution, we'd have put Tony Blair, Jack Straw, and various nameless faceless intelligence agency and police operatives behind bars."

      ...and Gordon Brown.

      Notice how he tried to put Blair (and cronies) beyond any possible perceived reach of the Iraq Inquiry by putting him forward for EU President? Brown has just tried to nobble the Inquiry and seems to be getting away with that one in full, real time, public view.

  191. Michael Smith
    Linux

    Deniability

    My hobby is creating files full of random numbers. I have written a little C program for the purpose. The police are welcome to play with it and the useless files it has generated.

  192. Simon B
    Thumb Up

    Right decision

    At first I sided with the bloke until the last few pgs when it detailed the book, the armour etc etc and when there was an encrypted file within an encryted file ... well that's just OTT for anything of a legal nature IMHO. I think for a change they made the right call. What they need to is to crack the other container to prove it, if they can then they could rearrest and lock him up for longer and avoid a probable terrorist catastrophe. However if it contains innocent material then a full public appology would be essential.

  193. JFL

    From JFL

    *Thank you* all for your comments.

    JFL

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      my

      My buddy has armour, swords, spears, airsofts, books on guns, and all that stuff - he just likes these things. Some people like guns, swords, knives, armour, tanks, bombs, and all the other stuff - I mean just look how hard Sun readers got when we went to war with Iraq.

    2. SC Handle
      WTF?

      Yeah right

      I am so glad you made that point.

      You have proved that barring chastising your point you are not worth responding to.

      I have the right to hold any legal data I wish on my computer howeverso desired. If I choose to encrypt and encrypted file that is not illegal nor should it ever be.

      If the authorities thought Mr. JFL a threat they would have broken all of his encryptions in a matter of hours, a few days at most. They full well knew there was no point and so they didn't. Rather send an innocent person to jail for exercising a basic human right that we are now denied in the UK.

      From my own personal point of view Simon B you can take your opinion and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

      Nothing the guy did other than remain silent is illegal and if you feel that silence is illegal then you should be sectioned IMO.

      I am disturbed to see that anyone could side against a guy for remaining silent. Also the fact that the only person ever to be prosecuted under RIPA section 53 wasn't a terrorist shows how poor the legislation was, as many feared at the time, and how it has now been abused.

      What can I say but I am totally unsurprised that our government has once again turned on its own citizens. So glad I never voted for any of these bastards in parliament. Shame you can't recall them and remove civil servants. Between the two they are the problem, not terrorists or the British public.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bottom line: your human rights were breached..

      The UK government has been slipsliding along Human Rights 8..12 for a long time now, I'm sorry you had to be a victim.

  194. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Flame

    I am old enough to remember..

    the Cold War, and the reports of the way the Soviet Bloc treated it's citizens.

    The UK press would regularly say that a 'dissident' had been arrested and interrogated, then either charged with a catch-all crime like 'endangering the Soviet Union', or alternatively remanded to a mental institute. Frequently, the UK press would contrast the Soviet system (where there was no right to silence or proper defence) with our 'free western' one.

    I was brought up to believe that arresting people on vague suspicion based on random searches and their unwillingness to cooperate was the mark of a totalitarian dictatorship. Even on the television, western police would say something like: "Well, we know he's planning a robbery, but he has rights - we can't arrest him until we have clear evidence...", and the villains would say "You can't hold me, copper, you've got nothing on me..."., while the chilling interrogators in a spy drama would point out that "No one can help you now", and "We will keep you here until you rot..".

    Now, in a few short years, I see our authorities are matching their Soviet counterparts precisely - even to the use of mental institutions for people who 'won't cooperate'. And amazingly, there are citizens who support them, who argue that everyone should be totally subjected to the authorities so that we can 'catch paedophiles and terrorists'.

    What we should learn from this is that dictatorships are NOT the result of one strong man seizing control. The monster is NOT Stalin, Saddam or Pol Pot. The monster is ourselves, and the attitudes of those amongst us who would cheerfully throw freedom away because they cannot see why it is important. And, for a free society to exist, it is vital that those of us who do value freedom make our voices heard at all times, on this and other platforms, and counteract the collaborators whose attitudes will pave the way for a genuine dictatorship...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We must be...

      ...about the same age! Yes, that's exactly as I remember it too. And yet I was surprised, when I took Psychology, to find out about Stanley Milgram and his Obedience experiment. I have long thought Psychology should be required reading. In case you or anyone else reading this don't know of the Milgram experiment, he wanted to see what it was about the German people who allowed the Nazis to do what they did, but was surprised to discover a universal human trait of obeying perceived authority figures <i>except</i> in Psychology students, i.e. those on their guard because they already know what the rest would consider fantastic, that humanity is capable of doing.

      Education not only really does work, it is the only thing that can.

  195. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Guilty until proven innocent

    I really hate the way these things go, the whole "guilty until proven innocent" philosophy seems to pervade the police. Fail to provide the keys means jail time, that is unacceptable.

    To those who support this crazy law... Imagine that I post some Encrypted drives to your house and then call Plod claiming your a Terrorist or Paedophile, your failure to know the keys will get you jailed despite your truthful denials that you do not know the keys, how would you feel about that being innocent and all?

    Other things we see are peaceful protests being treated with almost a riot squad level of force response, remember an old man died at the G20 protests for being pushed over by a copper in Riot Gear.

    DNA Databases being filled of innocent people by coppers arresting people and then releasing them without charge.

    Hell just the other night driving home at 2am I was personally pulled over in my car for "Driving Carefully" (Yes you read that right!!) by the cop car behind me, who immediately wanted to use the breathalyser on me because they deemed that as suspicious...

    Kiss your freedoms goodbye folks.

    1. Gordon is not a Moron

      Being pulled over is nothing new...

      it's been common police practice for the last 30 years or so. Anyone driving on a well lit, well maintained, empty road in a deliberately inconspicuious manner during the wee small hours is assumed to be up to no good, as they are trying too hard not to be noticed. Sort of in the same way that the plod would want to have a word with anyone leaving the vicinity of a mugging who happened to be wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses

  196. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Headless Chickens

    Those of you screaming in panic at the idea that this law somehow assumes guilt should think about the wider law for just a moment.

    If a police orifice turns up on your doorstep with a search warrant you are committing an offence if you refuse him or her access to your property. This is pretty much the digital analogue (eh?) of that situation. The only difference being the requirement for a search warrant. Since obtaining a search warrant is a formality these days it is almost entirely irrelevant to the comparison.

    So what exactly is the difference here?

    I'm not saying this law is right, I'm just comparing it to another law that nobody here seems to have considered.

    1. SirTainleyBarking
      Grenade

      The difference is

      That to get a warrant, they have to show probable cause to a Judge, who should tell them to sling their hook if they are going on a fishing expedition.

      RIPA does not require this

      Win/Win for the filth

  197. Law
    Grenade

    RE: @Headless Chickens #

    I can see how you think somebody refusing to hand over a key is the same as refusing entry to your property, but an encrypted file is not a house, and that comparison only works in this particular situation. In this case, the guy refused to give up the key, yes, but anybody can plant an encrypted file on your pc at any point.

    My laptop will have tons of small 1-3mb files from years ago on it, generated by an application I wrote for work... I've since forgotten what the passcodes I chose were. I have encryption scripts from years ago written in python from university, and output files from them - but I don't have the keys for them anymore, as they were provided by the lecturer on the lab days.

    Anyway, my point is that not knowing the key is not the same as refusing entry... but the police will assume you are withholding the key, and if you genuinely don't know it, then you are in violation, and that is why people should be worried.

  198. Frank Zuiderduin

    Disgusting little country

    That's what Britain seems to have become. Glad I don't live there.

  199. JFL
    Go

    From JFL

    Currently writing a book about my experience entitled 'Bit' (this started when I was age 32, get it?).

  200. Gordon is not a Moron

    Re:Subject to search

    --Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 23:38 GMT--

    Entering a the country means they have the right to search you, regardless of anything. If he were carrying a large lead safe, with a combination lock that no-one could crack, they'd be within their rights to get him to open it. If he didn't, then you're asking for trouble.

    If he's asked to do it by a court order, then refusing is contempt of court (which can carry similar penalties).

    Frankly I'm relieved I live in a country that recognises that an encrypted file is the logical equivalent of a locked safe.

    --

    Now as I understand it, if you have a safe with a good old fashined metal key you can be compelled to hand it over to open the safe. But if the safe has a combination you can't be forced to remember it, as it is a safe guard against producing self-incriminating evidence via a rubber hose and falling the stairs of the cop shop.

    Unfortunately RIPA treats encryption keys as physical keys and not combinations. So maybe the best solution is to carry your laptop round in a damn good combination safe, the weight might be a bit a problem, but still what price liberty?

  201. iMess

    @ All who think innocence should be proven

    Grow up, please or get off the internet.

    JFL is doing what he perceives to be the right course of action. Paranoia or not, this is what they believe. I have a gun licence and own various firearms, I have an interest in explosives. My job requires me to do it.

    Many of you here seem to have not read the article, which states he has failed to answer bail (once - not several times) and he was on his way to a review meeting for this before he was arrested. He was denied passport applications FOR HIMSELF - not anyone else, it wasn't fraud.

    Get your eyes tested.

    Also, I believe he has been mis-treated, not physically but mentally. All helps eh? The sooner the police and various units of power become controlled or disbanded, the better. This country needs to start from scratch.

    GG.

  202. Gianni Straniero
    Linux

    Something for your cron

    echo -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- > /tmp/annoyance && dd status=noxfer if=/dev/urandom count=498 2>/dev/null | base64 >> /tmp/annoyance && echo -----END PGP MESSAGE---- >> /tmp/annoyance && mail -s "My plans for world domination" fit@met.police.uk < /tmp/annoyance

    Set it to run every ten minutes or so...

  203. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Headless Chickens

    "The only difference being the requirement for a search warrant. "

    "So what exactly is the difference here?"

    I think you answered your own question. That is not a small difference.

  204. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Innuendo

    "To me, Alan Johnson, Jacqui Smith & Jack Straw are the mentally ill people who should be sectioned. They are psychotic, they project their own insane fears onto others."

    By all the gods, are you really that naive? This law along with most of the other draconian measures passed by nulabour are nothing to do with the ministers concerned, these laws are the laws that the civil service and the police want. The civil service play on the ministers fears* in order to get these laws passed. Many people pointed out before Blair won in 1997 that a labour government would be a green light for the civil service to run the country. They were right.

    * Mostly their fear of being blamed for something and the subsequent harm done by that to their political carreers. Consider that you have named three ministers who's draconian laws and arguents in support of them have been very similar. Why would that be then? Is it because the ministers are all, by some startling coincidence, suffering from the same delusions? Or is it because the same people were responsible for the laws? "But Minister if this law is not passed some terrorist may be freed to carry out his evil deeds and you will be held responsible for the loss of innocent lives." And then the minister uses a distilation of the same argument on us.

  205. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Encryption

    I've got an old dell laptop I sometimes use and decided to encrypt the whole system to guard against theft of my laptop, upon rebooting it asked for my password ok so put it in, then nothing..., so thought maybe this is the wrong password, so tried again with a wrong password and this time it did say "wrong password", so my actual password was working but the encryption software has become corrupt or is stalling.

    I have also tried truecrypt on it and it produces the same result above, system encryption doesnt work due to some reason im not sure off.

    My main point is if your encryption becomes corrupt your stuffed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      IT Angle

      Household tricks for the computerized traveller

      Household tricks for the computerized traveller:

      You don't want officers to see an encryption password prompt. It makes them nervous.

      Boot up my laptop and a normal-looking Windows XP appears, with browser history, music, a few documents and a tiny bit of porn. It's what security officers at airport gates expect to see.

      The encrypted Linux partition boots from a USB drive I keep in the luggage. That drive is unencrypted and contains harmless files and a /boot directory with linux kernel and grub.

      Won't help against paranoid police, of course.

  206. JFL
    Happy

    From JFL

    Free JFL with every three packs of cornflakes. (I'm 'free'.)

  207. wildchief

    What can we do?

    If, as it seems, the UK is desending into a police state. What can we do about it? Who do we vote for? I have a young daughter and I feel for her sake I need to do something but what??

    Peaceful and legal suggestions only please!

  208. wolfmeister

    britain is getting worse

    that is so sad. the lawless society (for anyone in position of authority/power) trundles on - they can do anything they want now and we all know it.

  209. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    They'd have good fun searching all my equipment.

    My main computer has TrueCrypt, yes, but that's only got porn (legal AFAIK).

    However, I'm a geek, and I have lots and lots of computers new and old. Some with HDDs, some without. Some working, some not. Many are not PCs, and some that are have a non-Windows OS. Some HDDs not in computers. Lots of recordable media, from 5.25" floppies upwards. Dozens of EPROMs, some blank, some in computers, some not. (Teh uplaod coedz could be hidden inside my BBC Micro.) Several boards I made myself with vintage processors. Some stuff that cannot be read without other vintage equipment (I doubt the cops see 3" disks often). Some stuff that will 99% break if subjected to a rigorous investigation (5MB MFM drive older than I am). Terrorist plans and/or CP could be hidden on much of this if the files happen to be small enough.

    They would need a truck. How long would I be in jail for, eh?

  210. JFL
    Happy

    From JFL

    Computing rights. .On the subject of disguising keys, my tip is to think. Think of the Butterfly Effect of chaotic systems, a large effect can be made through...

  211. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Headless Chickens

    You quoted this:

    "The only difference being the requirement for a search warrant. "

    "So what exactly is the difference here?"

    And replied with this:

    "I think you answered your own question. That is not a small difference."

    That's very selective editing in your quote. If you were to include the rest of the original post you would note that it mentions that obtaining a search warrant is a formality these days. If plod want a warrant they will find some member of the bench to sign it off. Were you to have included that part in your quoted text then your response would have appeared meaningless, therefore you chose not to include it. Lame. You argue like a politician.

    When you look at the problem of super injunctions you will see that there is no shortage of judges willing to sign off something of very questionable legality. So do you really think there is any obstruction to getting a search warrant signed? Come off it. The idea of a signed search warrant was supposedly to control police powers, but magistrates and judges who see themselves as being on the same side as the police are not in short supply. Get real.

  212. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Is possession of noise illegal?

    Noise is everywhere, and it is indistinguishable from encrypted, steganographed contents. How can such a law be possibly enforced?

    This story makes me sick, but it's hardly a surprise for anyone who was aware of this shambolic RIPA III.

    I sympathise with the guy, who fought a commendable battle of "principle". He has all my support, and I really hope that some sort of appeal in Strasbourg will redeem him as the Rosa Parks of the new millennium.

    If not, on behalf of all of us, thank you for trying!

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