Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 16th Nov 2010 22:34 UTC
In the News As none other I know how problematic it is to discuss matters related to politics on the web. However, every now and then, there's no way around it, and this is one of those moments. There's this thing going on at airports in the US, and while many will see it as a separate issue, the body scanner issue, and the sad stories it has spawned, are symptoms of a far larger problem that is a direct threat to everything we've fought for during and since the Enlightenment.
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Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

"Heavy encryption that the police can't bypass easily was illegal in the US, last time I checked.
I'm going to assume you are ignorant of the facts and not trying to troll or deliberately misinform others. The encryption itself, and utilizing it, are not at all illegal in the U.S. If that were the case, no wireless router, no operating system, indeed no automobile would be legal to sell, own or use. Two things surrounding encryption are illegal in the U.S.: Exporting tools (hardware or software) which enable high-level encryption to certain foreign countries, and using encryption to commit a crime or obstruct a criminal investigation. In other words, it's perfectly legal to secure your WiFi using AES (in fact one day it may become illegal not to), and it's perfectly legal to encrypt the contents of your hard drive using Truecrypt or similar. It is absolutely illegal to not divulge the key when presented with a valid warrant for the key. "

But you're effectively agreeing with the former post.
Regardless of whether the encryption itself or the withholding the key is the criminal offence, either way the police can arrest you if they cannot decrypt your data and you refuse to assist.

Reply Parent Score: 6

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I guess I just took issue with his choice of words, but it sounded to me like he was saying the encryption algorithms themselves, or at the very least the act of encryption, is illegal. Call me a pedant, but things like that bother me.

Edit:

Regardless of whether the encryption itself or the withholding the key is the criminal offence


I forgot to mention that there is a massive difference between making the encryption itself illegal, as opposed to merely withholding the key. The latter is reasonable in a free society as it is necessary to be able to conduct a thorough investigation. After all, if by divulging my key I am able to clear my name, so much the better. But the former, i.e. making either the act or the means of encryption illegal, is a big step down the dark road of oppression and eradication of privacy rights.

Edited 2010-11-17 09:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

If you are presented with a warrant and refuse to unlock your front door; your going to jail. If you refuse to open or provide the combination for a safe when presented with a warrant; your going to jail. If you refuse a justifiable search; your going to jail. If you refuse to provide keys to decrypt data when presented with a warrant; your going to jail.

Do you disagree with the door lock, safe or personal search examples? Why should encryption different from any of these other methods of containment?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

If you are presented with a warrant and refuse to unlock your front door; your going to jail. If you refuse to open or provide the combination for a safe when presented with a warrant; your going to jail. If you refuse a justifiable search; your going to jail. If you refuse to provide keys to decrypt data when presented with a warrant; your going to jail.

Do you disagree with the door lock, safe or personal search examples? Why should encryption different from any of these other methods of containment?

You've missed my point as I didn't say I disagreed with the decryption example.

Reply Parent Score: 2