UK Man Jailed for Refusing to Divulge Encryption Key

In sharing this story, Mike Masnick confirms a discussion I was having with friends the other night, that at least one US judge has deemed revealing an encryption key or passphrase as self incrimination and hence barred by the Fifth Amendment here in the US.

Britain traditional has had weaker speech protections and the act under which this man was snared, RIPA, has led to some fearful abuses and overreach of law enforcement powers. In this case, specifically, the judge deemed the key to be an object and subject to demand, rather than speech.

The worst part is the defendant is apparently mentally ill, though there is no analysis of how this may or may not have factored into the judge’s opinion in terms of his competence.

One Reply to “UK Man Jailed for Refusing to Divulge Encryption Key”

  1. “no analysis of how this may or may not have factored into the judge’s opinion in terms of his competence.”

    Wrong. As stated in the article, the judge did not get pre-sentencing reports, thus the defendant’s mental state did NOT factor in.

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