Thursday, November 26, 2009

UK Charges Schizophrenic for Refusal to Decrypt Files (Section 53 of RIPA Part III)

Via The Register UK -

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 computer files.

The 33-year-old man, originally from London, is currently held at a secure mental health unit after being sectioned while serving his sentence at Winchester Prison.


His given reason for not cooperating with CTC - the fact that a section 49 notice overrides the right to silence - echoes the original debate over RIPA and encryption. When the law was drafted at the end of the last decade it sparked protests from civil liberties groups and security experts.

In September 2001, shortly after his stint as Home Secretary, when he had introduced RIPA, Jack Straw took to the airwaves to defend the powers.

"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 said in a Radio 4 interview.

"We needed to take powers so that we could de-encrypt commercially encrypted e-mails and other communications. Why? Because we knew that terrorists were going to use this."

News that the first person jailed for the offence of not talking in a police interview has been judged no threat to national security and suffers from a mental condition associated with paranoia and a fear of authorities is unlikely to win RIPA Part III new supporters.


Does that sound like innocent until proven guilty to you?

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