Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do Not Reveal Password? Do Not Pass Go: Go Straight To Jail

Man Jailed For Refusing To Tell His Password To Police

I saw a short news item yesterday on page 7 of the The Guardian newspaper.
The news item credited the Press Association with the original report and stated that a young man from Lancashire (no point in repeating more of his details here) had been jailed for four months for refusing to give police the password to his computer.
Apparently the man was arrested last year and his computer seized by police “tackling child sexual exploitation” but that they had been unable to access the data on his computer because it was protected by a “sophisticated password”.
Comment And A Question
Did the man refuse to hand over the password as a matter of principle?
Did the man weigh up the likely outcome of officers seeing what was on the machine compared to the penalty for refusing to hand over the key and decide that to refuse would invoke the lesser penalty?
Did it surprise you, as it did me, that there are encryption keys out there that the police cannot crack?

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