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Cryptography

Netherlands: legislation for forced decryption announced

5 December, 2012
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This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Niederlande: Zwang zur Entschlüsselung geplant


The Dutch Minister of Justice has sent a letter to the House of Representatives announcing a proposal for legislation that will allow the police to force a suspect to decrypt information that is under investigation in a case of terrorism or sexual abuse of children. The Minister has ignored all major conclusions and recommendations set forth in the report commissioned by his department.

The Dutch House of Representatives has urged the Minister of Justice to investigate the feasibility of such injunction.

People convicted in UK for refusing to surrender cryptographic keys

26 August, 2009
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This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Verurteilungen in Großbritannien für die Weigerung, Entschlüsselung...


According to the Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner Sir Christopher Rose to the UK Prime Minister and Scottish Ministers, people were sentenced between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009 for not having given their passwords or cryptographic keys, on the basis of powers provided to authorities by section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that came into force in October 2007.

The law, initially intended to deal with organised crime and terrorism, allows the police and other enforcement agencies to demand from a person passwords, encryption keys or a clea

British court: people are bound to reveal computer encryption key

22 October, 2008
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(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Two persons were denied by the court the right to silence in relation to the encryption key they were asked to reveal to the police.

The men had brought as argument to the court that handing over the encrypted key for the data in their computers would mean forcing them to incriminate themselves. Defendants have a right to silence and to refuse to divulge information that could be used as evidence against them.

The Court of Appeal however considered that an encryption password is not incriminating information in itself and that the key as well as the information in the computers existed independently from the men just like any key to a drawer and its content.

UK: Decrypt data or go to prison!

10 October, 2007
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(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The controversial Part 3 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) in UK is in force starting with 1 October 2007. This new regulation gives the power to police forces to ask for the disclosure of encryption keys, or force suspects to decrypt encrypted data.

RIPA was adopted in 2000, but Part 3 was not in force until last year when the UK government has started a public consultation on its enforcement. Despite the negative comments received from the security experts and the major concerns that the adoption of such a measure will push businesses outside UK, the authorities decided to uphold their initial position and to apply the law starting with 1 October 2007.

Scrambling for Safety 8

30 August, 2006
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(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The Scrambling for Safety 8 focused on the UK Home Office consultations over plans to give the police powers to require the production of decryption keys and of plaintext. The Home Office produced a draft code of practice on government access to "communications data" - phone numbers and e-mail addresses contacted, web sites visited, locations of mobile phones etc.

About 100 representatives of the Government, industry, academia and civil society discussed privacy and security issues related to these consultations.

The police representatives used the event to defend their draft. They considered the encryption was used more and more to hide evidences and argued that these new provisions might be used only in connection with other

UK Government asks for the encryption keys

24 May, 2006
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The UK Home Office is planning to implement Part 3 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). That would allow the police forces to ask for the disclosure of encryption keys, or force suspects to decrypt encrypted data.

RIPA was promoted in 2000, but until now the officials have not implement Part 3. There were still voices that considered that parts I and III of the Act should be reviewed to consider whether the Act was effective in meeting its aims. However, until now, the Act has remained in its initial form .

The Home Office have indicated that a consultation will be launched on the 5th June. It is expected that this will say that the Part 3 is needed to fight against an increased usage of encryption by criminals, paedophiles, and terrorists.

The Home Office minister of state, Liam Byrne, told Parliament last week

Cryptography almost banned in the Czech Republic

5 December, 2005
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The Czech Lower House recently approved of a law introducing a new Penal Code, including a ratification of the Cybercrime convention.

The original version, prepared by the Ministry of Justice, contained a provision that would criminalise hacking and cracking IT systems, but due to misguided and very unclear wording it also criminalised legitimate activities such a cryptography, IT security testing etcetera.

The vagueness of the new law would have posed a serious threat of arbitrary criminalisation of legitimate activities and legal uncertainty in general.

Together with a coalition of crypto-analysts, EDRI-observer IuRe was successful in suggesting amendments of the proposal, basing it more literally on the text of the Convention.

The Senate still has to approve of the law, but nobody expects any challenges to the revised and improved provision.

Dutch government: Cryptophone protects privacy

27 February, 2004
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The Dutch minister of Justice Donner has answered parliamentary questions about the introduction of a commercially available crypto-GSM.

The Cryptophone was developed in the Netherlands and is sold through a German company. The device is a combined GSM and organiser running Windows Pocket PC. The Cryptophone uses open-source software that encrypts the call when connecting to another device of its kind. The phone should make it impossible for any third-party, including the phone company and police, to listen in to the call.

The Dutch Christian-Democrat Member of Parliament Haersma-Buma asked government to forbid the phones, since they can make it impossible for police to use the information from a wiretapped mobile phone call. Dutch police relies heavily on phone interception with an estimated 12.000 phone taps per year. This number is higher then in any other European country or even the US (not counting the unknown number of taps by any intelligence service).

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