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Old 11-05-2010, 11:23 PM   #1
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Your Password or Your Freedom?

Teenager jailed for refusing to hand over computer password | ITworld

I can't help to think it kind of funny. I suppose because it's the teen geek out smarting the authorities.
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I suppose because it's the teen geek out smarting the authorities.
He only outsmarted them if there is something on his computer that would get him more than 4 months in jail. Kind of a drag if he bit off his nose to spite their face.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:51 AM   #3
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This seems analogous to a situation in which the police appear at someone's front door with a warrant to search the place, and the perp refuses to let them in.

Yes, he should be in jail if there was anything like a warrant issued by a judge to search his computer. And I don't think his refusal was cute, or his "unbreakable" 50 character password was even slightly brilliant. On the other hand, if there was no warrant, then there is no excuse for jailing him IMO.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:06 AM   #4
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I thought this would be about a high school kid not wanting his parents to see his Facebook page.

This guy's a 19yo fast food worker in Great Britain already under arrest for a separate undescribed allegation. Not sure what the search warrant issues are over there, and who knows if the computer might contain evidence of the first arrest (kiddie porn, credit card theft, whatever).

I agree that just making up a 50 character password isn't especially geek high-tech (although remembering it might be hard for me).
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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He's suspected of trading in child porn. The max sentence for refusing to disclose his password is 2 years, and the max for child porn is what? Decades? He's told them he forgot the password. Yeah, sure. Personally, if I was in his shoes I'd do the same. 4 months (or 2 years even) for a RIPA violation would be a lot better thing to have on your record than a serious child porn/sex offender record. Doesn't make it right, but I can see why he'd do it.
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:57 PM   #6
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The police and others in the UK can crack it at their leisure while he's serving time for the first offense.

Seems that in these cases the police might want to do a "tech surveillance" to gain login and decryption information once they get a warrant and before they make an arrest rather than count on the perpetrator to volunteer his password upon apprehension.
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:29 PM   #7
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The police and others in the UK can crack it at their leisure while he's serving time for the first offense.
Not likely if he keeps his mouth shut. A decent encryption program would take thousands of years to crack without the key. Not a simple matter. Especially a 50 character key (as reported in the article).
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The large number of operations (2x10 to the 128th power) required to try all possible 128-bit keys is widely considered to be out of reach for conventional digital computing techniques for the foreseeable future.
Key size - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Seems that in these cases the police might want to do a "tech surveillance" to gain login and decryption information once they get a warrant and before they make an arrest rather than count on the perpetrator to volunteer his password upon apprehension.
Absolutely the way to do it. I suspect they won't make that mistake again. Although I'm not sure what the UK laws are regarding ninja software installations. Sometimes they can be a surveillance society, sometimes they break hard toward personal privacy.
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