Re: [ISN] Customs targets laptop hard drive contents

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Aug 21 1998 - 04:51:51 PDT

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    Reply From: Chris Wilson <cmw32at_private>
    > (Side note: The best way to secure your data is to not take your secret
    > key with you when you travel.  Leave it in a secured location or send it
    > to a trusted third party ahead of you.  That way, your data cannot be
    > decrypted even if you provide your key to the people who have no business
    > invading your privacy.  Additionally, keep encrypted data on separate
    > disks and do not volunteer them to the people who would so willingly
    > trample your civil rights.) 
    Sound advice, but I don't think the position of an individual who has
    deliberately failed to bring keys to the data on his computer is
    defensible in court. I have a strong feeling that regardless of
    protestations that the owner could not open the encryupted files because
    s/he did not actually, physically have the key to do it, would be met with
    a court order and possibly a prison sentence (or contempt of court) for
    failure to comply.
    > UK Customs' view of encrypted laptop hard disks... 
    > Laptop carriers will have little choice but to submit to the demands of
    > Customs officials. People refusing to open files or divulge keys will be
    > subject to a court order. Refusal to obey the order would constitute
    > contempt of court - an offence that can result in imprisonment.
    WHAT?! I say again: WHAT?! What, exactly, do Customs hope to achieve by
    doing this? To prevent illegal data flowing into the country? Bwahahahah.
    I wish they'd realise that they're trying to close the stable door after
    the horse has bolted - if I was bringing illegal data across borders I
    woulod prefer to do it in the untraceable and unprovable realm of
    cyberspace than in the form of data which was conspicuously in my
    posession (on the hard disk of my laptop) and which only I could have
    encrypted (since only I have the key to decrypt it).
    And, what are they going to do with their "recorded scans" (presumably
    direct digital copies of the user's hard disk). Recontruct them and start
    trying to crack the code? God only knows what equipment they have to break
    DES or PGP-encrypted data with relative ease. Plus,if they cracked it,  
    they'd have our private encryption key to decypher all our incoming mail...
    Ciao, Chris.
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