[ISN] Police will have 24-hour access to secret files (UK)

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri May 28 1999 - 00:13:49 PDT

  • Next message: cult hero: "[ISN] Hack attack knocks out FBI site"

    May 27 1999  BRITAIN 
    Police will have 24-hour access to secret files
    Stewart Tendler 
    E-mail code-busters to join crime fight 
    A 24-HOUR technical centre to help to crack secret Internet and e-mail
    systems used by criminals is being set up by the computer industry and the
    The centre will open encrypted messages for officers who have a warrant.
    If the codes cannot be cracked it will call in computer specialists.
    Ministers are also introducing laws giving police and Customs
    investigators powers to order Internet operators to unlock encrypted
    systems for taps. Users could also be forced to hand over codes protecting
    The plans were announced yesterday as ministers released a report by the
    Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit on the problems of
    encryption and police investigations.
    The report revealed that telephones taps last year led to the seizure of
    three tonnes of heroin and cocaine and the arrest of 1,200 criminals. 
    Underlining that interceptions have become an "essential tool" the report
    said that one suspect involved in serious crime was arrested for every two
    warrants issued by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary.
    Interceptions became vital when intelligence could not be obtained by
    surveillance or informants. In 1996-97 the taps resulted in the seizure of
    450 guns and 112 tonnes of drugs, such as cannabis, worth #600 million. 
    Looking at ways of dealing with the rise of encryption programmes for
    e-mail and telephone systems, the report found that although there was
    general public acceptance of current telephone taps there was strong
    aversion in some areas to secret police access to the Internet.
    The Government has already ruled out creating an authority which would
    hold the "keys" to encrypted systems sold by licensed firms and allow
    access to investigators. The report concluded that such a plan would be
    unwieldy and still would not give police enough access. 
    Yesterday Mr Straw said the plans showed that government and industry
    could work together. The aim was to develop the use of the Internet for
    commerce without encouraging or helping crime.
    Case histories released yesterday show how terrorists and paedophiles are
    already using encryption and slowing or halting investigations.
    In 1995 two men were arrested in the Home Counties and accused of being at
    the centre of a ring putting out child pornography. Detectives believed
    that encrypted material had been sent worldwide. The men were later jailed
    but 10 per cent of the material was never uncovered. Last year police
    investigating sex and attempted murder allegations found encrypted
    material on a suspect's computer. They finally cracked the code when they
    discovered the decryption key among other material.
    Subscribe: mail majordomoat_private with "subscribe isn".
    Today's ISN Sponsor: OSAll [www.aviary-mag.com]

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 13:23:56 PDT