Scrambling for Safety 8

By EDRi · August 30, 2006

(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

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
evidences against suspects. Detective Chief Inspector Matt Sarti stated
that there were 200 computers in police forensic centres with encrypted data
that could have crime evidences on them. Also he claimed that there were
cases when alleged paedophiles could not be charged because there were
encrypted files on their computer that could not be read. He said: “We have
to balance the right to private life with the right to private life of
victims and the right to life of victims.”

On the other hand, other speakers such as Caspar Bowden claimed that the
draft code of conduct did not have any guidance on a balance between the
right to privacy or the rights of the victims and the law enforcement
authorities’ interests. He pointed out that new malware could be created in
order to change the password or the encryption key on different machines,
thus making innocent users publishable. Bowden also questioned the
possibility to identify a genuine loss of a password and reminded that the
threat of a jail sentence in these cases could be arbitrary. He also
explained the possible use by the criminals of viruses (VAMP – Virus Ate My
Password) against themselves as a reason for not revealing the encryption

Other participants also raised questions on the present code of conduct
having good standards for the protection of fundamental rights or on the
effectiveness of the decryption programs.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury from the House of Lords concluded : “You do not
secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining
them. That’s the road to hell.”

Scrambling for Safety 8 – Agenda and presentations (14.08.2006)

Will RIPA lead to an infestation of Vamp-ires? (15.08.2006),39024677,39161432,00.htm

Police decryption powers ‘flawed’ (15.08.2006)