Pretty Good Privacy is Pretty Legally Protected

Pretty Good Privacy is Pretty Legally Protected

A federal magistrate judge has ruled that a criminal suspect has a Fifth Amendment right not to divulge his PGP passphrase. The suspect, Sebastian Boucher, was charged with transporting child pornography on his laptop across the US-Canadian border. Customs agents had searched Boucher's laptop in December 2006 and found kiddie porn on the Z drive without entering a password. Boucher was arrested and the laptop was shut down. When investigators later tried to access the Z drive again, they found it encrypted with Pretty Good Privacy. Prosecutors then got a grand jury to issue a subpoena ordering Boucher to turn over his password. He refused, and prosecutors offered to let him type the password into the laptop with nobody looking. Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier quashed (read as: cancelled) the subpoena, finding that even the prosecutors' compromise would require Boucher to give protected evidence against himself.

The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination, but not everything that might incriminate you falls within that protection. For example, you can be forced to turn over your fingerprints, blood, or handwriting, because it's already obvious that you have fingerprints, blood, and can write. The inquiry hinges on whether the what you're being asked to do is "testimonial," whether it divulges facts about you and what you know. The Supreme Court has analogized the difference between testimonial and nontestimonial acts to the difference between the combination to a lock and a physical key; you can be compelled to turn over a key, but being forced to turn over a combination would reveal that you knew the combination. Revealing the contents of your mind is testimonial, so it's protected by the Fifth Amendment.

Magistrate Judge Niedermeier found the PGP passphrase more akin to a combination, because inputting the password would reveal that Boucher actually knew the password. Whether people have a Fifth Amendment right to keep their passwords private has been debated in legal scholarship for a long time; this is the first published decision to enter the fray. Don't think this settles the issue, though. Magistrate judges are low on the totem pole, so expect this to be appealed.

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Child pornography is terrible. I do not know whether to blame this man, if not then I want to be acquitted, and if so, then let him the most brutal punishment. There are many beautiful girls in London escort agency adult ready for anything. Why step over the law?

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suutzi

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John35

 ht

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John35

People  

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John35

 Fifth Amendment  

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John35

People have a Fifth Amendment right
to keep their passwords private has been london escorts in legal scholarship for a long time. This incident is quite shocking and reveals to us all how brazenly criminals can flout the law unfortunately the really innocent people are the ones who are victimised.

 

 

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masseuses

I remember using pgp years ago downloading it from MIT's website i havent used it in ages i know gpg is popular but to bad their windows version is a 30 day trial only when source is available. I guess gpg is the way to go, i'm sure with enough super computers maybe even setup like a distributed system they could brute force it but even some government agencies have taken years to get peoples private keys. As for the porn this guy should have just gotten an escort i was in the UK and had a few london escorts canada is pretty easy to get them as well.

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Liam8523

well, there is so many encryptions technology coming up every day . but our old pretty good protection still the best for email encryption and secure online communication . I work for a london escorts agency and we use PGP for all sort of communication with clients .

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biancablair

As a Calgary-Based Escort that travels back and forth between Canada and the USA, I've got to say PGP is one of my all-time favorite pieces of software. It's nice knowing that nosy customs officers can't go through my laptop, and that my client's information is safe if my laptop gets stolen. It's good to know that somebody in the US has finally set a legal precedent about crypto keys, preventing officials from forcing someone to give up their password.

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vita

This post is really interesting and helpful.

There are points on which I paid my attention - it's better not to play with laws.

Tones of examples of really strange and ridiculous laws we can find all over the world, not only in London.

Have a look:

Governments of many countries are caring not only about morality, but
also about citizen appearance. Even in such country like Thailand, it's
impossible to walk without lingerie.

But in African Swaziland there is
the law which prohibits wearing pants. Local monarch believes that it's
a kind of modern culture, stupid fashion.

Italian men who wear dress and rocks put into prison. Palermo beaches
are welcome only for beautiful, attractive female escorts;, but fat and
ugly women should wear clothes.

These stupid laws we can find anywhere, let think twice before just simple do not care.

 

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Jack London

Magistrate Judge Niedermeier found the PGP passphrase more akin to a
combination, because inputting the password would reveal that Boucher
actually knew the password. Whether people have a Fifth Amendment right
to keep their passwords private has been  london escort
in legal scholarship for a long time; this is the first published
decision to enter the fray. Don't think this settles the issue, though.
Magistrate judges are low on the totem pole, so expect this to be
appealed.

 

in not true! 

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jasonbiggs

These are truly crazy times and the same can be represented by our even more crazy laws which actually allow the criminal to get away on technical ground. This incident is quite shocking and reveals to us all how brazenly criminals can flout the law unfortunately the really innocent people are the ones who are victimised. It happend with a woman who operated as part of a team of London Escorts, apparently, there was a dispute with a person she was escorting and he called her in on false charges after apparently trying to abuse her in bed, unfortunately for the girl the man walked scott free and the girl was booked under various acts and went through hell. Really some things must change.

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mikett

I remember using pgp years ago downloading it from MIT's website i havent used it in ages i know gpg is popular but to bad their windows version is a 30 day trial only when source is available. I guess gpg is the way to go, i'm sure with enough super computers maybe even setup like a distributed system they could brute force it but even some government agencies have taken years to get peoples private keys. As for the porn this guy should have just gotten an escort i was in the UK and had a few london escorts canada is pretty easy to get them as well.
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kanehi

Ever since it's inception the government already had problems with PGP. The government had a difficult time cracking the code even with a simple one word password.

You have to remember the Bill of Rights is there to protect the citizens. It protects both the innocent and accused. It's flawed but it's better than nothing.

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HeartBurnKid

If the drive wasn't encrypted before, why would it be encrypted when the police went in for a second look? Drives don't just encrypt themselves, and since the man was under arrest, I doubt they let him have access to the laptop... The whole story just stinks, like maybe he wouldn't open up the encrypted drive for the customs agents and they just decided to charge him with child pornography.

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Shalbatana

The PGP only went into effect when the HD was rebooted. Presumably when they first looked at teh laptop, it was already started up.

My question is, is pgp really that good? Are you telling me that no one in the police/FBI (whatever) can get around the encryption? Or is that against the rules as well? If they can't defeat it, then hell...I want that encryption.

Not that I'm hiding anything like he is. I just don't want people to access my passwords, files, etc.

There's no time like the future.

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HeartBurnKid

So what, he was cruising down the street with his laptop on, looking at the kiddie porn behind the wheel? Yikes, and I thought people yakking on cell phones was bad...

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LEO

Google the article. The guy crossed the border, was stopped and input his password. The child porn was found and he was arrested. Of course someone turned off the computer and did not obtain his password first. It wasn't until the investigators tried to retrieve the images for court that this 5th admendment issue was raised.

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DiRTDOG

Criminals have more rights than innocent people... very sad.

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ogman

While I understand and even agree with the sentiment of your comment, here's a different way to think about it. Criminals often end up unintentionally protecting the rights of the innocent. This alleged criminal merely brought to the courts attention an issue that could effect innocent people. Because of this, you now know that you can legally protect your privacy using an encryption tool and some government entity will not be able to force you to reveal it. Unfortunately, these issues are rarely brought to the legal systems attention without at least the allegation of wrongdoing.

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soggybomb

if they had already accessed the laptop's drive, it wouldn't be self-incrimination, because they already found the incriminating evidence. the person later just tried to bury it.

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erin

The primary investigation - when the guy was first stopped and agreed to let customs agents look at his laptop - showed some files with names that indicated that they were child pornography. It didn't reveal the entire contents of the computer, and turning over the password would give agents access to /every/ file on the drive, not just the ones the first investigator saw.

When that first investigation happened, the laptop had been on - presumably Boucher had already input the password that session. When the laptop was rebooted, the PGP reset and needed a password again.

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johnsambora

I really cant understand how a Judge knwoing fully well that this guys was engaged in something as henious as Child Pornography could actually find technical hurdles in the legal system and use them in a manner which in some way provided some level of protection to this guy from prosecution. This is absurd, really man if you are really horny just dial up some young Female Escorts instead of getting your rocks off to Child Pornography. How do these guys live with themselves.

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maxvalentine

I didnt get the relationship between london escorts and PGP

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