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[FYI] (Fwd) UK: FLASH Release: Crunch RIP amendment to limit GAK defeate

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From:           	"Caspar Bowden" <cb@fipr.org>
To:             	"Ukcrypto \(E-mail\)" <ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject:        	FLASH Release: Crunch RIP amendment to limit GAK defeated by one vote
Date sent:      	Thu, 13 Jul 2000 22:17:25 +0100

FIPR News Release - FOR IMMEDIATE USE 13/7/2000
Second and final day of the House of Lords Report Stage debate
on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill:

A joint Conservative and Liberal Democrat amendment to limit
Government-Access-to-Key powers in the RIP Bill was defeated in the
House of Lords on Thursday by 119 votes to 120. The amendment would
have required Secretary of State authorisation on each occasion a key
(rather than plaintext) was demanded, thus effectively checking the
volume of access requests.

Opposition amendments REJECTED:
*) the requirement to provide a person served with a decryption
notice, with the material he is supposed to decrypt (so that he may
supply plaintext instead of a key)

*) a procedure allowing a person served with a decryption notice to
demonstrate the correspondence between plaintext and ciphertext to a
trusted third party - thus obviating the need to surrender a key (if a
session key in unavailable)

*) Curbs on the "tipping-off" offence - which can impose a lifetime
prohibition on revealing the existence of a decryption notice, with a
penalty of five years imprisonment

*) clarification that the "economic well-being" clauses can only apply
to persons outside the United Kingdom. The government implicitly
conceded that they might apply to persons inside the United Kingdom in
unspecified circumstances.

*) explicit protections for legally privileged material

*) deletion of the "large number of persons in pursuit of a common
purpose" limb of the definition of the "serious crime" purpose for

Government concessions:
*) The prosecution must now show that a person "knowingly" failed to
comply with a decryption notice (the "mens rea" test)

*) Notices demanding keys must be notified within seven days to the
Interception Commissioner

*) Seized keys to material obtained by means other than interception
will now get the same level of protection (classification 'SECRET') -
the government stated this was an "omission" from the draft Code of

*) a loophole will be closed in the Tribunal procedure which would
have prevented an Appeal against breaches of the Human Rights Act
except in cases where key seizure *was* authorised by the Secretary of

*) the authority serving a decryption notice must "take into account"
the extent and nature of *other* information protected by a key,
before demanding access to that key

*) Notices demanding keys (rather than plaintext) from the police,
Customs & Excise, or the armed forces, must now be authorised at the
ranks of Chief Constable, Commissioner, and brigadier respectively

                             - - - - - -

The Bill now goes to its Third Reading in the Lords on Wednesday. If
government chooses not to attempt to reverse Wednesday's defeat on
establishing a statutory Technical Approvals Board (which would vet
interception requirements imposed on ISPs), then the Bill only needs
to return to the Commons for approval and then Royal Assent to become

Caspar Bowden, director of Internet policy think-tanks FIPR commented:

"An unprecedented wave of public opprobrium has won significant
concessions. However if the UK becomes the only G7 economy with a GAK
law, companies and their customers will think long and hard before
conducting secure e-commerce in this country. There is still time to
pause and reflect before enacting legislation that may have
irreversible consequences"

Notes for editors
1. FIPR is an independent non-profit organisation that studies the
interaction between information technology and society, with special
reference to the Internet; we do not (directly or indirectly)
represent the interests of any trade-group. Our goal is to identify
technical developments with significant social impact, commission
research into public policy alternatives, and promote public
understanding and dialogue between technologists and policy-makers in
the UK and Europe. The Board of Trustees and Advisory Council
(http://www.fipr.org/trac.html) comprise some of the leading experts
in the UK.

Caspar Bowden               Tel: +44(0)20 7354 2333
Director, Foundation for Information Policy Research
RIP Information Centre at:    www.fipr.org/rip#media

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