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[FYI] UK: "Decryption warrants"


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                        UK: Electronic Communications Act Creates 
                        Legal Perils

                        Duncan Campbell   09.07.99 

                        "Decryption warrants": the replacement for key

                        After three years of unsuccessful attempts to
                        introduce key escrow, the British government
                        has written an "Electronic Communications Act"
                        to force users of electronic privacy to hand
                        over their keys, passwords or plaintext on
                        demand to the police. Part 3 of the proposed
                        Act grants police powers to seek two year jail
                        sentences for anyone unable to provide them on
                        demand with keys to encrypted files and
                        communications. Both encryption users and
                        service providers will be covered. Another new
                        offence is aimed mainly at service providers.
                        Called the "tipping off" offence, this
                        provision would impose jail sentences on
                        anyone who revealed that they had been served
                        with a decryption warrant. It could be used to
                        prevent the recipient, or even the user of the
                        privacy keys concerned, from telling anyone
                        else that their messages were no longer
                        private or secure. 


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