Feeds

PGP use ruled relevant in child abuse case

Using crypto? You pervert

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A Minnesota appeal court has ruled that a trial judge was within his rights to allow police evidence about the presence of an encryption program on a defendant's computer to be admitted in a child abuse case. The ruling came as the Minnesota State Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by David Levie against his conviction for soliciting a nine-year-old girl into posing naked for digital pictures.

One of the grounds for Levie's appeal was that the "district court erred in admitting evidence of appellant’s internet use and the encryption capability of his computer". A forensic examination of Levie's computer by a retired police officer discovered it was loaded with PGP which "can basically encrypt any file". Under cross-examination, retired cop Brooke Schaub also said that the PGP program may be included on every Macintosh computer that comes out today.

Lawyers for Levie argued on appeal that his "internet use had nothing to do with the issues in this case" that "there was no evidence that there was anything encrypted on the computer" and that he "was prejudiced because the court specifically used this evidence in its findings of fact and in reaching its verdict".

The appeal court rejected these arguments, one of four strands in Levie's appeal. "We find that evidence of appellant’s internet use and the existence of an encryption program on his computer was at least somewhat relevant to the state’s case against him," the court ruled. Although it rejected Levie's request for a retrial it sent the case back to a lower court for resentencing, after conceding the legal basis of some aspects of the conviction were flawed.

The case, although never put before a jury, could establish the precendent that the use of an encryption programme might be admitted as evidence of criminal intent, as least in Minnesota. The attitude seems to be "if you have nothing to hide why do you need secrecy tools". ®

Related stories

PGP goes the whole hog of encryption
Zimmermann defends strong crypto against govt assault
Americans want Uncryption
UK police tackle mounting internet porn caseload
IT industry told to 'cough up' by child campaigners
New UK agency to target net paedophiles

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.