Feeds

Government wants encryption key offence in force

Return of the RIPA?

High performance access to file storage

The government plans to bring into force a controversial power that can require the disclosure of an encryption key on pain of five years' imprisonment. The power has lain dormant for six years; but its time has come, Home Office Minister Liam Byrne said.

In 2000, government passed the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, better known as RIPA. Part 3 of RIPA has never been brought into force. It includes a power which allows certain authorities to force the disclosure of information that is stored in an encrypted form and it can force the disclosure of the encryption key itself. Section 53 of RIPA makes failing to comply an offence.

"The use of encryption is...proliferating," Byrne told the House of Commons last Wednesday. "Encryption products are more widely available and are integrated as security features in standard operating systems, so the Government has concluded that it is now right to implement the provisions of part 3 of RIPA, including section 53, which is not presently in force."

Parliamentary scrutiny is not required to bring part 3 into force. But Byrne said government will publish for consultation a draft statutory code of practice for the investigation of protected electronic data and the exercise of powers in part 3.

Under RIPA, the maximum sentence for a breach of section 53 was two years' imprisonment. However, the legislation was amended by the Terrorism Act 2006 such that any "national security case" can be punished with a maximum sentence of five years.

OUT-LAW.COM editor Struan Robertson, also a senior associate with Pinsent Masons, said: "When it was passed, RIPA evoked fears that innocent people would be sent to jail for forgetting their password. The Home Office will have a tough job addressing the renewal of these fears in its code of practice."

A Home Office spokesman told OUT-LAW that the consultation would be published soon. According to ZD Net UK, amendments may be made to part 3 after the consultation has been completed.

See:

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
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.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.