[Gllug] Phone scam?

Steve Parker steve at steve-parker.org
Sat May 7 23:49:40 UTC 2011

On 07/05/11 23:06, Nix wrote:
> What's this 20Gb encrypted
> disk image, then? Why's that encrypted? Well, 'cos I do have something
> to hide. I have a bunch of keys for work's VPN and such things to hide.
> The contents of the work virtual machine is not mine in the strictest
> sense, even though I set it up, so I am honour-bound (as well as
> contractually bound) not to let it leak out to any random cracker. Thus
> encryption.
> (I suspect that in practice they would *not* arrest me immediately but
> instead ask me to decrypt it. I'd do so -- 'cos I'm not an idiot -- and
> immediately change the compromised keys at the first possible
> opportunity.)
They would, and under RIPA, you would be obliged to provide the keys or 
face a (2 year?) custodial sentence. And if you told your employers that 
you had done so, you would also do time.

A marvellous law making us techies responsible for the data that we have 
no control over, other than our professional responsibility to encrypt 
it. If we were less professional and it didn't have to be decrypted, we 
would not be obliged to hand over the keys to somebody else's data, let 
alone legally obliged not to tell the owner of that data that we had 
done so. I documented the implications of this at the time 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4794383.stm is also relevant.)

Quite what would happen if your `dd if=/dev/urandom of=~/testfile.bin 
bs=1024k count=1024` test file was declared to be "encrypted data" has 
never been dealt with. As far as I can tell, you would have to do time 
for refusing to decrypt this for Plod.

A similar thing was mentioned recently on this list, where the accused 
faced time for posessing encrypted data.

Steve Parker
steve at steve-parker.org
Author of the Shell Scripting Recipes <http://steve-parker.org/recipes/> 
book, due out August 2011
http://steve-parker.org/ / +44(0) 789 777 2100 / steve at steve-parker.org 
<mailto:steve at steve-parker.org>
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