Oliver Drage, suspected trader in child pornography, has just been sent down for refusing to disclose the password he’d used to encrypt his PC. This is an offence under RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000). So if you’ve got something dodgy on your computer, you’ll get locked up whether or not the cops can decrypt it (or you’ve lost the password).
A spokesman for Lancashire police was pleased: “Drage was previously of good character so the immediate custodial sentence handed down by the judge in this case shows just how seriously the courts take this kind of offence.”
Really. Drage is going to gaol for sixteen weeks (read “two months”) . How long would he have been locked up for if he’d given them the password so they could decrypt whatever it’s alleged he was hiding? Five years? Ten years? Lock up and throw away the key?
This is not what I call “taking it seriously”.
The penalties under RIPA for not disclosing passwords are far lower than the likely sentence assuming someone’s been up to anything of interest of the authorities in this way. They don’t take it seriously at all.