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Encryption Your Rights Online

UK Law Enforcement Is Against "3-Strikes" 134

Posted by kdawson
from the swing-and-a-miss dept.
Now that the UK is discussing plans for some form of 3-strikes regime to discourage file-sharing, TechDirt reports that the fans of due process have picked up unlikely allies: the law enforcement and spying establishments fear that a 3-strikes policy would result in far more encryption on the Net, greatly complicating their jobs. "Of course, they're not as concerned about due process and civil rights, as they are about making it more difficult to track down criminals online: 'Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organized Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. ... A source involved in drafting the Bill said that the intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, had also voiced concerns about disconnection. "The spooks hate it," the source said.'" The Times (UK) Online has more details.
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UK Law Enforcement Is Against "3-Strikes"

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  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:49PM (#29888021) Journal

    Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. One official said: "It will make prosecution harder because it increases the workload significantly."

    One would think that encryption would stop them in their tracks, not just "increase the costs and workload"

  • by jammindice (786569) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:53PM (#29888083) Homepage

    Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. One official said: "It will make prosecution harder because it increases the workload significantly."

    One would think that encryption would stop them in their tracks, not just "increase the costs and workload"

    Those increased costs and workload are for actually doing "real" police work instead

  • by tomtomtom (580791) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:58PM (#29888157)

    I'd hazard a guess that the real issue these agencies have is about increased use of anonymous communication networks such as Tor rather than just "encryption" of the content. It's almost a given that widespread adoption of Tor will have two important effects: (1) there will be larger numbers of relay or exit nodes in the network - at present it is suspected that intelligence agencies control a large number of the exit nodes (and possibly relay nodes too) in the network; and (2) greater traffic through the network will make it significantly harder to perform timing attacks on entry and exit from the mix network to correlate traffic and thus break its anonymity.

  • by Experiment 626 (698257) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:13PM (#29888381)

    In some US jurisdictions, being convicted of three felony offenses raises the penalty to life imprisonment, as by this point supporters argue that the criminal has repeatedly not rehabilitated and just keeps on committing more crimes. Music executives apparently want something analogous for punishing intellectual property "criminals". A noteworthy difference between the situations, however, is that in the criminal justice case, the penalty kicks in after three felony convictions in a court of law, whereas most versions of the Internet banishment proposal only require multiple accusations.

  • by Mendoksou (1480261) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:38PM (#29888773)

    Encryption simply forces them to tap your keyboard, and the costs of that are much higher than the costs of running Wireshark on a router somewhere.

    Not only that, but it usually requires a much more involved process of those troublesome warrents and all to get actual wire-tepping done (usually, not always). Curse that due process!

    Let's not be too disparaging here, the police sometimes have legitamte interests in information gathering, there really are some people who need to be taken down. It is not their job to just protect our rights politically, that's our job and the job of the politicians (who epically fail in internet law). It is their job to protect our rights in life, but not to lobby for it in law-making; so they serve their own interests here, but they do so legitimatly (refering to other posts, not yours here). At least it does point out one of the social problems of treating practitioners internet freedoms as common criminals... it makes real criminals easily lost in the system.

  • Reassuring (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cap'n Refsmmat (1003152) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:47PM (#29888915) Homepage
    At least this hints that there isn't a trivial way of breaking RSA, AES, or the other popular systems.
  • Re:Reassuring (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:05PM (#29889169)

    Not really necessary when you can lock someone up for two years for refusing to divulge keys.

  • Re:UK (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DaveGod (703167) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:10PM (#29889245)

    To be fair the "UK law enforcement and intelligence services" should not be commenting on due process and civil rights, other than to confirm that they uphold them. It is their job to track criminals, it is our job to dictate the rules they must follow in doing so.

    It's not really fair to apportion them with blame for the laziness, apathy and short-sightedness of voters and their elected officials. They're probably even more surprised than we are when their more outlandish proposals actually get approved.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:02PM (#29890065)
    3 stumps, 2 bails and you're out
  • Re:Reassuring (Score:3, Interesting)

    by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:03PM (#29890077) Homepage
    Maybe that's what they want you to think. You *have* read Cryptonomicon, haven't you? Sometimes having the information can be more of a pain than not having it.
  • psychopathology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Onymous Coward (97719) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:23PM (#29890345) Homepage

    This simplistic and damaging law-making gets traction because of the people who are overly punitive.

    That trait of excessive eagerness to punish is often coupled with these other traits:

    • conventionalism
    • authoritarian submission
    • authoritarian aggression
    • anti-intraception (anti-{need to analyze behaviors and feelings of others})
    • superstition and belief stereotypy
    • power and "toughness"
    • destructiveness and cynicism
    • projectivity
    • exaggerated concerns over sexuality

    Authoritarian Personality WP article [wikipedia.org]

    "The Authoritarians" paper [umanitoba.ca]

  • by Eil (82413) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:55PM (#29890779) Homepage Journal

    'Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organized Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic.

    I like this. In reality, properly-implemented encryption will completely prevent even the most well-funded government agency from monitoring your Internet traffic. But Police and Three Letter Agencies would never admit as much in a press release. Instead, encryption just "increases their costs and workload." Feh.

    I think one of the reasons that the average person doesn't care enough about encryption to use it is because they have no idea how effective it is.

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