Man jailed for refusing to give police password to personal computer files - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The 'no government' movement.
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#15045406
Puffer Fish wrote:Maybe what you're not understanding is there was no warrant here.
And this man is still in violation of the law and punished for not telling them the password.


Oh yes, that is categorically wrong that you do not have a legal expert making the call on these sorts of searches.

Rough stuff over on the Jewel in the Sea, eh? :knife:
#15045442
Pants-of-dog wrote:He was wanted for previous infractions and was crossing a border with suspicious packages.


The problem is that the police couldn't state exactly why they wanted to search the computer. If he's "wanted", then they should be able to tell the guy why they want to search it...
#15045443
The article that's been linked to starts rather haphazardly:

"Again he maintained silence. Police then warned him they would seek a section 49 notice under RIPA Part III, which gives a suspect a time limit to supply encryption keys or make target data intelligible. Failure to comply is an offence under section 53 of the same Part of the Act and carries a sentence of up to two years imprisonment, and up to five years imprisonment in an investigation concerning national security."

"Again he maintained his silence. Police warned him..."

Who is "him"?

Is there more to this article that wasn't linked to here?
#15045508
BigSteve wrote:The problem is that the police couldn't state exactly why they wanted to search the computer. If he's "wanted", then they should be able to tell the guy why they want to search it...


Why do you think the police could not do that?

It seems to me they did.

You should read the entire editorial. THe page cited in the OP is merely the second page.
#15045550
Pants-of-dog wrote:Why do you think the police could not do that?

It seems to me they did.

You should read the entire editorial. THe page cited in the OP is merely the second page.


Well, it's because one detective said this: "There could be child pornography, there could be bomb-making recipes," said one detective. "Unless you tell us we're never gonna know."

What part of that gives you confidence that they knew what they were looking for?
#15045554
Pants-of-dog wrote:The fact that one cop said that one thing does not change the fact that other cops may have had good reason and could have discussed it.

You seem to be generalising about all cops from the behaviour of this one.


No, I'm talking about the one detective who they chose to speak with. Presumably he'd have knowledge of applicable laws and would be able to speak intelligently about them...
#15046281
Puffer Fish wrote:Then you believe in a Police State.

The KGB-style policing in the Soviet Union didn't work out too well for the people, did it?

Do you think government is entitled to any information? Even when it involves no judge, no fair & impartial due process, not even any specific reason/justification for them to collect that information in the first place? And punishing people for not willingly handing over that information? (Which goes even one step beyond just the government taking it by force)


The government can only be relied upon to protect an individual's rights up to a point. Whatever system you live under your absolute freedoms as we imagine them in the West are somewhat illusory. I've always felt that personal freedom is freedom to exist as a free man, in one's personal affairs. The real question we need to ask is what the man in this story was doing to even make him a person of interest, how did he even get into such a situation in the first place.

What is personal freedom anyway? It's the freedom to live your life unhindered by problems. That cannot be guaranteed under any system, I'm afraid. All you can do is play your hand well, make the right choices and cherish every moment where you don't have some worries or issues.

By the way, the UK is not as liberal democratic as the USA is. Britain has many centralised and statist tendencies. Remember it is located off the coast of Europe.

But what you have to remember is that the state is never all powerful. Even in North Korea there will come a point at which people would revolt, which they have tried to do in the past. People cannot live under any system, liberal or not, that is not in line with their interest or conscience.
#15058672
I would think that forcing somebody to provide you with their own passwords used to access their own property, intellectual or otherwise, through threat of incarceration would tread very closely to infringing upon the idea that no man can be compelled to testify against himself. Of course, we're talking about the UK and not the USA here, but it is troubling that such a thing is used by law enforcement in any modern, Western nation.
#15058679
Drlee wrote:With respect Godstud, the trunk analogy is not complete. While there are places where one can be compelled to open the trunk (you are correct in this case because customs laws would apply) in almost all other instances the police would have to go to a judge, reasonable grounds, and get a warrant.

If the police obtained an encrypted hard drive and "broke" the encryption without a warrant or permission, any evidence they found would be excluded as evidence from any prosecution for what they found or evidence in another prosecution.

The "secure in their papers" applies here.

You can see in the OP the problem with allowing a search. It strongly appears that the police or customs were just on a fishing expedition.

If I had my way I would not allow the police or customs to open electronic files (or paper ones for that matter) without a warrant.



In think we are going to see this issue argued in the high courts with the new anti driving and texting laws on the books.
#15058694
In think we are going to see this issue argued in the high courts with the new anti driving and texting laws on the books.


Probably will. I would hope they rule that one cannot be forced to incriminate themselves. As long as the police get a search warrant from a judge that would be OK. Otherwise.....No.
#15060404
Puffer Fish wrote:My personal opinion, these are Stasi-like tactics that have no place in the law enforcement of a Free society.

We are talking about arresting and imprisoning people for the reason of refusing to hand over information, in which police have no idea what that information even is.
And, might I add, in which the suspect never even appeared in front of a judge or was able to legally defend himself.

Absolutely! Unfortunately, "western" countries are heading towards totalitarianism, with the US and Britain at the forefront(I would say that these two already are totalitarian - as they're controlling the lives of their citizens in far too many ways, there are far too many laws, too much surveillance, too much state intrusion!)

Absurd and abusive laws built on top of other absurd and abusive laws: the mere idea that possession of certain "data" - whatever it might be - turns you into a "criminal" is beyond wrong and absurd and abusive! Such laws have extremely wrong "reasoning" behind them!
#15061057
Verv wrote:Oh yes, that is categorically wrong that you do not have a legal expert making the call on these sorts of searches.

True, but that's still not the primary point.

Normally a warrant gives police the legal authority to conduct a search, not to force an individual to divulge information under threat. Those are totally two different things.

Normally in cases where a witness is ordered to testify, under threat of being held in contempt, he is at least in a court room with a judge present, and can (at least in theory) present a legal argument to the judge why he shouldn't have to testify.

And if he refuses to divulge the information, that is a contempt, not a criminal charge. Another important legal distinction.
But under this law, refusing to divulge the information specifically becomes a criminal charge.
#15136988
Access Denied -
It's unconstitutional for cops to force phone unlocking, court rules
US courts disagree on whether suspects can be forced to unlock their phones.
Timothy B. Lee, 6/24/2020, Ars Technica

Indiana's Supreme Court has ruled that the Fifth Amendment allows a woman accused of stalking to refuse to unlock her iPhone. The court held that the Fifth Amendment's rule against self-incrimination protected Katelin Seo from giving the police access to potentially incriminating data on her phone.

The courts are divided on how to apply the Fifth Amendment in this kind of case. Earlier this year, a Philadelphia man was released from jail after four years of being held in contempt in connection with a child-pornography case. A federal appeals court rejected his argument that the Fifth Amendment gave him the right to refuse to unlock hard drives found in his possession. A Vermont federal court reached the same conclusion in 2009 - as did a Colorado federal court in 2012, a Virginia state court in 2014, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2014.

But other courts in Florida, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have reached the opposite conclusion, holding that forcing people to provide computer or smartphone passwords would violate the Fifth Amendment.

Lower courts are divided about this issue because the relevant Supreme Court precedents all predate the smartphone era. To understand the two competing theories, it's helpful to analogize the situation to a pre-digital technology.

A safe analogy
Suppose that police believe that a suspect has incriminating documents stored in a wall safe and they ask a judge to compel the suspect to open the safe. The constitutionality of this order depends on what the police know.

If the government can't show that the suspect knows the combination - perhaps the suspect claims the safe actually belongs to a roommate or business partner- then all courts agree that forcing the suspect to try to open it would be unconstitutional. This is because the act of opening the safe functions as an admission that the suspect owns the safe and the documents inside of it. This fact could be incriminating independent of the contents of any documents found inside the safe.

On the other hand, if the government can show that the suspect knows both the password and which specific documents are in the safe - perhaps because the suspect described the safe's contents during an interrogation - then all courts agree that the suspect can be forced to open the safe. That's because the Fifth Amendment is a right against self-incriminating testimony, not the production of incriminating documents.


But what if the state can show the suspect knows the combination but doesn't know which documents are in the safe? Here the courts are split.

One theory holds that only the act of opening the safe is testimonial. Once the safe is open, the safe contains whatever documents it contains. The police get the information in the documents directly from the documents, the same as they would if they'd found them lying on the suspect's desk. So the contents of the documents are not compelled testimony.

The other theory - the one endorsed by Indiana's Supreme Court this week - holds that it matters whether the police know which documents they're looking for. If the police are looking for specific documents that they know are in the safe, then there may be no Fifth Amendment problem. But if the request is more of a fishing expedition, then it's barred by the Fifth Amendment, since the act of opening the safe gives the police access to information they wouldn't have otherwise. Some courts have found this argument particularly compelling due to the vast amount of information on modern smartphones.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/202 ... unlocking/
#15136989
New Jersey's top court has ruled that police can compel suspects to give up their phone passcodes, and does not violate the Fifth Amendment.

State v. Robert Andrews (A-72-18 ) (082209)
Argued January 21, 2020 - Decided August 10, 2020
J. Soloman was the judge who wrote the opinion.

The Court considered whether a court order requiring a criminal defendant to disclose the passcodes to his passcode-protected cellphones violates the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution or New Jersey's common law or statutory protections against self-incrimination.

The target of a State narcotics investigation, Quincy Lowery, advised detectives that defendant Robert Andrews, a former Essex County Sheriff's Officer, had provided him with information about the investigation and advice to avoid criminal exposure. The State obtained an arrest warrant for defendant, who was later released, and search warrants for defendant's iPhones, which were seized.

Later that day, detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office interviewed Lowery, who detailed his relationship with Andrews. Lowery explained that they were members of the same motorcycle club and had known each other for about a year. During that time, Andrews registered a car and motorcycle in his name so that Lowery could use them. Lowery also told the detectives that he regularly communicated with Andrews using the FaceTime application on their cellphones. Lowery claimed that during one of those communications, Andrews told him to "get rid of" his cellphones because law enforcement officials were "doing wire taps" following the federal arrests of Crips gang members. Lowery relayed his suspicion that he was being followed by police officers to Andrews and texted him the license plate number of one of the vehicles Lowery believed was following him. According to Lowery, Andrews informed him that the license plate number belonged either to the Prosecutor's Office or the Sheriff’s Department and advised him to put his car "on a lift to see if there is a [tracking] device under there." Lowery claimed that he also showed Andrews a picture of a man Lowery suspected was following him and that Andrews identified the individual as a member of the Prosecutor's Office. Lowery's cellphone records largely corroborated his allegations. Following their second interview with Lowery, the State obtained Communication Data Warrants for cellphone numbers belonging to Andrews and Lowery. The warrants revealed 114 cellphone calls and text messages between Lowery and Andrews over a six week period. Andrews was indicted for official misconduct, hindering, and obstruction.

According to the State, its Telephone Intelligence Unit was unable to search Andrews's iPhones. A State detective contacted and conferred with the New York Police Department's Technical Services unit, as well as a technology company, both of which concluded that the cellphones' technology made them inaccessible to law enforcement agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory advised that it likewise would be unable to access the phones' contents. The State therefore moved to compel Andrews to disclose the passcodes to his two iPhones.

Andrews opposed the motion, claiming that compelled disclosure of his passcodes violates the protections against self-incrimination afforded by New Jersey's common law and statutes and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The trial court rejected Andrews’s arguments but limited access to Andrews's cellphones "to that which is contained within (1) the 'Phone' icon and application on Andrews's two iPhones, and (2) the 'Messages' icon and/or text messaging applications used by Andrews during his communications with Lowery." The court also ordered that the search "be performed by the State, in camera, in the presence of Andrews’s defense counsel and the court," with the court "reviewing the PIN or passcode prior to its disclosure to the State." The Appellate Division affirmed.


It appears that in this story, the whole thing the authorities were looking for is a former law enforcement officer allegedly alerting one of his friends that the police were doing wiretaps, and then also confirming that a license plate number from a car the friend believed was following him likely belonged to law enforcement.
Apparently these two acts constituted a crime, and gave authorities reason to search his phone and force him to provide them his passcode.
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