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    1. #1
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Arrow Encrypted laptop poses legal dilemma


      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      Encrypted laptop poses legal dilemma

      By JOHN CURRAN,
      Associated Press Writer

      When Sebastien Boucher stopped at the U.S.-Canadian border, agents who inspected his laptop said they found files containing child pornography.

      But when they tried to examine the images after his arrest, authorities were stymied by a password-protected encryption program.

      Now Boucher is caught in a cyber-age quandary: The government wants him to give up the password, but doing so could violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by revealing the contents of the files.

      Experts say the case could have broad computer privacy implications for people who cross borders with computers, PDAs and other devices that are subject to inspection.

      "It's a very, very interesting and novel question, and the courts have never really dealt with it," said Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based group focused on civil liberties in the digital world.

      For now, the law's on Boucher's side: A federal magistrate here has ruled that forcing Boucher to surrender the password would be unconstitutional.

      The case began Dec. 17, 2006, when Boucher and his father were stopped at a Derby Line, Vt., checkpoint as they entered the U.S.

      Boucher, a 30-year-old drywall installer in Derry, N.H., waived his Miranda rights and cooperated with agents, telling them he downloads pornography from news groups and sometimes unknowingly acquires images that contain child pornography.

      Boucher said he deletes those images when he realizes it, according to an affidavit filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

      At the border, he helped an agent access the computer for an initial inspection, which revealed files with names such as "Two year old being raped during diaper change" and "pre teen bondage," according to the affidavit.

      Boucher, a Canadian with U.S. residency, was accused of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce, which carries up to 20 years in prison. He is free on his own recognizance.

      The laptop was seized, but when an investigator later tried to access a particular drive, he was thwarted by encryption software from a company called Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP.

      A grand jury subpoena to force Boucher to reveal the password was quashed by federal Magistrate Jerome Niedermeier on Nov. 29.

      "Producing the password, as if it were a key to a locked container, forces Boucher to produce the contents of his laptop," Niedermeier wrote. "The password is not a physical thing. If Boucher knows the password, it only exists in his mind."

      Niedermeier said a Secret Service computer expert testified that the only way to access Boucher's computer without knowing the password would be to use an automated system that guesses passwords, but that process could take years.

      The government has appealed the ruling.

      Neither defense attorney James Budreau nor Vermont U.S. Attorney Thomas Anderson would discuss the charge.

      "This has been the case we've all been expecting," said Michael Froomkin, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law. "As encryption grows, it was inevitable there'd be a case where the government wants someone's keys."

      Authorities have encountered such dilemmas before, but have used other methods to learn passwords, including installing surveillance devices that capture keyboard commands. Sometimes investigators have given up before a case reached the courts.

      In a 2002 case, the FBI used a keyboard program to obtain gambling records from the computer of Nicodemo Scarfo, Jr., the son of a jailed New Jersey mob boss.

      In another case, an officer found child pornography on the laptop of a man who flew into Los Angeles International Airport from the Philippines. But a federal judge later suppressed the evidence, ruling that electronic storage devices are extensions of the human memory and should not be opened to inspection without cause.

      That case didn't hinge on a password, though.

      Orin Kerr, a law professor and computer crime expert at George Washington University, said the distinction that favors the government in Boucher's case is that he initially cooperated and let the agent look at some of the laptop's contents.

      "The government can't make you give up your encryption password in most cases. But if you tell them you have a password and that it unlocks that computer, then at that point you no longer have the privilege," he said.

      Tien, the attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said a person's right to keep a password secret is a linchpin of the digital age.

      Encryption is "really the only way you can secure information against prying eyes," he said. "If it's too easy to compel people to produce their crypto keys, it's not much of a protection."

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080207/...wt0FoS569H2ocA

      Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press.
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


    2. #2
      Sun Ship's Avatar
      Sun Ship is offline Warrior

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      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      There is actually more to this article than what meets the eye...

      This is sort of a tricky story, but this is the way it always works. Usually to challenge most laws protecting our civil and constitutional rights the government attempts to change certain laws and set a precedent showing how such new laws would help fight against the most heinous of crimes. They know child abuse and child pornography are the most sensitive of issues with most people, and people usually quickly respond to these stories more on an innate protective level, than they really can rationalize what is being considered to be legally challenged constitutionally; basically one thing getting mixed in with another. The threat of terrorism has the same power over the rational mind and in the end it becomes a moral, ethical, and legal quagmire.

      For later the same law used to protect the innocent are later used to invade people’s privacy in all types of matters having nothing to do with children or the innocent.

      Putting the criminal offense aside for a second, I remember when the coder who worked for the government who developed this PGP encryption allowed the source code to circulate into public domain, which they tried to send to jail for doing so. This story shows that there are still ways to secure ones information if one is savvy, it’s just sad that this has to be revealed or dealt with and challenged by way of such a perverted lifestyle.


      Remember... there is no spoon...

    3. #3
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Arrow


      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      Greetings Sun Ship!

      I agree. They are using the child porno stuff as the bait to bring in the public all hot, sweaty and full of rage, only to have an another agenda up their sleeve. Half of the same government officials who are raising the porno issue has some of the same porno on their government issue laptops if the authorities looked close enough. They are just using that as a way to get access to peoples information, when they want to invade their privacy.

      We will see how this plays out. I am sure there is a lot more to come.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your views on this issue.

      Peace & Blessings!
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


    4. #4
      Jahness's Avatar
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      Arrow If Your Hard Drive Could Testify ...


      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      If Your Hard Drive Could Testify ...
      By ADAM LIPTAK


      A couple of years ago, Michael T. Arnold landed at the Los Angeles International Airport after a 20-hour flight from the Philippines. He had his laptop with him, and a customs officer took a look at what was on his hard drive. Clicking on folders called “Kodak pictures” and “Kodak memories,” the officer found child pornography.

      The search was not unusual: the government contends that it is perfectly free to inspect every laptop that enters the country, whether or not there is anything suspicious about the computer or its owner. Rummaging through a computer’s hard drive, the government says, is no different than looking through a suitcase.

      One federal appeals court has agreed, and a second seems ready to follow suit.

      There is one lonely voice on the other side. In 2006, Judge Dean D. Pregerson of Federal District Court in Los Angeles suppressed the evidence against Mr. Arnold.

      “Electronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory,” Judge Pregerson wrote, in explaining why the government should not be allowed to inspect them without cause. “They are capable of storing our thoughts, ranging from the most whimsical to the most profound.”

      Computer hard drives can include, Judge Pregerson continued, diaries, letters, medical information, financial records, trade secrets, attorney-client materials and — the clincher, of course — information about reporters’ “confidential sources and story leads.”

      But Judge Pregerson’s decision seems to be headed for reversal. The three judges who heard the arguments in October in the appeal of his decision seemed persuaded that a computer is just a container and deserves no special protection from searches at the border. The same information in hard-copy form, their questions suggested, would doubtless be subject to search.

      The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., took that position in a 2005 decision. It upheld the conviction of John W. Ickes Jr., who crossed the Canadian border with a computer containing child pornography. A customs agent’s suspicions were raised, the court’s decision said, “after discovering a video camera containing a tape of a tennis match which focused excessively on a young ball boy.”

      It is true that the government should have great leeway in searching physical objects at the border. But the law requires a little more — a “reasonable suspicion” — when the search is especially invasive, as when the human body is involved.

      Searching a computer, said Jennifer M. Chacón, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, “is fairly intrusive.” Like searches of the body, she said, such “an invasive search should require reasonable suspicion.”

      An interesting supporting brief filed in the Arnold case by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said there have to be some limits on the government’s ability to acquire information.

      “Under the government’s reasoning,” the brief said, “border authorities could systematically collect all of the information contained on every laptop computer, BlackBerry and other electronic device carried across our national borders by every traveler, American or foreign.” That is, the brief said, “simply electronic surveillance after the fact.”

      The government went even further in the case of Sebastien Boucher, a Canadian who lives in New Hampshire. Mr. Boucher crossed the Canadian border by car about a year ago, and a customs agent noticed a laptop in the back seat.

      Asked whether he had child pornography on his laptop, Mr. Boucher said he was not sure. He said he downloaded a lot of pornography but deleted child pornography when he found it.

      Some of the files on Mr. Boucher’s computer were encrypted using a program called Pretty Good Privacy, and Mr. Boucher helped the agent look at them, apparently by entering an encryption code. The agent said he saw lots of revolting pornography involving children.

      The government seized the laptop. But when it tried to open the encrypted files again, it could not. A grand jury instructed Mr. Boucher to provide the password.

      But a federal magistrate judge quashed that subpoena in November, saying that requiring Mr. Boucher to provide it would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Last week, the government appealed.

      The magistrate judge, Jerome J. Niedermeier of Federal District Court in Burlington, Vt., used an analogy from Supreme Court precedent. It is one thing to require a defendant to surrender a key to a safe and another to make him reveal its combination.

      The government can make you provide samples of your blood, handwriting and the sound of your voice. It can make you put on a shirt or stand in a lineup. But it cannot make you testify about facts or beliefs that may incriminate you, Judge Niedermeier said.

      “The core value of the Fifth Amendment is that you can’t be made to speak in ways that indicate your guilt,” Michael Froomkin, a law professor at the University of Miami, wrote about the Boucher case on his Discourse.net blog.

      But Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at the George Washington University, said Judge Niedermeier had probably gotten it wrong. “In a normal case,” Professor Kerr said in an interview, “there would be a privilege.” But given what Mr. Boucher had already done at the border, he said, making him provide the password again would probably not violate the Fifth Amendment.

      There are all sorts of lessons in these cases. One is that the border seems be a privacy-free zone. A second is that encryption programs work. A third is that you should keep your password to yourself. And the most important, as my wife keeps telling me, is that you should leave your laptop at home.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/07/us...yBnb97/VaItdkA

      Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


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