Have PGP..Be considered a Criminal??
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Thread: Have PGP..Be considered a Criminal??

  1. #1
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    Have PGP..Be considered a Criminal??

    A Minnesota appeals court has ruled that the presence of encryption software on a computer may be viewed as evidence of criminal intent.
    http://news.com.com/Minnesota+court+...3-5718978.html

    found the link on Slash dot..

    Interesting it seems if you play with encryption and your being investigated for what ever then haveing these tools implies intent.. far out..

    your thought.. or is this my twist on the info..
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  2. #2
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    Used in this context, encryption software is a means to an end. If I beat you to death with a pipe wrench, I will be carged with `assault with a weapon` or whatever the local equivalent in your area is. This does not mean that all plumbers are guilty of deadly weapons posession.

    To put it another way, as a computer security student, I have umpteen gazillion different penetration and scanning tools available to me, and stored locally. These are not considered illegal, unless I use them as part of an illegal attack, at which point their value as evidence would be unquestionable.

    In this case, the use of encryption tools is not illegal. His posession of them, however, suggests that he is using them to hide something. Now given the fact that he has been charged with the solicitation of a minor, the presence of tools used to hide this evidence ar a testament to the fact that any child pornography he posseses is not on his hard drive by accident.

    It I beat you to death with my keyboard, then my keyboard would be admitted into evidence as a weapon. Nobody assumes that this would set a precedent claiming that all keyboards are weapons. It is only used to prove the fact that I did indeed make use of a weapon.
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  3. #3
    Regal Making Handler
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    I notice your use of the term, "beat you to death". Considering your blood stained carpet thread...............I am starting to worry about you Striek. LMAO
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    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    There has been some rumblings in congress about encryption software. This is similar. But it seems that up until now the constitution has provided some shelter. The thinking goes along like this... if I have a warrent and I want to search your PC and you don't give me your encryption key and the encryption is strong enough that I cannot break it then you show intent. Nothing new, this is what this article and Striek are saying. But I wanted to add a perspective, this is like drunk driving. If you do not submit to a blood test or breath test AND you have beed pulled over and given one of those tests where you walk the line AND the officer finds you as a high probabilty of having committed drunk driving or at least drinking, you then are in essence guilty of a crime by not submitting to a blood alchol test when directed according to law. Not the same, but a crime none the less.

    Failing to divulge encryption keys could fall into the same presedence. Being you are not guilty of the crime, for lack of evidence but guilty of intent. Perhaps guilty of a lesser crime.
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    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
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    How interesting. I wonder if Bank of America and/or other corporations will be considered criminals. Many financial organizations are turning to encryption solutions because of all the hokus pokus with account info theft over the last few years.

    I think that's pretty far out. I must be a criminal mastermind.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by thehorse13
    I must be a criminal mastermind.
    --TH13
    You are now that you're friends with me. I'm corrupting you bitch.

    As for this, I can add to it similar to how Striek did:

    If I beat a Luser half to death with a sock full of thin wire terminators, it's going to be assualt on an idiot with a half deadly weapon.

    Where as if I **** smacked one, it's assualt with a friendly weapon.

    Another law bounce:

    If you rape a hooker is it sexual assault or theft?

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    The laws about intent and conspiracy have always worked this way. In order to prove intent in the US a lawyer must usually provide two different facts of evidence. One of the facts is usually a plot.

    For instance, if you go and tell your friend that you are going to rob a bank and that you have a gun to do it. You haven't broken any law. Now if your friend goes to the police and tells them that you are going to rob a bank, and in the course of investigating your statement the police find a gun. You are now quilty of intent or conspiracy.

    SO in this particular instance if you said, I'm going to extort money from XYZ bank by encrypting their data so that they can no longer access it, and then you have the software on your computer which could accomplish this task then you are also guilty of having criminal intent..

    In the cases of banks or security researchers. Be careful what you say. It may be really difficult to prove that you were "only kidding" when you make that claim about breaking into something. As long as you don't make a statement about doing something illegal with the tools that you have you are not in violation of any law..

  8. #8
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by mohaughn
    I'm going to extort money from XYZ bank by encrypting their data so that they can no longer access it
    Thanks! now tell me, how much is no prison worth to you

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    Originally posted here by Striek
    Used in this context, encryption software is a means to an end. If I beat you to death with a pipe wrench, I will be carged with `assault with a weapon` or whatever the local equivalent in your area is. This does not mean that all plumbers are guilty of deadly weapons posession.
    It should be noted that, at least according to the article, there was no evidence presented that any files were encrypted or evidence destroyed using the encryption program (PGP). It would seem that the legal decision found that the mere act of having encryption software constituted evidence of criminal intent, and was thus relevant to the case. I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds like it goes a tad too far, even in the light of other evidence against the defendant.

    If encryption were used to hide or destroy evidence, that's one thing. But simply having encryption software in the first place?

    Isn't that a bit like saying we have evidence you ran a drug lab, and the fact that you had a lock on your front door further demonstrated criminal intent, even if you didn't use it?

  10. #10
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    I agree. the mere presence of having encryption software is NOT the same as having 1 gig of encrypted files they want access too. As for banks using encryption; horse, if the feds deliver a warrent request to have Uncle Guido's bank transactions from July of 2004 and the bank replys "sorry those files are encrypted" then yes they would be in deep **** and the Feds would pursue legal action towards the bank and take them.

    For the record the government can be bastards. I posted a story about a company I worked for and their unbreakable encryption technics and what the FBI did. It was about 2 years ago?
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