Print 80 comment(s) - last by aalaardb.. on Dec 19 at 4:13 PM

Judge rules PGP passphrase protected under Fifth Amendment

Data encryption can be used for many things; not all of which are good. Encrypting data can keep private and personal information and files safe in the event of theft or loss of a computer or removable storage device. However, data encryption can also make it difficult or impossible for police and federal agencies to uncover the information needed to prosecute criminals.

Authorities are having a difficult time producing the incriminating evidence from a defendant’s laptop computer due to the encryption of the drive contents with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) software. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier has ruled that a man charged with the transportation of child pornography on his laptop across the Canadian border has a Fifth Amendment right not to divulge his PGP password reports

Sebastian Boucher is a Canadian born legal U.S. citizen and on December 17, 2006 Boucher was arrested when customs agents stopped him and searched his laptop when he and his father were crossing the border from Canada.

A customs officer says that upon examination of Boucher’s Alienware notebook computer he found thousands of pornographic images depicting adult and child pornography. The laptop was seized as evidence and Boucher was arrested but the notebook wasn’t looked at again until December 26 when it was discovered that the contents of the drive were encrypted with PGP software. Some reports claim that Boucher had configured the PGP software to forget his password after a certain period.

Prosecutors in the case issued a grand jury subpoena to compel Boucher to divulge the PGP passphrase to allow prosecutors to gain access to the alleged pornographic images. Judge Niedermeier’s ruling says that the PGP passphrase is protected under the Fifth Amendment, which protects defendants from having to give testimony that could incriminate them.

According to, prosecutors believe they can get around the Fifth Amendment protection by granting immunity to the passphrase since the passphrase isn’t what a conviction will be based on, rather the conviction will be a result of the images unlocked by the passphrase.

Details on exactly what PGP software was used by Boucher are unavailable. Alienware notebooks are now available that use Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 full encrypting hard drives, but those were not available last year so the PGP encryption used is of some other sort.

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If they want to get in
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2007 4:14:06 PM , Rating: 1
They can. They just have to turn it over to the right people.

Unfortunately this is one downside of strong encryption. When bad guys do something wrong, its a lot harder to sometimes monitor it.

As a side note, I personally believe all these sickos should be shot.

RE: If they want to get in
By Slappi on 12/17/2007 4:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
Can I shoot them?

RE: If they want to get in
By jpeyton on 12/17/2007 5:27:09 PM , Rating: 5
I fully support this ruling.

And I highly recommend people encrypt all their sensitive files. <----Free and easy to use utility.

RE: If they want to get in
By Quiescent on 12/17/2007 9:05:29 PM , Rating: 4
I agree. For all we know he could have had asian porn. Asians can be 18 and still look like child porn.

RE: If they want to get in
By mindless1 on 12/18/2007 5:04:31 AM , Rating: 2
Since I have not seen the pictures, I can't be sure, but you have made a very good point.

Some half-stable, overzealous law enforcement official could easily declare it's child pron when it's just some 20-year-olds dressing up like schoolgirls.

This guy could be a real sicko, or just somebody looking at pron where they take legal aged girls and pose and dress them like children.

We don't have evidence and only react to what could be a terribly wrong thing to propigate. We hope we are stopping a terrible injustice, but are only depending on judgement of a 3rd party while may not have had accurate perception.

However, I think that even those who seek pron where 20 year olds are dressed and otherwise modeled as being underage, may be a little sick, should have further scrutiny placed on their, umm, habits, more comprehensive would be a very tiny, small certification symbol in the corner of pictures that was only legal if appropriate documents were suppied to prove a model was of age, and then it would be easiler to discriminate those who not necessary use children, but at least had ignored the requirement to certify pictures and should be pursued until they have met this requirement.

RE: If they want to get in
By JAB on 12/17/2007 9:39:21 PM , Rating: 4
quote: <----Free and easy to use utility.

Good idea.

You never know what someone will consider illegal with all the computer illiterate prosecutors and jurys. When a teen gets convicted of child pornography for taking a pic of herself leaving it on her computer because the computer might be hacked there is something seriously wrong with the justice system.

Protect yourself because the check and balance system doesn't seem to be working if computers or the internet is involved right now.

RE: If they want to get in
By aalaardb on 12/17/2007 11:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
Cite a reference of this happening please (otherwise I'll assume this is too far out there to have actually happened - at least under those circumstances).

RE: If they want to get in
By JAB on 12/18/2007 3:24:08 AM , Rating: 2
Did you even try to google this? There is not exactly a shortage of examples.

Teenagers taking photos of themselves are prosecuted for violating child pornography laws and privacy.

This should net you 10's of thousands of hits including concerned internet law sites if you include the privacy tag. One case in particular is important because it could set a president that information on your computer is not protected by the privacy laws unless it is encrypted so well the police cant crack it because there is a reasonable expectation that any computer can be cracked. This goes hand in hand with no need for a warrant after all no computer is private.

RE: If they want to get in
By Hoser McMoose on 12/18/2007 4:49:34 AM , Rating: 2

"By Amended Petition of Delinquency, 16-year-old appellant, A.H., and her 17-year-old boyfriend, J.G.W., were charged as juveniles under the child pornography laws. The charges were based on digital photos A.H. and J.G.W. took on March 25, 2004, of themselves naked and engaged in sexual behavior. The State alleged that, while the photos were never shown to a third party , A.H. and J.G.W. emailed the photos to another computer from A.H.’s home. A.H. and J.G.W. were each charged with one count of producing, directing or promoting a photograph or representation that they knew to include the sexual conduct of a child, in violation of section 827.071(3), Florida Statutes."

(emphasis mine)

RE: If they want to get in
By aalaardb on 12/19/2007 4:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the reference.

I still think this is too far out there - too far out there to convict them! Let them have their fun if they don't harm anyone else.*

*statement applies only to this case and not drugs etc.

RE: If they want to get in
By aalaardb on 12/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: If they want to get in
By Fritzr on 12/18/2007 3:52:59 AM , Rating: 2
First item: Anyone who stores illegal material on a computer without encryption deserves to be put away. Same goes for government agencies that routinely store sensitive or classified info on laptops that are then stolen, lost or mislaid. Use of encryption implies a desire to keep private files private, it says nothing about why.

Secod item: This guy is "suspected" of having child porn. You have verified that this is the reason for not allowing a search of the harddrive how? Let's say he has a few GB of legal porn and a few MB of illegally copied files that would get him put in jail for reasons unconnected to porn. Claiming that the Customs Officers remember seeing illegal porn on the drive would allow the "accidental" discovery of files the owner would prefer not be found when the photos all turn out to be legal. So data thief, spy, company secrets...lots of reasons for not giving up the key completely unrelated to a porn case that would require self incrimination to prosecute without the investment in time that codebreaking can take.

Taking the 5th means only that the action requested can be interpreted as assisting in self-prosecution. It does not necessarily mean that what is being withheld is germane to the case or even that anything illegal is being hidden. It simply means that he does not wish to make things easy for the prosecuters. If there is nothing on the laptop then not giving the key ties up resources that could be used to search elsewhere for whatever the prosecution is looking for :)

Unless the info requested would cause summary dismissal, all defendants should answer "5th amendment right" when asked this kind of question. Of course this kind of questioning is routine since it allows the prosecution to play 20 questions, identifying promising leads by seeing which questions are freely answered and which are refused :P

Failure to answer an illegal question is not a crime :)

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance

RE: If they want to get in
By aalaardb on 12/19/2007 4:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who stores illegal material on a computer without encryption deserves to be put away

Yes, but it goes even further than that. Anyone who breaks the law deserves to be put away. Encryption is not a get out of jail free card.

This guy is "suspected" of having child porn. You have verified that this is the reason for not allowing a search of the harddrive how?

I have not verified the guy is hiding child porn. I have argued that the guy is hiding something illegal, and I have stated that the illegal thing he is hiding is most likely child porn (I though that would be obvious, because of the security guard's testimony, it is most likely child porn and least likely stolen trade secrets or whatever). I chose my words very very carefully here and I think my arguement is air tight.

RE: If they want to get in
By kalak on 12/18/2007 12:39:51 PM , Rating: 2
If he only knew that, he could gave the (fake) password

RE: If they want to get in
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2007 8:54:17 AM , Rating: 2

RE: If they want to get in
By exanimas on 12/17/2007 4:33:19 PM , Rating: 1
I would rate you up, but I (for once) have an on-topic legitimate question...

Would it be illegal for them to hack/crack the password to gain access if they believed there to be child pornography on his laptop? If it wouldn't be, then I'll ask the obvious here, why don't they just do that?

RE: If they want to get in
By Suomynona on 12/17/2007 4:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
IANAL, but I don't see how it would be illegal. They probably just don't want to do it/pay for it to be done unless they really have to.

RE: If they want to get in
By Oregonian2 on 12/17/2007 8:38:19 PM , Rating: 2

RE: If they want to get in
By KenGoding on 12/17/2007 5:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
Would it be illegal for them to hack/crack the password to gain access if they believed there to be child pornography on his laptop? If it wouldn't be, then I'll ask the obvious here, why don't they just do that?

My guess would be that it would be thrown out by the judge when they tried to use it as evidence.

RE: If they want to get in
By bhieb on 12/17/2007 5:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well as long as we are guessing :)

Why would the judge throw it out? He just said that they man could not give it to the DA himself as that would be self incriminating. I doubt the drive is protected in any way under the Bill of Rights. No different than say a locked car, as long as they have sufficient evidence to get a warrant then sure they can bust the window out of the car (or hack the drive in this case).

RE: If they want to get in
By Wightout on 12/17/2007 7:24:50 PM , Rating: 1
Isnt illegal to break any form of encryption?

That's the reason you cant make a DVD back up unless you do it bit by bit, right?

Under fair use you can make back ups, but in order to create a backup you would normally have to digitize it, and by doing that you are breaking the law due to the DVD encryption. Though if they had a warrant to do so I doubt that evidence would be thrown out.

The man could always plead ignorance to the files. saying that many other people use his computer, that viruses may have been the cause of it, his comp was a zombie, he used a P2P client and people were using that to back up their own files. With the lack of technical know how in a common jury i doubt that the defendant could put up reasonable doubt as to his being guilty.

RE: If they want to get in
By Oroka on 12/17/2007 9:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
But a car and digital information are two very diffrent things. Circumventing his password would still be a violation of his rights, the same as forcing the password out of him.

But I guess it would also be like the accused not revealing the location of a body, but the police finding it on thier own, if they can find it.

I guess it really comes down to the Judge, there are good arguements for both sides.

RE: If they want to get in
By Quiescent on 12/18/2007 7:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
Then I would say that the here-say stuff isn't sufficient evidence. As I've stated up above, for all we know, he could have Asian porn. You know asians can be 30 and still look 12.

RE: If they want to get in
By ivanwolf on 12/17/2007 8:45:44 PM , Rating: 3
If they could crack the encryption, it would be admissable evidence, since they had probable cause to look at the drives contents. As for making hem tell them the password, it definitely falls under the 5th amendment, and he should not be made to. If it is kiddie porn, I hope they are able to access the info and get a solid conviction, but he does not have to help them gather the evidence that will land him in a cell with "Bubba".

RE: If they want to get in
By Oregonian2 on 12/17/2007 8:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the DMCA make it illegal for them to break the encryption?

RE: If they want to get in
By eye smite on 12/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: If they want to get in
By goku on 12/17/2007 11:54:38 PM , Rating: 1
link? I find this hard to believe for a number of reasons.

RE: If they want to get in
By Missing Ghost on 12/18/2007 1:20:54 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah because you know a lot about computers, I'm sure.
So, how does the bios tells the power supply to increase the voltage to the hard drive? Also since when can power supplies give different voltages to many devices all connected to the same output wires? There is a lot of wrong in what you said, you're just a troll.

RE: If they want to get in
By wetwareinterface on 12/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: If they want to get in
By Quiescent on 12/18/2007 7:27:13 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I don't remember seeing anywhere in any sophisticated BIOS of overclocking harddrives... Maybe RAM and CPU... But not harddrives... I think I agree with you that he is just a skiddie.

RE: If they want to get in
By jketzetera on 12/18/2007 8:00:29 AM , Rating: 2
what it does do is open up all the gates in the hard drives i/o controller chip frying that from heat buildup.

There might be a way to physically kill a hard drive from within windows. However, the "open upp all the gates ..." and "chip frying .. from heat buildup." is just about as realistic as the claims made by the previous poster.

Stop trolling.

RE: If they want to get in
By wetwareinterface on 12/18/2007 1:23:22 AM , Rating: 3
as to the retards posting about hard drive killer infecting...
your ips are logged on this site retards
saying you commit crimes online will land you in jail these days just like you are playing video games and use a mic to state you like killing kids...

there are u.s. laws against this type of activity.
and if you think by only attacking individuals outside the u.s. you are protecting yourself you're in for a surprise visit to bubba as the law doesn't have any stipulations on whether your attack is on individuals inside the u.s. or not. and having friends in australia do u.s attacks won't save them from an extradition to the u.s. to sit in front of a judge and jury either. just ask the united kingdom hacker how well his extradition fight went.

offering up crap like hard drive killer as a kiddie porn faked virus doesn't work either. if you tag it with a .jpg it gets opened in a jpeg image viewer. if you leave it with the .exe or .msi or .com or .scr, .jar etc.. file extensions it will get filtered out by most p2p software as well. especially by someone with enough knowledge to configure pgp correctly. i filter out all crap extensions myself by default for any install of p2p software for friends.

as to whether he should give up his password that is definately a 5th amendment protection. the prosecution for even trying to "force" him by means of a court order should be severly censured by the judge. we aren't in china and the courts can't sentence a man for not incriminating himself or for non-cooperation in an investigation against himself.

whether he has kiddie porn, hoffa/jfk burial site evidence, nuclear bomb schematics in arabic, area 51 ufo video footage etc... is irrelevant. the 5th amendment is your protection from verbally offering up self incriminationg evidencery information such as burial sites or passwords to accounts etc... or testifying against yourself.

RE: If they want to get in
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2007 8:44:35 AM , Rating: 1
While you are mostly correct. Saying you do something and someone else proving you actually do it are two entirely different things.

Wow, border guard must've had a lot of time...
By Darkskypoet on 12/17/2007 4:43:54 PM , Rating: 5
I am just thinking in this case, that the border guard must've had a a lot of time to go through 'thousands of porn images' on Boucher's computer. Also, I am wondering as to the type of porn we are talking about here? Little kids? Barely legal (but legal?) or what? I mean did they have the laptop for long enough to critique thousands of pictures, but not long enough to copy them for evidence, or take digital shots of the pics on his screen? Or any other sort of evidence gathering?

Or was it simply a case of "Wow, look at his porn stash, hey that looks illegal, and so does that one, and that one, and that one... Frank, I am gonna need more time alone with this laptop."

If this guy has sicko kiddie porn on his laptop, his best defense then is to stay mum on the password, however, if he has tons of porn, and some are of the barely legal variety... Then, unfortunately, perhaps his best defense is still to stay mum on the password. After seeing what passes for 'legal' porn, would anyone really want to let a court go through their private stash at this instant deciding what is or isn't kosher?

Again, if its sicko kiddie crap, flay him alive for all I care. But if it was, then those border guards should've done a little bit more to record evidence of their claims. It would have been admissible in court, and they wouldn't be in the mess they are now trying to get a conviction with nothing but verbal testimony.

RE: Wow, border guard must've had a lot of time...
By amanojaku on 12/17/2007 4:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I am wondering as to the type of porn we are talking about here? Little kids? Barely legal (but legal?) or what?

Does it matter? Child pornography is pretty cut and dried, so barely legal isn't illegal. And illegal is just plain gross.

From the article: A customs officer says that upon examination of Boucher’s Alienware notebook computer he found thousands of pornographic images depicting adult and child pornography.

I wonder what percentage of his stash was legal compared to illegal. Back in the day when I downloaded mp3s from usenet you'd the occasional item that wasn't an mp3. If he gets thousands of pics from usenet it's possible that the guy didn't even know that two or three photos were indecent. I'm only bringing that up because it happened to me once (yuck!!!) Still, the article makes it sound like this wasn't one or two, which is still one or two more than there should be!

By Oregonian2 on 12/17/2007 8:44:21 PM , Rating: 3
Does it matter? Child pornography is pretty cut and dried, so barely legal isn't illegal. And illegal is just plain gross.

Could be true. But if the customs officer is a 60 year old prude, a nude 21-year old might be seen as child porn subjectively.

Which is why the need the images in the court case.

RE: Wow, border guard must've had a lot of time...
By Tilmitt on 12/17/2007 10:02:36 PM , Rating: 3
And illegal is just plain gross.

There`s nothing gross about a hot naked 17 year old.

RE: Wow, border guard must've had a lot of time...
By eye smite on 12/17/2007 11:11:13 PM , Rating: 1
It doesn't matter dude, it's still illegal. I use hard drive killer to take out peoples machines overseas that say anything under 18 in the title of the jpg or avi. My Aussie and NZ friends take out 4 or 5 a week in North America, so if you're using a p2p and sharing 17 yr old girl files, watch what you open. hehe

By Tilmitt on 12/18/2007 2:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
Illegal, not wrong.

By theapparition on 12/18/2007 8:16:15 AM , Rating: 2
So it's OK in most states for a 21yo to have intercouse with a 17yo. Yet illegal for him to have a picture of said 17yo.

I'm not trying to take a stand here, just commenting that out laws are screwed up.

By Oroka on 12/19/2007 1:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
You can get your pilots lisence before you get a car lisence, and they will allow you to control a multi ton vechile but you cant buy a lottery ticket or smoke a cigarette. There are many laws that are backwards and retarded. They will give a 16 year old a lisence though they have a higher chance of getting in an accident due to dangerous driving, and they will give a fine to someone who has had slightly too little to drink to get a DUI while they will take your car for not paying your parking tickets.

It is all politics, as changing the min age for a drivers lisence to 18 would be unpopular and loose you an election. Banning sale of a known carcinegen (cigarettes) would be a good idea, but it would be unpopular, so they just take advantage of addicts and charge them more taxes on it.

Just cause it is bad and stupid dont mean it will be frowned uphon.

By amanojaku on 12/17/2007 11:37:54 PM , Rating: 3
You'd be right. If you were 17. Or a pedophile. Even Quagmire asks if girls are 18 yet!

By Darkskypoet on 12/17/2007 11:53:13 PM , Rating: 3
Especially if you're 17, 18, 19, or heck even 20 I'd gather... Not to mention that without supporting documentation for the model, and a clear line of acquisition... How does one know if she's 17, 18, 19, 20, or 21? Yes as age delta increases it's obviously easier to tell... But seriously, do you now have to have a certificate of authenticity for every 18-20 year old pic you might have? Especially considering the amount of us who at one point were (or still are) those same ages. Is an 18 year old with a pic of his 17 year old girl friend a pedophile? Is it child porn?

Again, I think we the peanut gallery have a certain agreement on the 'gross' stuff, but the 17 year old question is valid. Legal and illegal are one thing, as are moral and immoral, as are right and wrong. Oft times they do not cleanly overlap.

For example, that 18 year old private serving in Iraq, has a nice pic of his GF nude... Is he a pedo? Is he immoral? Is he wrong? Or does he want something for his lonely time in hell?

If convicted by the courts for child porn, do we support the conviction, or the soldier?

By Darkskypoet on 12/18/2007 2:20:44 AM , Rating: 2
Missed a key point: soldier's pic is of his 17yr old girl friend.

RE: Wow, border guard must've had a lot of time...
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2007 8:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't matter. If they wanted to, they could arrest him for it. Whether you're dating someone or not, it doesn't matter. Look at cases where a 16 year old chick poses as a 25 year old, sleeps with a 28 year old guy, and the guy gets brought up on charges. Even if the girl admits she lied and was willing, he's still screwed.

Our laws need a lot of work in that area. I'm all for prosecuting, imprisoning, even executing true pedophiles. But if two people are within 2-3 years of each others age, there should be no grounds for criminal charges when one sleeps with another.

Many people make teenagers out to be these idiotic people who don't know right from wrong. A 15 year old though is fully aware of what they're doing. Regardless if they're past the age of consent, someone at that age is perfectly able to decide for themselves if they want to have sex. And the bigger problem is that it only seems to matter if the older of the two is a man. They might be making a bad decision if they choose to have sex that young, but its their bad choice to make and live with. It's a parenting issue at that point. Not a government one.

By SavagePotato on 12/18/2007 10:40:23 AM , Rating: 2
Mary Kay Letourneau would likely disagree with your assessment.

By rcc on 12/18/2007 2:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
But if two people are within 2-3 years of each others age, there should be no grounds for criminal charges when one sleeps with another.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, there are parts of the midwest, at least within the last few years, where a 16 yo boy could sleep with a 17 yo girl, and be brought up on charges for it. There are no repercussions for the female. Inequality rears it's little head everywhere. : )

For my part, I say find a way to sterilize 'em till they are 20 something, wrap 'em in full body condoms, and let them sort things out.

By Strunf on 12/18/2007 8:10:50 AM , Rating: 2
"... the border guard must've had a a lot of time to go through 'thousands of porn images' on Boucher's computer."
If you right click a folder and then properties you can see how many files are there, he could have use the detailed view or list just to avoid the pain of actually seeing the pictures.

Even if it was porn and legal I sure wouldn't watch the whole thing, if anyone wants porn the web is full of it there's no need to watch in someone else laptop, and god knows what touched that keyboard...

By Oroka on 12/19/2007 12:47:06 AM , Rating: 2
Well, they had the laptop in thier posession, why would they need to make copies? A border guard who proably gets his kids to download Celine Dion for them wouldnt know about encryption. You can bet your asses that there will be a change in policy following this and copies will be made ASAP and records of where they came from noted.

This must have been clear cut child porn... there is stuff out there that isnt even barely legal and could pass as a 14 year old. Id laugh if they cracked the encryption and it turned out to be really flat 20 year olds :D

By Spivonious on 12/17/2007 4:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand the prosecutions argument here. By divulging his passphrase, he would be (indirectly) incriminating himself. As disgusting as child porn is, the prosecution needs to find some more evidence or they don't have a case.

RE: Hmmm
By System48 on 12/17/2007 4:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
Is PGP really that hard to crack?

RE: Hmmm
By mquesnell on 12/17/2007 6:45:06 PM , Rating: 2
PGP can go to 4096 bit key size with DSS encryption or 2048 bit with RSA (version 8). If he used a large key size they couldn't crack it without an awfull lot of time on a super computer

RE: Hmmm
By ebakke on 12/17/2007 6:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
I would love to see an update to this article:

NSA breaks PGP encryption in [insert time here].

RE: Hmmm
By Hoser McMoose on 12/17/2007 7:25:41 PM , Rating: 3
I think people often overestimate the NSA (or CIA, or anyone else's) ability to crack encryption.

There have been numerous challenges over the years to crack encryption, and many have been successful at low bit rates. However at high bit rates things get a whole lot harder. The complexity to encrypt using higher bit rates goes up linearly while the complexity to crack such encryption goes up exponentially, so the advantage is always in the hands of the person doing the encrypting.

Right now we're at the point where theoretical multi-million dollar devices might be able to crack 1024-bit RSA in only about a year or so. But going to 2048-bit encryption is only twice as hard on the encryption side but it's MANY orders of magnitude harder to crack.

I'm not saying that it CAN'T be done, but cracking good encryption is a MAJOR undertaking even for the most well funded 3-letter acronym organizations.

RE: Hmmm
By StevoLincolnite on 12/18/2007 5:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't surprise me if a 13 year old kid who constantly head shot you in Counter strike manage to crack such encryptions in seconds using only Pen and Paper.

RE: Hmmm
By xsilver on 12/18/2007 10:47:10 AM , Rating: 2
yes its easy.

1)Take said pen - stick it in the perp's eye!
2)Remove pen - hand the perp the paper
3)Threaten to take the other eye if you dont hand out the password.
4)profit! :P

On a serious note, is there a difference in encrypting a 6 letter key vs a 12 letter key in 1024 bit encryption? If there is, isnt there a likely number of letters that a password wont go over so it can be hacked via brute force?
eg. how long can a 6 letter key really take even if its heavily encrypted?

Try his dog's name...
By jskirwin on 12/17/2007 4:16:25 PM , Rating: 5
Or his wife's birthday. Encryption schemes work as perfectly as the people that use them.

RE: Try his dog's name...
By Symmetriad on 12/17/2007 4:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
Check his luggage combination. If it's 12345, there's a good chance you know his encryption password.

RE: Try his dog's name...
By m1ldslide1 on 12/17/2007 4:31:10 PM , Rating: 4
12345 - reminds me of Spaceballs.

RE: Try his dog's name...
By Pythias on 12/17/2007 11:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
...or Ms Swan's Gorgeous Pretty Beauty Nail Salon. Its alarm combo was 12345123451234512345....8.

By amanojaku on 12/17/2007 4:46:15 PM , Rating: 3
Not that I want the bastard to get off, but I flew to and from Canada with a laptop and no one search my machine. Hell, it would make me miss a flight!

By TomZ on 12/17/2007 4:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
There must have been something suspicious or alarming about this guy in order for them to decide to search the laptop. That's all I can figure.

By SavagePotato on 12/18/2007 10:37:00 AM , Rating: 2
It was his 15 will get you 20 t-shirt.

Isn't the ruling irrelevant, really?
By JS on 12/17/2007 7:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
Let's say the judge had said the opposite: The guy has to give up the password. Then the guy says: "Jeez, I forgot it".

Now what happens? Are they going to go Marathon Man on him and pull the password out of him along with his teeth? ("Is it safe? Is it safe?")

They could perhaps go for obstruction of justice or something, but how will they prove that he is actually lying and didn't forget it for real?

The ruling therefore seems pretty irrelevant to me. Or am I missing something here?

RE: Isn't the ruling irrelevant, really?
By Drexial on 12/18/2007 9:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
you are missing something. The software was designed to forget his password. meaning his password is only good for so many days and then it expires. because they waited so long to access it the password had expired. He didn't forget his passoword

RE: Isn't the ruling irrelevant, really?
By JS on 12/18/2007 7:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
I am fully aware of that, I think that it is you who are missing something in my post.

What I am saying is that the ruling is irrelevant, because even if it was to the contrary the guy can always claim he does not remember the password. Since the police are not allowed to use torture or drugs to make him give the password up unwillingly, the ruling is irrelevant in practice if not in theory.

Ironkey and PGP
By AlvinCool on 12/18/2007 8:34:36 AM , Rating: 2
I have PGP and while I keep files in there my most sensitive files and all my software keys are all on my 4GB Ironkey drive. When it boots up it impores the person that has it to call me and give it back. Because you can't use brute force against it. Ten misses of the password and the drive fries itself and becomes silica. And nobody can retreive anything from it, ever. It also comes with a killer password generator. Without my ironkey I can't get into any of my financial records. The passwords are generated and are full of random characters.

RE: Ironkey and PGP
By tmouse on 12/18/2007 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
What happens if someone who has a grudge against you deliberately makes it fry itself? I hope you keep a backup of your records.

RE: Ironkey and PGP
By AlvinCool on 12/19/2007 8:17:02 AM , Rating: 2
Thats correct and it's an application on the Ironkey. The backup is also encrypted with your key. It also comes with an online account. If your key is lost or fried just buy a new one and restore your backup to it.

By jay401 on 12/17/2007 4:11:24 PM , Rating: 3
a Canadian born legal U.S. citizen

a legal US citizen? as opposed to what? what other kind is there? if you're here illegally, you're not a citizen. you haven't passed through the citizenship process and you aren't naturalized.

RE: uh
By Murst on 12/17/2007 4:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose an "illegal US citizen" would be someone who has not obtained their citizenship in a legal manner, or has never actually obtained citizenship but has (fake) naturalization papers and/or passport...

Why was his laptop searched in the first place?
By ninjit on 12/17/2007 5:14:01 PM , Rating: 3
As for the child pornography, I think he should be drawn and quartered.

But I'm curious as to why his laptop was so thoroughly searched in the first place, that led to the "discovery" of the illicit materials.

I've had my laptop inspected lots of times when flying: they usually turn it on, let it boot up, and make sure it basically functions as expected.

Unless he had all his kiddy-porn set to pop-up on login (or set as his desktop background), what were the security people doing "searching" his computer for files??

By Denigrate on 12/17/2007 5:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
He was probably caught in some sort of online sting, and they used his crossing the border as a reason to search his laptop.

yes, the judge is right
By mindless1 on 12/18/2007 4:54:15 AM , Rating: 2
I advocate locking child pron sickos in a dark hole in the ground, but to do so using the same standards we already had, not using special rulings that exceed the normal standards.

One of those is a matter of self-incrimination, it is crazy to think anyone can compell another to do this. On the other hand, given the suspicion and that if the fellow were innocent, a search warrant should have to limit the scope of what was found.

So I really think the problem is the limit of data search warrants, not the limit of the 5th ammendment. He should not have to give up the key because of the antiquated state the justice system is in, but if it were modern, he should have to.

I have to wonder, while these incriminating pics were there, why they didn't copy them off and just use testimony of witnesses. It seems like someone dropped the ball and are now trying to change law to make up for mistakes in collecting evidence. Nobody should assume evidence is available forever, such things have to be expedited, and until the law catches up with that reality, it can't be legal to try to use runarounds. Let this be an example that if and when you have evidence, THEN is the time to thoroughly document it, not waiting till later making an assumption you have all the time in the world to do so.

RE: yes, the judge is right
By tmouse on 12/18/2007 8:51:04 AM , Rating: 2
The law requires that the prosecution use a forensic copy to do their analysis so the original data is not altered. The border people are not qualified nor do they have the time, training or equipment. So I believe the guard asked for a power-up the laptop probably had some visible images on the desktop and in a short time the inspector saw listings or thumbs of 1000's of images maybe with obvious file names. After the laptop was placed into evidence a certain amount of time passed before the drive could be mirrored for analysis and the perv's protection scheme kicked-in. As for what the judge could do if the guy refused to give the password; contempt of court can land you in jail almost indefinitely until your lawyer can convince either the issuing judge or an appeal judge to lift it. My guess they will have the RCMP search his residence in Canada for any information, subpoena his ISP, all the usual stuff. If all else fails they will probably go for a more official search warrant, issue it to the guy, he will refuse to co-operate and they have the right to pretty much trash the computer in an effort to “look for the material” and he wont be able to get any recompense because he caused the necessity for the damage by not co-operating.

Two Choices
By Spuke on 12/17/2007 5:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
I see two two choices here: laptop up the a$$ or a jail cell with Bubba.

Over here we don't have a...
By Cerberus29 on 12/18/2007 12:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
...very good roll model to follow(in UK). I mean, even the government don't encrypt all the sensitive information, and then they go and lose it all. Three times!

Totally support the judge rulling
By slickr on 12/18/2007 2:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
Even if the guy had child porn pictures, that doesen't mean he should just give the password to the police.
Furthermore that proves nothing since he is allegedly (not guilty until proven differently - anyone)not involved in taking/making of such material.
The real criminals in that case would be the ones that take pictures of underaged girls and spread them and/or sell them on the internet or whatever.

As some said it may be those were adult girls looking young and wearing clothes to make them look young. That doesen't prove anything. If everyone should be arrested that has/is having porn pictures with girls that look young it may be a surprising number of people, far in the millions!

By SilthDraeth on 12/18/2007 5:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Just curious, but he was crossing the border into the US, and they stopped him, and "searched his laptop" and found porn, then arrested him.

Yet his drive is encrypted. Was he driving through the border with the laptop on, and unlocked, etc, with the knowledge that he had illegal porn, and freely handed the laptop over, and said here browse all my files.

This whole case is dumb. They would have needed a suspicion that he was trafficking child porn, to even think of searching the files on his laptop, and he would have had to have given them permission, and access to begin with.

What stops now
By Strunf on 12/18/2007 6:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
all the sickos out there from doing the same thing as this guy?
It's a load of crap the law should be able to "force" someone to give its key, I mean if houses were 100% safe that not even the police could get inside without the key then all the earth scum would run rampant...
This passkey is no different than your house key, the only difference is that it's a lot easier to get inside the house than break the code.

It gets even dumber if you think that if the passkey was something solid then police would be free to get it but since they have to make him talk "no way I want to enjoy of my Fifth Amendment".

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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