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In UK, Two Convicted of Refusing To Decrypt Data 554

ACKyushu clues us to recent news out of the UK, where two people have been successfully prosecuted for refusing to provide authorities with their encryption keys, resulting in landmark convictions that may have carried jail sentences of up to five years. There is uncertainty in that the names of the people convicted were not released; and without those names, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was unable to track down details of the cases. "Failure to comply with a section 49 notice carries a sentence of up to two years jail plus fines. Failure to comply during a national security investigation carries up to five years jail. ... Of the 15 individuals served, 11 did not comply with the notices. Of the 11, seven were charged and two convicted. Sir Christopher [Rose, the government's Chief Surveillance Commissioner] did not report whether prosecutions failed or are pending against the five charged but not convicted in the period covered by his report."
The Military

Submission + - US Military Inspects Student Laptops for P2P Use (

bfire writes: Recruits at the United States Military Academy in New York have to line up in the corridors outside their rooms in the barracks every Saturday morning for a notebook computer inspection or "IT SAMI" to check for attached shares and illicit or unauthorised content and use, according to a Colonel stationed there. "They're college students and they do what all college students do ... they share music," said Col Adams, who is assistant professor and senior research scientist at West Point's IT operations centre. He said management of the academy that trained US President Dwight Eisenhower and General David Petraeus wants to make sure no honour codes are broken that could lead to a cadet's expulsion from the school and return to the ranks.

Submission + - Speeders to now be electronically fingerprinted (

SonicSpike writes: "Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature. Currently, when drivers are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver's signature on the ticket, but the proposed bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints. Supporters say collecting fingerprints would save money and help police determine whether the driver is wanted for a criminal offense, but opponents worry that it allows the government to tread on individual privacy rights. "It's scary. I really think that these fingerprints will be used to create a database eventually, if not right away. If you don't think it is, then you're just kidding yourself." quips Rep. Stacey Campfield a local Republican."

Submission + - Big Brother ante portas in Switzerland (

Kokuyo writes: Well, yesterday Helvetians moved their lazy bums and put in their vote on new legislation requiring biometric passports. While the biometric passports were only a question of time (as we would have had to adopt them eventually due to the Schengen agreement), a disturbing part of this law is the creation of a central database for the data held in those passports. This clearly goes beyond the requirements of the Schengen agreement. I, for one, do not welcome our new biometric overlords; I WILL be getting a new passport before the biometric ones are rolled out. This, at least, gives me another ten years (as opposed to the five years the new, more expensive, passports will be valid for). A

Submission + - Database of all UK children launched (

An anonymous reader writes: "A controversial database which holds the details of every child in England has now become available for childcare professionals to access. The government says it will enable more co-ordinated services for children and ensure none slips through the net. 390,000 people will have access to the database, but will have gone through stringent security training."
United States

Submission + - SPAM: Do we really need a National Climate Service?

coondoggie writes: "I suppose its natural for Washington to try and wrap issues up in a tidy legislative package for bureaucratic purposes (or perhaps other things more nefarious). But one has to wonder if we really need another government-lead group, especially when it comes to the climate and all the sometimes controversial information that entails. But that's what's under way. Today the House Science and Technology Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing on the need for a National Climate Service that could meet the increased demand for climate information, the committee said. The NCS would provide a single point of contact of information climate forecasts and support for planning and management decisions by federal agencies; state, local, and tribal governments; and the private sector. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - 16 year old siezed under Patriot Act (

Arlack42 writes: "A 16 year old home schooled student from North Carolina was taken into custody under provisions of the US Patriot Act on March 5 and is being held sans due process. The youth was accused of making a bomb threat from his home on February 15. A computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records were seized at the time of the arrest. He is currently being held in a youth facility near South Bend, Ind. The boys mother has appealed to state representatives and attorneys but has so far been told there is nothing that can be done."
The Military

Submission + - Nuclear war would trigger global starvation

willatnewscientist writes: "A regional nuclear conflict, between India and Pakistan for example, could trigger an environmental disaster that leads to starvation for a billion people worldwide, reports New Scientist. A new study maps out the global consequences of India and Pakistan exploding 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear warheads. It suggests that the resulting pollution would cause temperatures to drop suddenly around the world. This, in turn, would lead to widespread famine, food-hoarding by nations and trigger epidemics of cholera, typhus and other diseases."

Submission + - Undocumented Backdoor in PGP Whole Disk Encryption (

A non-mouse Coward writes: PGP Corporation's widely adopted Whole Disk Encryption product apparently has an encryption bypass feature that allows an encrypted drive to be accessed without the boot-up passphrase challenge dialog, leaving data in a vulnerable state if the drive is stolen when the bypass feature is enabled. The feature is also apparently not in the documentation that ships with the PGP product, nor the publicly available documentation on their website, but only mentioned briefly in the customer knowledge base (PGP customer account required). Jon Callas, CTO and CSO of PGP Corp., responded that this feature was required by unnamed customers and that competing products have similar "dangerous" functionality. There is still no official word from PGP as to why the public documentation withheld recognition of this risky option.

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