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• Accused hacker cannot be forced to reveal passwords, rules Magistrates’ Court

Laurie Love v National Crime Agency, 5th May 2016

The Magistrates’ Court of England and Wales has ruled that an alleged hacker, Mr Laurie Love, who faces extradition to the USA, will not have to give the passwords for his encrypted computers to UK law enforcement officers.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) seized encrypted computers from Mr Love’s home.  The NCA applied to the court for a ruling that he provide the passwords.  No charges were brought against the accused in the UK and he sued the NCA for return of the hardware.  He argued that the proper procedure was under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and an application to court was an attempt to circumvent that legislation, which contains safeguards.  He alleged that avoiding the RIPA procedure would breach his right to enjoyment of property and to respect for private life.

The judge held that the correct procedure for obtaining the information was set out in RIPA and stated that, ‘The case management powers of the court are not to be used to circumvent specific legislation that has been passed in order to deal with the disclosure sought.’

Read The Guardian newspaper article here

Criminal Law, Disclosure