Uk Home Secretary Faces Prison Over Escrow
Posted on 13 Oct 1999
by Martin Burns (MartinB)
Rated 3.89 (Ratings: 0)
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The fact that you don't possess this key won't help you unless you can prove that you don't have it. I wish you well in proving that it isn't hidden away on a disk in your secretary's home, or squirreled away on the Internet somewhere. We might have sent it to you last week; but according to the Bill, the police won't have to prove you ever had it at all.Fortunately for Straw, this scenario is only theoretical, as the Bill is not yet law. And I'd imagine parliament will now be encouraged to amend the legislation - yet again. After all, 'guilty until proven innocent' has a distinctly uncomfortable ring to it. The government listened over the key escrow issue, so the necessary amendments will probably be made this time as well.
Even if you can prove that you don't have it you would STILL be liable for imprisonment unless you give information to the police that enables them to decrypt the key. Unfortunately for you this is impossible, because we've destroyed all copies of the key in our possession.
If the police ask you keep the demand to hand over the key secret, telling anyone would render you liable to five years in jail.
So you couldn't complain - or explain your predicament - to the PM or Home Secretary, to the Chief Whip or a journalist, or even to another policeman.