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Encryption as Evidence of Criminal Intent

From Bruce Schneier's blog (syndicated on LJ as bruce_schneier):
Encryption as Evidence of Criminal Intent

An appeals court in Minnesota has ruled that the presence of encryption software on a computer may be viewed as evidence of criminal intent.

I am speechless.
Read Bruce's blog entry and comments for more discussion on the topic.

I don't know if I'm speechless or not, but I am more than a little concerned. I'll have to look into the specifics a little deeper, 'cause it might not be as troubling as it appears. For example, one of the comments on Bruce's blog entry attempts to put it in perspective:
This really isn't that big of a deal. This is the same as finding a guy in a car, driving around a residential neighborhood slowly, and finding a ski mask, lock picking tools, and a flashlight in his car. Everything is legal, but may be admitted in court to try to prove criminal intent.

One piece of evidence alone will not help a prosecutor very much, but if you can get enough pieces of the puzzle together, the picture becomes alot clearer. FWIW
Maybe. I can already see that it will be very easy to start down the slippery slope on either side of this argument.

Comments

(Deleted comment)
drmellow
May. 26th, 2005 04:19 pm (UTC)
Not criminal in itself, but could be used to show criminal intent.

But, yeah, that's one side of the slippery slope.
eagle243
May. 26th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC)
Or VPN software on your employer-provided laptop.

Or SSH that you use to connect to your servers.

Or SSL that you use to check your email (IMAP-SSL or POP-SSL).
prester_scott
May. 26th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC)
Or the encryption software that's built into all current releases of Windows, Macintosh, and for that matter, Linux, operating systems.

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