I’ve just been reading a very depressing article about the UK’s anti-human-rights laws being used to persecute an unfortunate schizophrenic man.
It’s a complicated story, but this individual has the distinction of being the first person convicted under the section of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) which makes it a criminal offence to fail to supply the police with decryption keys.
You can read the full item in The Register, [http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/24/ripa_jfl/] but I can’t summarize better than to quote their first few paragraphs:
The 33-year-old man, originally from London, is currently held at a secure mental health unit after being sectioned while nearing completion of his sentence at Winchester Prison.
The part of RIPA concerning encryption is a “guilty until proven innocent” measure that actually makes it a crime to refuse to answer questions. However, it has never been used to prosecute terrorists, drug dealers or paedophiles.