“Minnesota court takes dim view of encryption,” by Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, 24 May 2005, http://news.com.com/Minnesota+court+takes+dim+view+of+encryption/2100-1030_3-5718978.html (from Slashot).
Minnesota, South Dakota’s neighbor to the east, is regionally known for quirkiness. Swedish-style leftism, prairie populism, and Great Lakes industry trade makes the state, which means Sky-Reflecting Water in Sioux, a mirror into the least practical fads of the moment. I early blogged of the Minnesota Legislature encouraging pedophiles to kill their victims. Now, a common privacy tool is evidence of criminal intent
A Minnesota appeals court has ruled that the presence of encryption software on a computer may be viewed as evidence of criminal intent.
Ari David Levie, who was convicted of taking illegal photographs of a nude 9-year-old girl, argued on appeal that the PGP encryption utility on his computer was irrelevant and should not have been admitted as evidence during his trial. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy and is sold by PGP Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.
But the Minnesota appeals court ruled 3-0 that the trial judge was correct to let that information be used when handing down a guilty verdict.
“We find that evidence of appellant’s Internet use and the existence of an encryption program on his computer was at least somewhat relevant to the state’s case against him,” Judge R.A. Randall wrote in an opinion dated May 3.
Randall favorably cited testimony given by retired police officer Brooke Schaub, who prepared a computer forensics report–called an EnCase Report–for the prosecution. Schaub testified that PGP “can basically encrypt any file” and “other than the National Security Agency,” nobody could break it.
Shaub either perjured himself or is dangerously ignorant for his position.
So do you have criminal intent? Yes, if you use a Mac
The court didn’t say that police had unearthed any encrypted files or how it would view the use of standard software like [Apple Macintosh] OS X’s FileVault. Rather, Levie’s conviction was based on the in-person testimony of the girl who said she was paid to pose nude, coupled with the history of searches for “Lolitas” in Levie’s Web browser
Other programs that use encryption are some file compressors, the web browser you are reading this page with, some media players — basically, anything involving credit cards, online business, or electronic personal security. As dahnmich writes, under a rule that ‘personal security equals criminal intent,’ even possession a gun would be evidence of criminal intent.