His given reason for not cooperating with CTC – the fact that a section 49 notice overrides the right to silence – echoes the original debate over RIPA and encryption. When the law was drafted at the end of the last decade it sparked protests from civil liberties groups and security experts.
In September 2001, shortly after his stint as Home Secretary, when he had introduced RIPA, Jack Straw took to the airwaves to defend the powers.
“It was government trying to put in place increased powers so that we could preserve and sustain our democracy against this new kind of threat,” he said in a Radio 4 interview.
“We needed to take powers so that we could de-encrypt commercially encrypted e-mails and other communications. Why? Because we knew that terrorists were going to use this.”
News that the first person jailed for the offence of not talking in a police interview has been judged no threat to national security and suffers from a mental condition associated with paranoia and a fear of authorities is unlikely to win RIPA Part III new supporters.
and an accompanying op-ed–
After all, a hardened criminal can use deniable encryption, or claim to have forgotten the password; the likely victims would be the less organised and the vulnerable.
And so it has turned out. The first person convicted under this law was a vulnerable eccentric who refused to decrypt the files on his laptop when the Met’s terror squad told him to. He was convicted and jailed despite prosecutors accepting that he was not involved in terrorism at all. He is now in a mental hospital.
The wrong person is in the mental asylum.