The British FBI, (The National Crime Agency) confiscated the computer and hard drives from Louri Love, who was accused by the U.S. Authorities for hacking into multiple federal systems between 2012 – 2013 (Gallagher, 2016). The National Crime Agency served Love with an order to turn over the passwords for his encrypted data, and Love did not comply with this request. Love then launched a civil case to request The National Crime Agency return his equipment to him. When Love filed this case they again asked for his compliance with the original order to give them the password for the encrypted data and also said that they cannot give the equipment back to Love because some of the data on it does not belong to Love, (the hacked data).
On Tuesday, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, judge Nina Tempia ruled in Love’s favor. Tempia said that she was “not persuaded” by the National Crime Agency’s argument that Love should be compelled to disclose his passwords and encryption keys to prove his ownership of the data. She also took a swipe at the agency’s attempt to “circumvent” the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which she described as the “specific legislation that has been passed in order to deal with the disclosure sought (Gallagher, 2016).”
This was a great victory for Love. Love said “If they’d ruled in the other way it would have been very concerning for anyone who has to store sensitive information, especially people with obligations to clients, people under their care in terms of their confidentiality (Gallagher, 2016).”
The U.S. Authorities are also looking to extradite Love so he can be tried in American courts. Love has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and does not feel that he would receive a fair trial in the U.S (Gallagher, 2016). Love also said “There will be no decryption” and fully intends to defend this case to the fullest.
The encryption battle rages on and it is good to see that judges like Nina Tempia are still on the bench and willing to defend what is right and not who holds the highest power. I believe the FBI had no right to pursue Apple Inc. because of what a customer decided to do with his device. If I buy a Toyota and go on a mass rampage and run-over everyone that I see, is the government going to go after Toyota and try to force them to tell me why I did it? or possibly force them to detect my GPS location at every second during the spree and locate an audio message that may have been received inside the video? As the battle over encryption wages, stay tuned for weekly updates.