Minnesota court takes dim view of encryption

May 24, 2005 | Cryptography, Security | By: Mark VandeWettering

Sigh. Things like this really depress me. Minnesota court takes dim view of encryption | CNET News.com

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

From the PGP FAQ:

Who uses PGP?
People who value privacy use PGP. Politicians running election campaigns, taxpayers storing IRS records, therapists protecting clients’ files, entrepreneurs guarding trade secrets, journalists protecting their sources, and people seeking romance are a few of the law abiding citizens who use PGP to keep their computer files and their e-mail confidential.

Businesses also use PGP. Suppose you’re a corporate manager and you need to e-mail an employee about his job performance. You may be required by law to keep this e-mail confidential. Suppose you’re a saleswoman, and you must communicate over public computer networks with a branch office about your customer list. You may be compelled by your company and the law to keep this list confidential. These are a few reasons why businesses use encryption to protect their customers, their employees, and themselves.

PGP also helps secure financial transactions. For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation uses PGP to encrypt members’ charge account numbers, so that members can pay dues via e-mail.

Whether this individual is guilty or not, this seems incredibly ill-conceived.

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