Why You Should Care About The RIP Act

    Date21 Aug 2006
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    You may be more accurate than you think. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, to give it its full name, gives the police and the security services the right to intercept our communications data. Scary stuff indeed. But wasn't there a big scandal about this a while ago? That's right. RIPA, as it's affectionately known by some, was passed in October 2000, in the face of widespread opposition that nearly brought the bill down.

    So why is it in the news today? Is it terrorist-related? You're on the right lines. What's new is that the Government is now proposing to activate Part III of RIPA, which has been gathering dust on the statute book for the last six years. Part III gives police the right, in some circumstances, to force a suspect to decrypt their data or hand over an encryption key. Why do they want such a power? They say that terrorists and child abusers are increasingly using encryption tools to hide data. One police officer said this week that computers are piling up around the country because they can't be cracked, and suspects are walking free.

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