UK Man Accused of Hacking US Government Wins Battle to Protect Encryption

Lauri Love

Lauri Love

On Tuesday, hacktivist Lauri Love won his battle against the UK’s National Crime Agency, who was trying to force him to turn over his encryption keys.

Love, 31, of Suffolk is currently wanted by the US government for allegedly hacking into agencies including the US Army, NASA, the US Federal Reserve and the Environmental Protection Agency. There are three open extradition requests against him, one to New Jersey, another to the Southern District of New York, and a last to East Virginia.

First arrested in 2013 on an arrest warrant from the US Love was not charged in the UK — yet he had computer equipment seized by British police who then released him on bail.

After his release, Love filed a lawsuit against the UK government to return his seized electronics (including devices which they were unable to decrypt), and in May 2015, he had most of his belongings returned. The government then served him with an order under Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, demanding that he turn over the keys to decrypt some of the devices — which he refused to do.

The agency seemed to relent for a while, but later demanded once again that he provide the encryption keys for the TrueCrypt software that he had used. Many believe that it was a retaliatory move for the civil lawsuit that he filed to get his items returned.

Investigators claimed that the reason they would not return the encrypted devices was because they may contain data that he “did not have legitimate ownership of,” such as files he gained through hacking.

“I won’t be assisting obviously, so it’s a matter of whether the judge appreciates that you cannot make someone’s ability to own computers and store data dependent on satisfying the police, especially when someone is not being prosecuted in the country those police are supposed to be upholding the law of,” Love told Sputnik News in April.

Love explained that there could be chilling and far reaching consequences if he was forced to comply. If successful, the case could have set precedent for journalists and others who want to safeguard information, to be easily forced by police to hand over their material.

“If the police can represent ‘facts’ in a colourful enough way to get a warrant, which is basically less effort than farting, then they can take and deny access to anyone of all of their digital equipment and media and refuse to return it if there are any portions they suspect (note, merely suspect, not having demonstrated or proved or evidence, but suspect) to be encrypted — then the property is forfeit,” Love said.

“This is a complete reversal of property rights into privileges granted by the state on the basis that they can peek at whatever they want and a presumption of guilt on any data that is not ‘comprehensible,’” Love stated. “So it all starts to seem a bit like an inquisition, which is kinda how the government would like to deal with hackers, but it’s not the way forward for society.”

While it has still not been determined if Love will get his property back, the decision not to force him to decrypt the files is being widely celebrated by civil liberties groups.

“The case raised important issues of principle in relation to the right to respect for private life and right to enjoyment of property and the use of the Court’s case management powers,” Karen Todner, Love’s attorney said in a statement. A ruling in the authorities’ favor, she added, “would have set a worrying precedent for future investigations of this nature and the protection of these important human rights.”

Love’s legal team has said that he could face up to 99 years in jail if he is successfully extradited to the United States and convicted. Supporters have lobbied on social media launching the hashtag #FreeLove, and using the slogan “No Love for the US Gov!” to speak out against his extradition.

TSA Agents Grope and Humiliate Paralyzed Olympic Champion

The Transportation Security Administration is admitting their mistake and claiming that agents “did not follow correct screening protocols,” after they “humiliated” a wheelchair-bound six-time Olympic champion at the Denver Airport over the weekend.

Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is a famed Olympic swimmer who was in an ATV crash in 2014 that left her paralyzed from the waist down, she now uses a wheelchair for mobility.

On Sunday, Van Dyken-Rouen was at the Denver International Airport where she was subjected to a full body search, despite having TSA’s Pre-Check pass. She immediately took to Instagram to detail the incident and speak out against their actions.

“With the positive in my journey, there is also negative. Need to make changes for all in ??. @denairport @tsa pre check officer was rude, and in correct. Said every airport in country BUT Den is doing it wrong. Had a full body pat down, and was humiliated by him as well. Thank you STSO Keith Rogers!!! I’m going to find out if the rest of the country is wrong, or if HE is wrong. I’ll get back to you,” Van Dyken-Rouen wrote in the Instagram caption.

She also spoke to the Denver ABC affiliate and told them that, “they go around your breasts, they basically go under your butt and the just grab things, not grab, they touch things that are not appropriate and it’s really embarrassing.”

On Monday, the TSA released a statement that the officers involved in the incident were being retrained.

“TSA works closely with the disability community to develop screening procedures that integrate the unique needs of those with disabilities or medical issues into the process. TSA reviews passenger complaints, and in this case determined that our officers did not follow correct screening protocols when Ms. Amy Van Dyken came through the security checkpoint at Denver International Airport (DEN) this weekend. TSA’s federal security director has reached out to Ms. Van Dyken. The officers involved are undergoing retraining, and TSA Denver is providing refresher training to all of its officers as well,” the statement said.

Van Dyken-Rouen hopes that by speaking out she will help prevent the same embarrassment from happening to others.

Doing interviews about this TSA situation. Thank you all for your support. It means so much to me!! #LoveYou

A video posted by Amy Van Dyken (@amyvandyken) on

“It’s really sad, I just want to help other people out who don’t have a voice, just fair treatment for everybody, respect for everybody, that’s all we need,” Van Dyken-Rouen stated.

Windows 10 Spies On 14 Million Users: Here’s How To Stop It

"We can see everything you're doing through our window."

“We can see everything you’re doing through our, window.”

By Alec Cope
We Are Change

If you are reading this, chances are you downloaded Windows 10; and are rightfully disturbed. In all honesty, I did too (the Cortana feature was too alluring) despite the fact I understood what I was getting myself into: ever more intimate surveillance.

The same cannot be said for the 14 million people who “opted-in” for the spy-system however. (more…)

Got Chrome? Google Just Silently Downloaded This Onto Your Computer

Chrome logo with white background

By Alec Cope
We Are Change

“Don’t Be Evil” – Google

On June 17th, Google did not announce (the news broke) that the DARPA affiliated corporation has been silently downloading audio listeners onto every computer that has Chrome.

This effectively means that Google sees your privacy as piddly-squat, which does not necessarily come off as a surprise, when one considers Google’s censorship of We Are Change – this very organization as nothing. The website Private Internet Access‘s Rick Falkvinge reported how he came to understand this new policy: (more…)

U.S. Army Lies About Using Giant Blimp To Monitor Maryland Residents


Alec Cope
We Are Change

JLENS, short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, will float at an altitude of 10,000 feet, almost 24/7. In the State of Maryland it is already active, military officials claim it has no capabilities to spy on citizens. However, a digital privacy expert by the name of Ginger McCall has documents acquired via a lawsuit that prove its second objective is to monitor ground movement.

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