Teenager jailed for refusing to hand over computer password

A teenager has been jailed for four months after refusing to hand over an encryption key for his computer to police.

Oliver Drage, 19, of Naze Lane, Freckleton, Lancashire was originally arrested for another alleged offence last May. In the course of that investigation police seized his computer.

But they could not get past a 50-character encryption password to find out what material was on the computer. Drage, a fast food shop worker, was then formally requested to disclose the password, but he failed to do so.

He was then charged under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and convicted after a trial at Preston Crown Court last month.

The Police have still not been able to crack the code on Drage's computer to discover its contents.

Det Sgt Neil Fowler, of Lancashire Police, said: "Computer systems are constantly advancing and the legislation used here was specifically brought in to deal with those who are using the internet to commit crime."

A year ago, it was disclosed that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was being used by local councils, the police and the security services around 1,500 times a day to investigate citizens.

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