Arrested in 2013 for illegally hacking into US government websites Lauri Love, a British student from Suffolk, has been fighting extradition to the USA to face charges that he had stolen “massive quantities” of sensitive data from US Federal Reserve and NASA computers, which could mean him being sentenced for up to 99 years in prison in the USA.
The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) raided his home in 2013, seizing encrypted computers and hard drives. No charges were brought against him in Britain; however Love is suing the NCA for the return of six items of encrypted hardware.
The NCA applied to the courts to force Love to hand over his passwords before it returns his computers, however in a landmark ruling today (May 10th) a District Court judge ruled that he will not have to give the passwords for his encrypted computers to British law enforcement officers.
This case raised important issues of principle in relation to the right to respect for private life. Consequently for you AS students of Unit 2’s Judges & Civil Liberties topic, this is a good example to use for questions that require you to assess the extent to which the judiciary protect civil liberties in the UK… In this case they did!