UK CITIZEN and online activist Lauri Love is facing pressure from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to hand over encryption keys to equipment seized from his home, following claims that he broke into the FBI, the US Missile Defence Agency and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Prosecutors in the US claim that Love was part of a network of hackers who operated across the country. He has had criminal charges filed against him in New York, New Jersey and East Virginia.
Prosecutors also link him with OpLastResort, an online hacktivism protest linked with the Anonymous group. It was set up to protest against the US legal system's treatment of hacktivist and Reddit partner Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in 2013 while under federal indictment for data theft.
The NCA's attempts to force Love to hand over the keys used to access his equipment comes after he launched legal action against the UK cyber cops to have his property returned.
The Home Office is seeking a court order in the form of a 'direction' in the civil proceeding brought by Love in a bid to get his computer equipment returned, instead of using powers introduced with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
If the direction is granted and Love refuses to comply, he risks being charged with contempt of court.
Love is also being ordered to provide witness statements informing the court whether two particular files encrypted with TrueCrypt software contain data from the US Senate and Department of Energy.
"The NCA is trying to establish a precedent so that an executive body, i.e. the police, can take away your computers and if they are unable to comprehend certain portions of data held on them, you lose the right to retain them. It's a presumption of guilt for random data," Love told The Intercept in an interview.
Police are also refusing to return a laptop in which they say they have found pirated films. Love has suggested that the police are simply providing "a bunch of excuses" for not returning property he has a legal right to get back.
Love's defence team, meanwhile, argues that, while he did infiltrate government systems to find information to back his various causes, he did not profit from any of his activities and made no privileged information available to the public. µ
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