Northumbria, UK– 22 year-old computer science student with Aspergers Syndrome, Christopher Wilson, is facing six months in prison for refusing to hand over encryption keys to police for an investigation. This is not his first time dealing with the law.
In October of 2012 Wilson was suspected of e-mailing threats, to shoot the school’s staff,to Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University where he was working towards his masters degree. The e-mails were traced to servers connected to Wilson, but the charges were later dropped since they lacked substantial evidence.
Two years later he became a prime suspect in another case of several threats, this time against the Northumbeia Police. They suspect he’s been calling and warning of a cyber attack, of a planned break into the Serious Crimes Agency’s website, and also encouraging people to deface a Facebook memorial page set up for two officers shot in Manchester.
To investigate their claims police wanted to look at encrypted data stored on Wilson’s computer. The 50 possible passwords he gave have’t worked, promoting the police to get the local court to order Wilson to provide the decryption key in the name of national security. Wilson refused to comply and was sentenced to six months in prison under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers act, or RIPA, the UK version of the wiretapping law.
The original article on the engadget website can be read here