Teenager Jailed for Refusing to Give Up Computer Password

A British teenager has been jailed for refusing to give up his computer password in connection with being questioned for suspicion of possessing “indecent child images.” 

The 19-year-old was originally arrested last May, and a spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary told PC Pro the young male was questioned “on suspicion of possessing indecent child images.”

When police tried to investigate the suspect’s computer, they found it protected by a 50-character password, which they were unable to crack.

Under British law, withholding passwords in an offense, so the teenager last month received a 16-week prison term for his refusal to give up his key.

Lancashire police said under the law, he could have been sentenced to up to two years.

“[He] was previously of good character so the immediate custodial sentence handed down by the judge in this case shows just how seriously the courts take this kind of offense,“ detective sergeant Neil Fowler of Blackpool Police told PC Pro. “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. It sends a robust message out to those intent on trying to mask their online criminal activities that they will be taken before the courts with the ultimate sanction, as in this case, being a custodial sentence.“

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