Some legal trouble with TOR in France

Eric H. Jung eric.jung at
Mon May 15 01:58:59 UTC 2006


I don't have the time to respond to all the points of your email except
the first/

Federal Contempt of Court

"Although there is no statutory maximum limit regulating the amount of
time a contemnor can be ordered to spend in confinement (United States
v. Carpenter, 91 F.3d 1282, 1283 (9th Cir. 1996)), the requirement that
a jury trial be granted in criminal contempt cases involving sentences
over six months in jail acts as a check on this power." 67-79

--- Mike Perry <mikepery at> wrote:

> Thus spake Eric H. Jung (eric.jung at
> > > Tony's point was that you could arrange not to have the 
> > authentication
> > > tokens anymore. You better hope they believe you when you say you
> > > don't have it, though.
> > 
> > >Not having the authentication tokens counts as refusing to
> surrender
> > >them.
> > 
> > Per US law, if a judge subpoenas you to hand them over and you
> refuse
> > and/or remain silent, it means indefinite jail time (until you hand
> > over the tokens) and/or fines.
> Where is your source on this? As I understand it, there are a few
> fundamental principles of the US legal system that should render this
> statement completely false. One is Habeas Corpus.. You can't just
> throw someone in jail indefinitely without a criminal charge and a
> trial. 
> Though it seems Bush&Co are violating it with "enemy combatant"
> charges, I do not think they have the political power (at least
> anymore) to name an anonymity provider as an "enemy combatant"
> (especially if they are a natural born US citizen). The same applies
> to the 72 hour warrant deal, at least as far as I can tell from
> Second, if it is a criminal charge, you are not under any obligation
> to testify against yourself in a criminal court of law (5th
> ammendment). There are various exceptions to this, main one being if
> you are not the person charged of the crime (though I think you can
> still claim that such testimony may incriminate you for unrelated
> matters). I suppose it could also be argued that the passphrase does
> not count as testimony, but it sure seems like it is.
> Finally, some googling on subpoena compliance seems to indicate that
> punishment for subpoena non-compliance is 'contempt of court' charge
> and fines.
> That page advises you not to answer any subpoenas without challenging
> them first, among other things (ie one state's court cannot usually
> subpoena someone from another state). Contempt of court charges for
> non-compliance may be repeated, but any contempt law I can find on
> the web has some form of maximum limit. The longest I've seen so far
> is North Carolina, which is a max of 1yr in 90 day increments:
> Also, dunno how accurate it is, but Wikipedia seems to claim that the
> key disclosure provisions of the RIPA (Part III) are not yet in force
> in the UK:
> We seriously have to watch our paranoia on this one. This is one of
> those situations that if we believe we have no rights, it will be
> very
> easy to knock us over, simply by playing off our fears and demanding
> keys without any legitimate basis to do so.
> If any Tor operator is arrested/detained in the US, they would do
> well
> to refuse to surrender any passphrase until they are actually in
> court
> and ordered to do so by a Judge (and then only after voicing protest,
> to allow for clear appeal to a higher court). Cops will probably just
> lie to you and try to convince you that you are required on the spot.
> Ask for a lawyer immediately. 
> This is not just to protect the Tor network either. With computer
> laws
> as crazy as they are, and with the IPPA coming down the road, soon
> simply having something like an Open Source DVD player or archiver on
> your machine will be enough to land you in jail for a while, if it's
> not already...
> -- 
> Mike Perry
> Mad Computer Scientist
> evil labs

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