Some legal trouble with TOR in France

Matej Kovacic matej.kovacic at
Mon May 15 06:31:32 UTC 2006


> However I might get bad news about this in a few weeks/monthes,
> depending of  what the justice wants to do with me. Unauthorised
> cryptographic programs are illegal in france, since the "len" law
> adopted two years ago but I believe there is not much precedent
> equivalent case so they must be thinking twice before they get me
> into trouble.

Well, France has signed Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms (adopted by Council of Europe in 1950).

Article 8 says:

   1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life,
his home and his correspondence.
   2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the
exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and
is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national
security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for
the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or
morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

There are some legal opinions, that banning cryptography or anonymous
remailers is disproportional interference with privacy.

I looked up in the European Court fo Human Rights database, and have
found this case: CASE OF PUZINAS v. LITHUANIA, 14 March 2002

It about a prisoner, who complained because his letters were subject to
cenzorship. Lithuanian law stated that any letters containing
“cryptography [and] cynical or threatening statements shall not be sent
to the addressee”, and also written “suggestions, applications or
complaints containing insults, jargon or obscenities shall not be sent,
[and that] disciplinary penalties may be imposed on the persons who have
signed” such papers.

Court ruled that the interference complained of was not necessary in a
democratic society within the meaning of Article 8, and therefore there
is a violation of Article 8.

It is interesting, because we are talking about letters from/to prison
and not letters of free innocent citizens. If Court found cenzorship of
prisonner's writings (to his wife and international institutuions)
illegal, then restrictions to writings of innocent citizens must be
illegal too.

bye, Matej

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