I would like to share a story that can happen to anyone and try to explain why it is important to secure data on a computer or any digital device that is supported by encryption.
We all get something from the internet now and then, be it a music file, movie or program. It is important that e.g. music files can be downloaded without limitation – you can have them on your hard disk up to one million or more. However, you cannot share them. Sharing protected by law files is an illegal offense because copyright laws and copyright companies demand sky-high sums from users and they are trying to prove to court share files online legally protected by them.
One morning about six o’clock AM hearing some noise I wake up. I have opened my eyes and found two uninvited guests stood in my room. The first thing that came to my mind was it must be the police and I was not mistaken. They told me they had a warrant to secure evidence in the form of computers. When asked why I heard that allegedly I have shared some songs of some popular singer (far from the musical style of my interests). They took my old desktop computer and a newly purchased laptop and took me to the police station for questioning. I recovered the laptop one month after I submitted relevant documents to the prosecutor’s office proving that the laptop was purchased after the date of the computer’s detention order. I haven’t recovered a desktop computer yet, even though it’s been almost seven months.
While the items were being held, the computer was analyzed. Fortunately, it had Linux installed on it, which is free and requires no license instead of pirated windows additionally downloaded from the BitTorrent network. Hence, there was also no pirated software. Returning to the allegedly shared files, the company claiming redress claimed that I was able to send about 17,000 songs and as proof, they provided a funny time frame in which I was supposed to share these files. There were two ranges. One about 5 minutes and the other for about an hour which is technically impossible at upload speed of about 80 KB / s. Computer analysis did not show the presence of music files as the operating system was not encrypted. My bad. On the other hand, data discs were already encrypted and as there is no obligation to provide authorities with our passwords, the case was referred for closure. I don’t remember myself whether I shared the given music files or not and certainly not in the amount of 17,000. Everyone may forget to turn off the p2p program after downloading the file or in simplicity secure it for sending data but understand how important encryption of sensitive data is. In sum. Theoretically, even if there was at least one song on one of the encrypted disks, it was invisible to the prying eyes of the authorities. That is why data encryption is important and maybe saved me from paying a penalty calculated at around 5000 USD.
Stay secure – encrypt!
I recovered the old PC from the police station and the copyright lawsuit was finally dropped.