Sep 172013
 September 17, 2013  Posted by  U.S., Workplace

Reading Cryptome this morning, I came across this item:

From: Bo Chen <bochen7e7[at]>
To: “cryptome[at]” <cryptome[at]>
Subject: Cryptome : Help, I’ve been charged with a crime for using encryption, please make this into a news story!
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 09:38:00 -0500

I’m being wrongfully charged with a crime by the Addison PD in Dallas county for merely using encryption on a work computer even though after I was abruptly terminated on false allegations of theft and after I was coerced into writing a check to the owner, the police later came back and said it was a crime to use encryption, even after I already offered and the police agreed to give me the chance to unlock it for the owner. This can’t be right. Please see if you can link to it as an article or something to get this publicity and warn other people that something so innocent could get them in so much trouble in our police state!

My website I created to report this injustice!

After spending a few minutes on  his web site trying to understand what had transpired, all I had for my efforts was a headache. I’m not sure if there is any workplace privacy issue here or not, nor what the legal issues might be. It seems that the former contract worker had encrypted some of his personal files on the computer (he claims he had permission to have his own files on the computer), and that after he was terminated, he did not have a chance to clear his files off the computer, where they remained encrypted. Of course, it’s not clear how the employer could know that these were (allegedly) personal files if they were encrypted.

Is this strictly a civil issue that hinges on any contract or agreement between the firm and the contractor, or is there a criminal law issue here, too, under Texas law or CFAA?

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