Man sues Compaq for false advertising

(via Bruce Schneier’s security blog)
As the headling says, a suit has been filed against Compaq (now HP) for false advertising.  Michael Crooker is suing Compaq for advertising a feature called DriveLock, purported to make the hard drive unreadable without the proper password.  After Mr. Crooker had his apartment searched by the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), his laptop was taken.  Later, data from the hard drive was used in a later search of his e-mail account.

He bought it in September 2002, expressly because it had a feature called DriveLock, which freezes up the hard drive if you don´t have the proper password.

The computer´s manual claims that ¨if one were to lose his Master Password and his User Password, then the hard drive is useless and the data cannot be resurrected even by Compaq´s headquarters staff,¨ Crooker wrote in the suit.

. . .

The FBI had broken through DriveLock and accessed his e-mails (both deleted and not) as well as lists of websites he´d visited and other information. The only files they couldn´t read were ones he´d encrypted using Wexcrypt, a software program freely available on the Internet.

I’ll let you make your own decision about whether or not normal people should have access to security software of this type.  I will say I view personal access to cryptography software to be as important as personal access to firearms.  You, of course, don’t have to share my view, but if you don’t, I’d be interested in hearing why in the comments.

[tags]DriveLock, Cryptography[/tags]