The investigation into the w0nderland paedophile ring could have been scuppered at the last minute if the men had not given police their encryption keys.
A spokeswoman for the National Crime Squad told The Independent that "We were only able to get into their systems when they voluntarily gave us their passwords."
If the same situation were to arise today, the suspect would be obliged, under the RIP Act, to furnish the investigators with the key to decrypt their data. However, the Operation Cathedral investigation predated the Act becoming law.
A spokesman for the Home Office told El Reg: "The thinking behind RIP obviously predates operation Cathedral, but when putting together legislation the government consults all relevant parties for expert opinion."
He said that a case like Operation Cathedral would not have been the only reason for the law to be drafted, but he would not rule out the possibility that it formed part of the debate. He said "It is a good example of what the RIP Act is trying to do."
There has been a big negative response in the press to the sentencing of the w0nderland paedophile ring, probably because most people have misunderstood the situation. The same thing happened at Vulture Central yesterday.
Recent changes to the law have raised the maximum sentence for trading illegal images of children from three to ten years. However, the sentences handed out to the w0nderland club refer to crimes that were committed before the law was changed.
In fact, according to NCS officers, the investigation into the w0nderland ring was a big motivating force behind the change in the law.
People were expecting sentences close to ten years for the members of the club, and compared to this 30 months does sound lenient.
However, it is only six months short of the maximum sentence that could be imposed. ®