UK ‘USB Cufflinks’ Terror Suspect Faces March Trial

A suspected Isis member who is alleged to have trained terrorists in encryption techniques is set to go on trial in March 2017.

Samata Ullah, 33, from Cardiff, appeared by video link-up at the Old Bailey at the end of last week.

He’s accused of six terror offences including being a member of Isis, and writing cybersecurity tips in a blog for other colleagues.

The Ansar al Khilafah blog is said to have also featured instructional videos on topics such as encrypting communications in order to stay hidden from the authorities.

Other charges include one count of providing instruction or training for the commission or preparation of terrorism, one count of directing terrorism, and two counts of possession of material for terrorist purposes.

Ullah reportedly owned a pair of Linux USB cuff links which, when arrested, were found to contain backed up content from the Ansar al Khilafah blog and instructions on how to use P2P network ZeroNet, according to The Express.

The latter features in-built Tor functionality which can anonymise content, something Ullah is suspected of using to keep the blog hidden from the authorities.

He’s also said to have been a user of encrypted messaging service Telegram.

Police are said to have gathered 6TB of data from Ullah’s various devices.

In the UK, US and elsewhere there’s an ongoing battle between law enforcement and prosecutors and technology providers over the use of encrypted services and devices to effectively hide illegal activity from investigators.

This has surfaced most publicly in the States where the FBI took Apple to court to try and force the firm to build a back door into its software in order to help the Feds unlock a device belonging to the San Bernardino shooter.

So far, Silicon Valley has steadfastly refused to cooperate in such a way, claiming it would set a dangerous precedent and undermine the security of key tech platforms for hundreds of millions of innocent users around the globe.

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