Monday, February 27, 2012

U.S. Courts and Encrypted Hard Drives

I'm more confused now – I'm not sure how the two rulings don't conflict, but I'm not a lawyer.
Via Bruce Schneider … U.S. Federal Court Rules that it is Unconstitutional for the Police to Force Someone to Decrypt their Laptop:
A U.S. Federal Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the police to force someone to decrypt their laptop computer:
Thursday’s decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that an encrypted hard drive is akin to a combination to a safe, and is off limits, because compelling the unlocking of either of them is the equivalent of forcing testimony.
Here's the actual decision. And another blog post.
Note that this a different case, and an opposite ruling, than this. Although the legal experts say that the rulings are not actually in conflict:
Also note that the court’s analysis isn’t inconsistent with Boucher and Fricosu, the two district court cases on 5th Amendment limits on decryption. In both of those prior cases, the district courts merely held on the facts of the case that the testimony was a foregone conclusion.

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