Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Can a Judge Compel One to Decrypt Their Laptop?

I guess the answer is yes.

David Kravets reporting … Judge Orders Defendant to Decrypt Laptop:

A judge on Monday ordered a Colorado woman to decrypt her laptop computer so prosecutors can use the files against her in a criminal case.

The defendant, accused of bank fraud, had unsuccessfully argued that being forced to do so violates the Fifth Amendment’s protection against compelled self-incrimination.

“I conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer,” Colorado U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburnruled Monday. (.pdf)

The authorities seized the laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 with a court warrant while investigating financial fraud.

The case is being closely watched (.pdf) by civil rights groups, as the issue has never been squarely weighed in on by the Supreme Court.

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