Friday, February 24, 2012

Fifth Amendment Protects Suspects from Having to Decrypt Hard Drives

WSJ: "Fifth Amendment Protects Suspects from Having to Decrypt Hard Drives"

From the article:
The Fifth Amendment privilege isn't triggered when the government merely compels some physical act, like unlocking a safe-deposit box, the court said. But the amendment protects testimony in which a person is forced to use "the contents of his own mind" to state a fact.

"We conclude that the decryption and production would be tantamount to testimony by Doe of his knowledge of the existence and location of potentially incriminating files; of his possession, control, and access to the encrypted portions of the drives; and of his capability to decrypt the files," wrote Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat...
On the other hand, we have this story from a similar Colorado case: "Ruling Stands: Defendant Must Decrypt Laptop"