DOJ: We can force you to decrypt that laptop

According to this article by Cnet, an intriguing precedent is about to be set.  There is a chance that a Colorado woman will be forced to decrypt her harddrive (via court order) to allow prosecuters access to the files stored on her computer.  At first glance, this might seem like a case of "Well if she had nothing to hide, why won't she just show them?"  However, after a little more thought put into it, one might realize that she is being asked to aid prosecuters in incriminating herself.  I personally feel that there is a slippery slope between this action and forcing individuals to testify against themselves under court order. 

The request was sent to Washington, to the Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who then sent a message to the U.S. Attorney for Colorado stating "I hereby approve your request." 

The quote below (from Cnet) almost perfectly describes my feelings toward this topic.

"Decrypting the data on the laptop can be, in and of itself, a testimonial act--revealing control over a computer and the files on it," said EFF Senior staff attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Ordering the defendant to enter an encryption password puts her in the situation the Fifth Amendment was designed to prevent: having to choose between incriminating herself, lying under oath, or risking contempt of court."

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20078312-281/doj-we-can-force-you-to-decrypt-that-laptop/#ixzz1RvANwJSd


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