Monday, March 2, 2009

5th Amendment and compy passwords

From Ars:

"The privilege against self-incrimination, a federal court has ruled, does not bar prosecutors from forcing a defendant in a child pornography case to decrypt his laptop hard drive—reversing a 2007 decision that found the demand to enter a password equivalent to compelled testimony."

Full article.



Gus said...

You've incriminated yourself by using "compy" as an abbreviation for "computer."

andrew said...

this is a tough one.

You can be compelled to turn over files due to a warrant, and those files can incriminate you.

If you have those files locked in a file cabinet, they'd normally expect you to turn over the key. If you said 'no' of course, they'd just pop the lock with a crowbar.

I would think it is legal to demand a physical key.

I think it is the same thing when demanding a password...or DNA for that manner. Why wouldn't turning over your DNA also qualify as 'self-incrimination'?

I also think self-incrimination only really applies to what you say on the stand, not what evidence and information that you must turn over when not under oath as a witness.

w1ndst0rm said...

Sigh, was I too obvious?

I don't have a dog in this fight; I was looking to you two for entertainment.

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