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If a judge orders you to decrypt the only existing copies of incriminating files, are your constitutional rights against compelled self-incrimination being violated?
That’s the provocative question being raised as a Wisconsin man faces a deadline today either to give up his encryption keys or risk indefinite imprisonment without a trial. The defendant’s attorney, Robin Shellow of Milwaukee, said it’s “one of the most important constitutional issues of the wired era.”
The magistrate in the case stepped aside Monday after Shellow argued that only U.S. district court judges, not magistrates, have the legal power to issue decryption orders. As of now, the new judge in the case has not decided whether to uphold the magistrate’s order.
U.S. Magistrate William Callahan Jr. initially said the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination protected Feldman from having to unlock his drives.
But last month, prosecutors convinced Callahan to change his mind. Among other reasons, the authorities were able, on their own, to decrypt one drive from Feldman’s “storage system” and discovered more than 700,000 files, some of “which constitute child pornography,” the magistrate said.
Originally posted by InTheFlesh1980
Saw this in the news... tough call. I hate the child porn pervert but I love the freedoms defined by our laws (the implementation of which is debatable),
I'd have to side with the 5th Amendment. If he's guilty, prosecutors please find something else (anything) other than forcing him to decrypt his drives and self-incriminate.
What a screwed-up world we live in.
Originally posted by Aleister
reply to post by smyleegrl
Of course the police have a right to try to get into the files, but asking him to open them for them and, when he refuses, continuing to pressure him, shows their disregard for U.S. constitutional protections.
A teenage takeaway worker has been jailed for four months for refusing to give child protection police the password to his computer.
Oliver Drage was originally arrested in May last year by a team of officers from Blackpool tackling child sexual exploitation.
The 19-year-old's computer was seized but officers could not access material stored on it as it was protected by a sophisticated 50-character encryption password.
Originally posted by smyleegrl
What if the only evidence lies in these encrypted files? Maybe I'm missing something, but why can't a search warrant include encrypted files?