DOJ: We Can Force You to Decrypt That Laptop

Monday Jul 11th 2011 by Staff

A new court case will test whether the government can legally force someone to give over the password required to decrypt computer files.

Cnet: The prosecution of a Colorado woman accused in a mortgage scam case will test the idea of whether the government can force someone to give up the password protecting encrypted files. The woman's attorney says that such an action would violate the 5th Amendment's protection against self incrimination (the "right to remain silent"). However, the Department of Justice says that it has the right to examine the contents of the laptop as part of its responsibility to assemble evidence in the case.

Previous rulings in similar cases are mixed. The Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue.

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