Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Judge orders woman to give up password to hard drive encryption

Thinking that encrypting your hard drive will keep you safe in a time of desperation is not really the case anymore. Whether you are a criminal, or trying to keep the next big thing secret, hard drive encryption may no longer exist. A Federal judge rules we have no right to the Fifth Amendment per his discretion. This is almost laughable. If I was Ramona Fricosu, I would keep my mouth shut and allow my lawyers to handle all of this. Seems as if our rights under our great Constitution mean absolutely nothing to federal judges in the new century. It's a sad time in America. I would be willing to bet our Forefathers are rolling over in their graves. Can someone please tell me where the America I grew up in disappeared too? Don't get me wrong, I am a patriot, and I love this country, but times they are a changing.


In the future, your hard drive may not be your hard drive: A federal judge has ruled that a Colorado woman, charged in a mortgage scam case, must turn over the password needed to decrypt her hard drive so that police can view the files on it.

Ramona Fricosu was given until Feb. 21 to comply with the order by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn. The judge said Fricosu's defense — the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination — did not apply in the case, in which she is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. "I find and conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer," the judge said in his ruling Tuesday, as reported by CNET.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties organization that filed an amicus brief on Fricosu's behalf, had argued that Fricosu should not be compelled to give up her password because it would violate her Fifth Amendment right, and there was no immunity "offered for loss of this protection."


But the U.S. Attorney's Office said in court documents that if Fricosuwasn't ordered to unlock her computer, it would result in a "concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.”

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