by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 17th 2007 7:05am
In an interesting case up in Vermont, a federal judge has ruled that someone accused of a crime cannot be forced to reveal his or her encryption key, as it would be a violation of the Constitution's 5th Amendment, saying that an individual cannot be forced to self-incriminate. In an age where encryption is becoming increasingly popular, expect to see other cases of this nature. It seems likely that a case like this one (if not this one itself) will eventually wind up before the Supreme Court to determine whether or not someone can be forced to give up his own encryption key. Where it gets tricky is the question of whether or not the key itself incriminates the person. As the article notes, a person can be forced to give up a key to a safe that contains incriminating evidence, which many say is analogous to this situation. In the meantime, though, we've already seen cases where people are presumed guilty just because their computers have encryption software installed -- so, it may not matter whether or not the key is provided when the presence of PGP alone is viewed as incriminating.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- UK Home Secretary: I Need People Who Understand The Necessary Hashtags To Censor Bad People Online
- Encryption Workarounds Paper Shows Why 'Going Dark' Is Not A Problem, And In Fact Is As Old As Humanity Itself
- Despite Stream Of Leaks Exposing Tremendous Gov't Surveillance Capabilities, James Comey Still Complaining About 'Going Dark'
- CIA Leak Shows Mobile Phones Vulnerable, Not Encryption
- The Fifth Amendment Vs. Indefinite Jailing: Court Still No Closer To Deciding On Compelled Decryption