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 Police Circumventing Cellphone Encryption By 'Mugging' Suspects While Their Phones Are Unlocked
- Encryption Survey Indicates Law Enforcement Feels It's Behind The Tech Curve; Is Willing To Create Backdoors To Catch Up
- Manhattan DA Cy Vance Wraps Up 2016 With Another Call For Gov't-Mandated Encryption Backdoors
- San Francisco MTA Forced To Give Free Rides After Network Infected With Ransomware
- More Thoughts On Trump's Technology And Innovation Policies -- It All Goes Back To Freedom Of Speech