DOJ Cracks Suspect's Hard Drives, Quickly Drops Request To Force Him To Decrypt

from the staying-far-away-from-a-precedent dept

We've been covering the DOJ's case against Jeffrey Feldman, in which they were trying to force him to decrypt some hard drives he had in order to get evidence to be used against him. This is a tricky area of law, because some courts have said that the 5th Amendment protects against being forced to decrypt evidence that can be used against you, while others have gone the other way. In this case, judges went back and forth, and the fight was still being fought.

However, it appears the feds likely cracked Feldman's password for his hard drives, and wasted little time in asking the court to dismiss the application to compel Feldman to decrypt. Basically, they point out that they don't need it any more, because "the government has now successfully decrypted two of Feldman's hard drives," providing it with more than enough evidence to put him in jail for a long, long time. Of course, this undoubtedly makes the DOJ fairly happy, because the last thing it wants right now is a higher court precedent on the books saying that someone can't be compelled to decrypt such data. I'm sure another case will come along to take on this issue before too long, but for now, the government is able to just keep the decks clear of binding precedent.
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Filed Under: 5th amendment, doj, encryption, jeffrey feldman

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  1. icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), 30 Aug 2013 @ 6:36pm

    decryption or description?

    "Hey, we decrypted his hard drive and learned that he was the mastermind behind 9/11, kidnapped the Lindbergh baby and spit on the sidewalk in Midland, Texas in 1998! Crucify him!"

    This surveillance state will end very badly for everyone. And the worst part, it's like a runaway train that nobody wants except a handful of bureaucrats and government contractors. It's that last that's most worrisome, because remember, the companies that get contracts from the government to spy on us, also have other private parties for clients. If they find something while working for the government that can really help their private clients, how long you think that "firewall" is going to last? Maybe on their way to looking for terrorists, they happen to come across the fact that approximately 2 million women are doing internet searches on "breast cancer treatments". How long before that information ends up in the hands of prospective employers looking to make sure future employees don't make a lot of claims on health insurance?

    I'm optimistic, though, at the number of people from all over the political spectrum who are outraged and furious about this immoral spying. There are going to be some interesting crises when the people running the Surveillance State come up against voters who don't want to live under their noses. How long do you think your "Constitution" is going to keep our society intact when they decide elections aren't convenient. Or good for business.

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