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Judge Rules Man Cannot Be Forced To Decrypt HD
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 08:17:46 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Bob Porter" <bobporter () theideasgroup com>
Date: August 19, 2008 9:30:08 PM EDT
To: <dave () farber net>
Subject: Judge Rules Man Cannot Be Forced To Decrypt HD

Judge Rules Man Cannot Be Forced To Decrypt HD

In Vermont, US Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier has ruled that forcing someone to divulge the password to decrypt their hard drive violates the 5th
Amendment. Border guards testify that they saw child pornography on the
defendant's laptop when the PC was on, but they made the mistake of turning it off and were unable to access it again because the drive was protected by PGP. Although prosecutors offered many ways to get around the 5th Amendment protections, the Judge would have none of that and quashed the grand jury subpoena requesting the defendant's PGP passphrase. A conviction is still likely because prosecutors have the testimony of the two border guards who
saw the drive while it was open."

Full Story:

The article stresses the potential importance of this ruling (which was
issued last November but went unnoticed until now): "Especially if this
ruling is appealed, US v. Boucher could become a landmark case. The question
of whether a criminal defendant can be legally compelled to cough up his
encryption passphrase remains an unsettled one, with law review articles for
the last decade arguing the merits of either approach."

Bob Porter
bobporter () theideasgroup com
The Ideas Group
51 E Campbell Ave. Suite 101-I
Campbell, CA 95008


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