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Court To Decide on Forcing Unencryption

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

January 6, 2012

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn is expected to rule soon on whether a defendant will be required to give up her encryption password, thereby allowing authorities access to her laptop, reports Wired. The defendant says the request violates her Fifth Amendment right against forced self-incrimination, and digital rights groups agree, saying, "it might reveal she had control over the laptop and the data there." But prosecutors say the government knows the defendant had control of the computer, and neglecting to force unencryption would amount "to a concession to her and potential criminals...that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers...and thus make their prosecution impossible."
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