When our forefathers were amending the constitution for the fifth time, they probably didn’t have TrueCrypt-locked hard drives in mind. However, a ruling from the 11th Circuit Appeals Court has upheld the right of an anonymous testifier to not forcibly decrypt their data. The case relates to a Jon Doe giving evidence in exchange for immunity. The protection afforded to them under this case wouldn’t extend to any other incriminating data that might be found, and as such Doe felt this could lead to violation of the fifth amendment. The validity of the prosecution’s demands for the data decryption lies in what they already know, and how they knew it — to prevent acting on hopeful hunches. The prosecutors were unable to demonstrate any knowledge of the data in question, leading the 11th Circuit to deem the request unlawful, adding that the immunity should have extended beyond just the current case. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this part of the constitution under the digital spotlight, and we’re betting it won’t be the last, either.
Court upholds Fifth Amendment, prevents forced decryption of data originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 26 Feb 2012 07:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.