Uncle Sam Can Demand You Decrypt Laptop

A Colorado woman argued that surrendering her full-disk encryption password would violate her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but a judge disagreed.

A judge has ruled that a Colorado woman accused by federal authorities of real estate fraud must surrender a copy of her laptop’s hard drive to prosecutors, even though the drive is protected with full-disk encryption software.

FBI agents had seized three desktops and three laptops during a search of the house where Fricosu was living with her mother and two children. Only one of the computers, a Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop, was protected by full-disk encryption, and agents couldn’t access its contents. Accordingly, prosecutors sought a warrant to search the computer, based on evidence that Fricosu owned it.

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