Colorado Woman Ordered to Decrypt Laptop in Bank Fraud Case
January 24, 2012 9:40 AM
comment(s) - last by
Colorado U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn said the Fifth Amendment does not protect her from the order
A Colorado woman was told to decrypt her laptop in court on Monday in order to aid prosecutors in her bank fraud case.
Ramona Fricosu, the defendant who was accused of bank fraud in 2010, had her laptop seized by authorities during the investigation. However, authorities stumbled upon a big problem while attempting to search her hard drive --
it was encrypted
Full disk encryption, which prevents unauthorized access to data storage, is an option found in operating systems like Mac OS and Windows. The encryption can take decades to break, and if authorities tried to crack it, it could damage the computer.
That's why Colorado U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ordered that Fricosu decrypt her hard drive and return it to the court so prosecutors can use her files against her in the bank fraud case.
Fricosu used the Fifth Amendment to protect herself. She argued that the Fifth Amendment protects her from compelled self-incrimination, and that the judge's order violates this. However, Blackburn didn't agree.
"I conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of unencrypted contents of the
Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop
computer," said Blackburn.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Davies backed Blackburn's order, saying that allowing encrypted content to defeat authorities would send the wrong message to other criminals. In her words exactly, it would be a "concession to her [Fricosu] and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible."
Blackburn has ordered Fricosu to return the
unencrypted hard drive
by February 21. Civil rights groups are keeping a close eye on the case.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: I'm sorry...
1/24/2012 12:32:40 PM
If it isn't a feature now maybe it should be in light of some of the MPAA/RIAA lawsuits. Although don't hear too much about them now that they are on to the much bigger "shutdown the internet" SOPA.
RE: I'm sorry...
1/24/2012 5:25:44 PM
I do not know if it is a feature of any off the shelf apps currently available. However, it is a simple enough task to implement with some simple scripts and dedicated user account just for wiping that sensitive data when the judge demands it.
Since none of this applies to me I will offer a scenario. I would suggest making a secondary account on the device. Call it JIC (just in case) for example and create start-up scripts to silently run secure wipes of all the data you want destroyed. Then have it delete the JIC user and re-authenticate to your regular user. Run it on a SSD drive to help mask drive activity and speed up the process.
This method would not be immune from discovery, but if you deploy it properly you can give the impression that you have nothing to hide and avoid detailed inspection and likely avoid detection.
More social engineering then technical design.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
Study: SSDs Are Resistant to Current Data Erasing Techniques
February 22, 2011, 10:15 AM
Toshiba Self-Encryption Hard Drive Technology Debuts
April 16, 2009, 9:30 AM
Hard Drive Makers Settle on Single Encryption Standard
January 29, 2009, 10:10 AM
Report: Samsung Galaxy S5 Sales Have Come in 40% Below Projections
November 24, 2014, 6:58 AM
Quick Note: Google Chromebooks Now Coming with 1TB of Google Drive Space
November 21, 2014, 1:20 PM
Xiaomi Aims to be #1 Smartphone OEM Within 10 Years, Apple Urges Caution
November 21, 2014, 9:33 AM
Quick Note: Samsung's Request to Dismiss Microsoft Lawsuit is Rejected
November 20, 2014, 12:53 PM
Amazon Offers "The Washington Post" Free for Six Months to Kindle Fire Owners
November 20, 2014, 7:41 AM
Apple Watch Screen Resolution, App Limitations are Laid Bare by Developer Kit
November 19, 2014, 11:31 PM
Most Popular Articles
Wal-Mart: Miss Thanksgiving, Get Xbox One + Master Chief Collection for $299
November 17, 2014, 9:40 PM
Sweden Mulls Labelling "Sexist" Video Games in the Wake of Gamergate
November 17, 2014, 2:00 PM
Nokia Lumia 635 LTE Windows Phone is Only $40 at Best Buy on Black Friday
November 18, 2014, 11:59 AM
It's Official: Twitter is Profitable "Junk"
November 16, 2014, 10:45 PM
Apple Releases OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite, iOS 8.1.1 Updates
November 17, 2014, 1:43 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information