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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.

Sources: Wired, Fox News



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By EricMartello on 1/24/2012 7:36:48 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ramona Fricosu, the defendant who was accused of bank fraud in 2010


Ok so she was accused of a crime, but not convicted of said crime.

quote:
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.


No, it sends a message to authorities that people are not criminals unless you can PROVE that they are, and that these people have no obligation to assist authorities in proving the criminal ALLEGATIONS made against them.

It looks to me like they cannot prove their allegations of fraud and the defendant's constitutional right is simply getting in their way. That amendment in place to prevent people who have let their "authority" send them on a power trip.

quote:
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."


So she's a potential criminal and not a potential wrongly accused victim of an out-of-control government that has run amok? Yeah yeah, slippery slope BS does not add any validity to this obvious violation of constitutional rights.

I like how there are so many presumptions of guilt in place by these so-called "unbiased authorities"...but if this is a criminal case, I'm pretty sure it's innocent until PROVEN guilty.

How about law enforcement stops picking on small-time crooks and starts enforcing these laws unilaterally. Big banks and the people working for them have been committing fraud on a MASSIVE scale but not a single criminal allegation has been brought against them. Both before and during this economic crash we've been going through for the past few years, banks have been getting away with crimes unchecked.

Let's criminally prosecute any authorities who fail to do their duty and apply the law to ALL who have violated it.




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