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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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the fifth HAH!
By Iketh on 1/25/2012 9:48:05 AM , Rating: 2
Her claiming the fifth on her laptop is the exact same as if she told the officers arriving at her house, "Sorry, you cannot enter. I plead the fifth."

It is a good try though, I'll admit.

RE: the fifth HAH!
By reddog007 on 1/25/2012 10:51:04 AM , Rating: 2
Might want to get updated on how the law works?

RE: the fifth HAH!
By Iketh on 1/25/2012 2:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
Do you know what a warrant is?

RE: the fifth HAH!
By YashBudini on 1/25/2012 3:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
A valid warrant is how they obtained the laptop in the first place. IE they already have the evidence.

RE: the fifth HAH!
By Iketh on 1/27/2012 12:41:14 AM , Rating: 2
What does that have anything to do with this thread?

RE: the fifth HAH!
By Camikazi on 1/25/2012 3:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
The warrant forced her to give up her laptop, it says nothing about her opening it and showing them what's inside, that is their job to do.

RE: the fifth HAH!
By Iketh on 1/27/2012 12:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
What's the point of obtaining the laptop if it's impossible to get inside it? Again read my original post.

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