US 11 Circ: 5th Am. & passphrase demands

Robert J. Hansen rjh at
Fri Feb 24 05:46:40 CET 2012

The United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one small step
away from the United States Supreme Court, has issued a decision in
connection to a grand jury's subpoena requiring the appellant to produce
unencrypted copies of six hard drives.

The appellant attempted to invoke his rights under the Fifth Amendment,
prohibiting anyone from being compelled to testify against themselves in
any United States proceeding.

The court sided with the appellant, and held that he could not be
compelled to produce decrypted data for the government.

Now, this isn't quite a black-and-white issue.  This is not going to
establish new nationwide policy on the matter.  Don't generalize and
think that just because this one case went this way, all similar cases
will in the future.  That said, it's definitely good news for United
States citizens, nationals and residents who use cryptography!

The original decision can be found at:

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