This whole “we can force you to give up your encrypted files w/o violating your rights” crap is old news

by wfgodbold

I mean, I complained about it on twitter three whole days ago (an eternity in internet time)! Where were the rest of you!

Seriously, though. The idea that the police can make you give them your password is ludicrous; if they have probable cause, they can get a warrant, just like for your house.

And just like with your house, if you don’t let them in, they’re perfectly capable of busting down the door.

It’s just that in this case, “busting down the door” is a wee bit more difficult.

I am curious, though. If you refuse to comply, can you be held in contempt and jailed forever? Or at some point does that violate your 8th amendment rights?

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2 Comments to “This whole “we can force you to give up your encrypted files w/o violating your rights” crap is old news”

  1. If you refuse to comply, can you be held in contempt and jailed forever?

    IIRC, there’s a limit on how long a judge can have you held for contempt, but I don’t know what that is or how it’s determined.

    However, it’s very likely that you could (and would) be convicted for obstruction. Depending on the state, and the crime under investigation, it’s possible that it could be a felony, though that’s usually reserved for obstruction “with force.” If you simply refuse to give or enter a password, I doubt it could be anything more than a misdemeanor. (IANAL)

    Of course, if you’re smart, you would have any encrypted incriminating data set up so that a certain number of failed attempts in a certain amount of time would either permanently lock or destroy the files.

    • I like idea in the comments at Say Uncle; make your password itself incriminating, and you can’t give it up without incriminating yourself.

      Of course, the Man has no way of knowing until after they’ve made you give up your info, so it would only work after the fact.

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