The Pesky 5th Amendment Problem

So apparently the punishment these for refusing to have your 5th amendment rights violated is indefinite imprisonment.

The suspect, a former Philadelphia Police Department sergeant, has not been charged with any child porn crimes. Instead, he remains indefinitely imprisoned in Philadelphia’s Federal Detention Center for refusing to unlock two drives encrypted with Apple’s FileVault software in a case that once again highlights the extent to which the authorities are going to crack encrypted devices. The man is to remain jailed “until such time that he fully complies” with the decryption order.

If it turns out this guy does have child porn, that’s of course a terrible thing. If law enforcement can find the evidence should go to prison. I in now way would want pedophiles out among the public. That being said, the burden of proof lies on law enforcement. Bear in mind, this suspect hasn’t even been charged with anything yet. The government can’t just go around citing the All Writs Act any time they find something technologically that is inconvenient to their investigations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has weighed in on the suspect’s plight, telling the circuit court in a friend-of-the-court brief (PDF) that “compelled decryption is inherently testimonial because it compels a suspect to use the contents of their mind to translate unintelligible evidence into a form that can be used against them. The Fifth Amendment provides an absolute privilege against such self-incriminating compelled decryption.”

[via ArsTechnica]

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Typed on AEKII