TriggerFinger


5th Amendment right not to disclose password


Ars TechnicaThe Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination would be breached if two insider trading suspects were forced to turn over the passcodes of their locked mobile phones to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

This ruling sounds like it would trivially extend to computer passwords and passphrases for encryption keys used to protect messages or hard drives. It seems obvious that the 5th Amendment would block the police from forcing you to disclose your password to them, but I believe this is only the second such ruling in the US. (There may be others that did not reach the news I follow, or that I don't remember; but I am confident this is an unusual ruling).

It does appear to be limited to "personal thought processes" but excludes protection for "business records", meaning I presume that anything actually sent or received can be retrieved from the phone company.

This entry was published Mon Oct 19 09:28:19 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-10-19 09:28:19.0. [Tweet]

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