In a court of law, you have the right to remain silent rather than incriminate yourself. Thanks to a real estate fraud case being tried in a Colorado court right now, you may also have the right to refuse to open your emails for inspection. Ramona Fricosu, who is stands accused of participating in a mortgage scam, is currently fighting a demand from prosecutors that she turn over her passphrase or provide a plain text version of data held on an encrypted laptop. Civil liberties lawyers argue that this order is in breach of Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination because the order “effectively forces Fricosu to become a witness against herself”. Fricosu is accused, among other things, of falsifying court documents. These documents are believed to be housed on the laptop. The prosecution argues that not only is the information relevant to this specific case, but failure to compel Fricosu to turn over the information essentially will give many criminals and hackers something of a free pass if they know that illegal documents and goods can be stored “with impunity as long as they are encrypted.”
Do you think that Fricosu should be forced to provide the requested passphrase?
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