Can the Government Compel Your Client to Decrypt a Hard Drive?

The Fourth  & Fifth Amendments and technology continue to collide as law enforcement seeks to compel defendants to unencrypt their computer harddrives.  Can they force your client to hand over the password?key

We discussed a similar issue in May about whether, under the Fourth Amendment, the Government could inspect the contents of your laptop, tablet, phone or camera when you cross the border.

Of course, do not expect the answer to be set in stone in your jurisdiction.  The answer(s) are in flux.  Much of it depends on how your client responds to questioning.

The first issue is whether production of  a password is compelled testimony or merely a ministerial act like submitting to fingerprints, blood tests, or a key.

The second issue turns on your client.  In two cases, Boucher and Fricosu, clients sunk their own ship.  In a Florida case, In Re Grand Jury Subpoena Dated March 25, 2011, the defendant did better.

The article, “Can the Government Compel Your Client to Decrypt a Hard Drive” is in the July-August 2013 edition of the Palm Beach Bar Bulletin.

Privacy
Privacy Settings for Zoom Video and Alexa (Palm Beach Bar Association)

While people are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is wise to ensure that privacy settings on Zoom and Alexa (and all your devices and applications) are up-to-date. This guide will assist you in correctly securing your Zoom video conferences and Amazon Alexa. Quick note: while this article was …

iOS
Protect the Privacy of Your iOS 13 Device (Palm Beach Bar March 2020)

Are you leaking data and revealing your privacy through your iPhone or iPad? In the March 2020 Palm Beach Bar Bulletin, the article, “Protect the Privacy of Your iOS 13 Device,” explains how to ensure you are not unknowingly being tracked, heard, recorded, or located. Written from the perspective of …

4th Amendment
Florida Police Can (1) Search Your Car After Smelling Marijuana and (2) Cut a Hole in Your Underwear to Find Drugs (Jevin Hilliard v. Florida)

Florida drivers (and those in the car) should be aware that it is fairly well-settled that police have probable cause to search a car and occupants during a traffic stop based on “the faint odor of cannabis.” But how far can the search go? We find out in Jevin Hilliard …