[cryptography] Constitutional Showdown Voided as Feds Decrypt Laptop

James S. Tyre jstyre at jstyre.com
Wed Feb 29 17:53:54 EST 2012

(This is the case in Colorado, not the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals case which has been
much discussed of late.)


Constitutional Showdown Voided as Feds Decrypt Laptop

    By David Kravets
    Email Author
    February 29, 2012 | 
    5:17 pm

Colorado federal authorities have decrypted a laptop seized from a bank-fraud defendant,
mooting a judge's order that the defendant unlock the hard drive so the government could
use its contents as evidence against her.

The development ends a contentious legal showdown over whether forcing a defendant to
decrypt a laptop is a breach of the 5th Amendment right against compelled self

The authorities seized the encrypted Toshiba laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010
with valid court warrants while investigating alleged mortgage fraud, and demanded she
decrypt it. Colorado U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ordered the woman in January to
decrypt the laptop by the end of February. The judge refused to stay his decision to allow
Fricosu time to appeal.

"They must have used or found successful one of the passwords the co-defendant provided
them," Fricosu's attorney, Philip Dubois, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.


James S. Tyre
Law Offices of James S. Tyre
10736 Jefferson Blvd., #512
Culver City, CA 90230-4969
jstyre at jstyre.com
Policy Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation

More information about the cryptography mailing list