ShutterstockA federal judge refused to compel a Wisconsin suspect to decrypt the contents of several hard drives because doing so would violate the man’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Judge William Callahan‘s ruling ultimately labeled the issue a “close call.”

Courts have wrestled with how to apply the Fifth Amendment to encrypted hard drives for several years. According to past rulings, forcing a defendant to decrypt a hard drive isn’t necessarily self-incriminating, but forcing a defendant to decrypt a hard drive can amount to self-incrimination if the government can’t otherwise show that the defendant has the password for the drive. In that case, forced decryption amounts to a forced confession that the defendant owns the drive.

Fifth Amendment Shields Child Porn Suspect from Decrypting Hard Drives | DFI News.

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