In what was thought to be a precedent setting case in the digital age, a federal judge ruled Monday that a woman arrested in a mortgage scam must give authorities access to her encrypted hard drive. The defendant, Ramona Fricosu, argued that exposing the contents of the hard drive by entering her password and decrypting the files would violate her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. The judge in the case, which was heard in U.S. District Count in Denver (Colo.), found that was not the situation and gave Fricosu until Feb. 21 to produce an unencrypted hard drive. “I find and conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer, ” wrote U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn. The laptop in question, Blackburn said, more likely than not belonged to and was used by Fricosu. The one piece of damning evidence was a jailhouse conversation Fricosu had with her ex-husband, Scott Whatcott, who also was arrested in the case. Blackburn’s ruling included a transcript of the conversation, which he said proved Fricosu owned and had access to the computer. Blackburn also noted that the defendant had been granted immunity… Read full this story
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