US v. Fricosu

EFF urged a federal district court in Colorado to block the government's attempt to force a woman to enter a password into an encrypted laptop, arguing that it would violate her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

A defendant in this case, Ramona Fricosu, is accused of fraudulent real estate transactions. During the investigation, the government seized an encrypted laptop from the home she shares with her family, and then asked the court to compel Fricosu to type the password into the computer or turn over a decrypted version of her data.  The government offered Fricosu some limited immunity, but did not give adequate guarantees that it won't use the information on the computer against her.

EFF argued in an amicus brief in July 2011 that the demand is contrary to the Constitution, forcing Fricosu to become a witness against herself. A court ruled in January 2012 that she could be forced to turn over a decrypted version of the information on the laptop.

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Backdoors have been discovered in Arris cable modems. This is why we need a security research exemption to the DMCA.

Nov 27 @ 2:15pm

Censorship powers, data retention, and vague hacking crimes: Pakistan's terrible cybercrime bill has it all:

Nov 25 @ 5:11pm

While Bangladesh blocks social messaging apps, locals are turning to Tor and Twitter:

Nov 25 @ 3:50pm
JavaScript license information