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Media Alert: EFF Argues Against Forced Unlocking of Phone in Indiana Supreme Court

Justices to Consider Fifth Amendment Right Against Self-Incrimination
PRESS RELEASE
April 16, 2019

Media Alert: EFF Argues Against Forced Unlocking of Phone in Indiana Supreme Court

Wabash, IN—At 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 18, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will argue to the Indiana Supreme Court that police cannot force a criminal suspect to turn over a passcode or otherwise decrypt her cell phone. The case is Katelin Seo v. State of Indiana.

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states that people cannot be forced to incriminate themselves, and it’s well settled that this privilege against self-incrimination covers compelled “testimonial” communications, including physical acts. However, courts have split over how to apply the Fifth Amendment to compelled decryption of encrypted devices.

Along with the ACLU, EFF responded to an open invitation from the Indiana Supreme Court to file an amicus brief in this important case. In Thursday’s hearing, EFF Senior Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker will explain that the forced unlocking of a device requires someone to disclose “the contents of his own mind.” That is analogous to written or oral testimony, and is therefore protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Thursday’s hearing is in Indiana’s Wabash County to give the public an opportunity to observe the work of the court. Over 750 students are scheduled to attend the argument. It will also be live-streamed.

WHAT:
Hearing in Katelin Seo v. State of Indiana

WHO:
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker

WHEN:
April 18, 10 a.m.

WHERE:
Ford Theater
Honeywell Center
275 W. Market Street
Wabash, Indiana 46992

For more information on attending the argument in Wabash:
https://www.in.gov/judiciary/supreme/2572.htm

For more on this case:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/02/highest-court-indiana-set-decide-if-you-can-be-forced-unlock-your-phone

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