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.

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