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April 11, 2012

11th Circuit on Fifth Amendment & Encryption

Keys_for_sale400Joshua Engel looks at last month's decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, United States v. John Doe, for guidance on whether Fifth Amendment privilege guards against the disclosure of passwords and encryption keys by witnesses and suspects.

The 11th Circuit concluded the Fifth Amendment does apply because providing a key or password amounts to an admission the suspect possessed or could access the information in question — child pornography in this case — which amounts to self-incrimination.

Engel identifies two competing doctrines in play in deciding whether Fifth Amendment protections apply, the "act of production" doctrine and the "foregone conlusion" doctrine.

Read the full LTN article, "Can the Government Force the Surrender of Encryption Keys?"

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