The Federal Appeals Court made a recent decision that helps protect your computer information even from a Federal Grand Jury subpoena based on good reason to suspect that your computer has been used for criminal activities. Although the case which is now the law in Pinellas, Clearwater and Tampa Bay involved computer crimes where the grand jury was told by law enforcement that child pornography was on a computer, the decision protects any encrypted information on a computer. If you’ve been charged with any computer crime, fraud or identity theft contact a Clearwater Criminal Law Attorney as soon as possible.
A computer could harbor significant information about crime other than specific computer crimes; for example, an accounting program used for a business under a fraud investigation or an analysis of drug sales for dealer or the office computer in a medical fraud case. The decision means that if a computer is successfully encrypted by the Defendant the Government can not gain password information thru a grand jury subpoena. Of course, the Government will still have the hard drive of the computer and can still have its experts attempt to break the encryption which if successful will be used at trial against a Defendant unless you hire a Computer Crime Criminal Lawyer.
This is a well thought through opinion on whether production and decryption constitutes “testimony,” and if so then is protected under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (remember that yellowing old piece of paper up in Washington). The legal analysis clears an area of law that has at times appeared murky by finding that this testimony of a password can not be compelled from the Defendant.
|An abacus from China, The Ming Dynasty|