Feds Decrypt Defendant’s Laptop Without Her Permission

Feds Decrypt Defendant’s Laptop Without Her Permission
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Remember the defendant in that fraud case who claimed to have forgotten the password for her encrypted laptop? Well, the Feds have gone ahead and cracked it right open, without her permission.

The move ends what has been a lengthy legal battle, and makes a judge’s order that the defendant unlock the laptop herself somewhat of a moot point, reports Wired’s Threat Level.

The laptop was originally seized from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 while authorities were investigating alleged mortgage fraud. The battle to get Fricosu to provide the password for the laptop has been a long, hard slog, as current legislation has never faced this problem in the past.

According to Fricosu’s attorney, authorities “must have used or found successful one of the passwords the co-defendant provided them”. He added that a copy of the information discovered on the drive was delivered to him on Tuesday.

The move flies in the face of a decision by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which stated that demanding the password for an encrypted hard drive is akin to asking for the combination to a safe: off limits and the equivalent of forcing testimony. [Threat Level]

Image: Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock