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Thread: US's fifth amendment: How far does it go?

  1. #1

    Default US's fifth amendment: How far does it go?

    I was reading a book on computer forensics (had it laying around, curiosity ftw) and they were discussing encryption and legal issues around forcing someone to decrypt and thus incriminate themselves. They brought up United States v. Boucher. So, my question for you, ADISC, is how far do your fifth amendment rights go?

    The border security agents said they saw CP on the guy's computer, but they couldn't give sufficient evidence that it was actually there except what they saw and an encrypted drive. If it was something different like a bomb making guide (without targets or any other information), would you have the same reaction? Illegal government documents about something hugely harmful to said government?

    My take on this is that I agree with Boucher's attorney; it is a violation of the fifth amendment to force someone to give incriminating evidence against themselves. You shouldn't be able to force someone to decrypt their stuff to incriminate themselves. What's your opinion? Canadia peoples: Go ahead and answer as well.

  2. #2

    Default called it Canadia XD
    sorry... I only find that funny because my girlfriend and I make that mistake all of the time.
    anyway, that definitely violates the fifth amendment... but sadly, there's little that can be done about it. the country completely goes against what it stands for. it's only human to contradict oneself.

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    So if I throw a paper in a fireplace I might be required to pull it out and endanger myself if ordered by a Judge?

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    Canadia... i see how it is you silly yankiedoodle. :<

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    Canadia was on purpose. It's fun to make fun of America's hat.

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    The Fifth Amendment is absolute. The state cannot compel someone to incriminate themselves. However, that generally only applies to statements. A person cannot keep the police out of their house if the police have a warrant to search simply because there is incriminating evidence in the house. I think the real question in this case is more related to the Fourth Amendment, namely, did the statement of an ICE officer that he saw incriminating evidence on the laptop constitute probable cause? Since illegal images were subsequently found on the encrypted volume, I think the ICE officer probably did. Sworn statements by law enforcement officers are generally held to be probable cause for search warrants.

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