Feb 242012
 
 February 24, 2012  Court, Surveillance, U.S.

David Kravets reports:

A federal appeals court is rejecting an appeal from a bank-fraud defendant who has been ordered to decrypt her laptop so its contents can be used in her criminal case.

Colorado federal authorities seized the encrypted Toshiba laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 with valid court warrants while investigating alleged mortgage fraud, and demanded she decrypt it by typing in her password. In January, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ordered the woman, who faces decades in prison if convicted, to decrypt the laptop by the end of February.

Her attorney appealed, hoping to win a reprieve based on the assertion that being forced to decrypt her laptop amounts to a breach of the woman’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, sided with the government’s contention that an appeal was not ripe — that she must be convicted or acquitted before the circuit court would entertain an appeal. Appellate courts usually frown on hearing appeals until after there’s been a verdict.

Read more on Threat Level.

So now what happens if she can’t decrypt it because of reported memory loss on her part?

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