1993-01-21 - Re: public servant privacy

Header Data

From: thug@phantom.com (Murdering Thug)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: d495fa980680eaf3a75b6501ba7e296ddfc89a373f172b4e481cad34a120040d
Message ID: <m0nFB8V-000jpMC@phantom.com>
Reply To: <9301211631.tn66179@aol.com>
UTC Datetime: 1993-01-21 23:20:09 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 21 Jan 93 15:20:09 PST

Raw message

From: thug@phantom.com (Murdering Thug)
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 93 15:20:09 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: public servant privacy
In-Reply-To: <9301211631.tn66179@aol.com>
Message-ID: <m0nFB8V-000jpMC@phantom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

deltorto@aol.com writes:

> Yes, private citizens should not be subject to the same sorts of
> investigations unless there is direct evidence of criminal intent or activity
> in which case there should be a search warrant and notification of intent to
> search.
> Tim May notes (appropriately) that:
> >>Strong crypto means even Ollie North can fully protect his records.
> Yes, but shouldn't he be _required_ to "open" his files if he is under
> criminal investigation just like a drug-dealer who's required to open the
> locked trunk of his car?

Well, there are really two conflicting issues here:

1) The Fifth Amendment - the right not to testify against yourself,
   hence the Miranda warning when you're arrested. You can claim that
   being forced to decrypt your hard disk by the cops violates your
   Fifth Amendment rights, and refuse to decrypt it.

2) Obstruction of Justice - by not handing over the key to your hard disk,
   you may be obstructing an investigation.  By not decrypting your
   hard disk under court order, you maybe be held in contempt of court.

Number 2 may work for law enforcement if they are investigation a third
party and ask to see your hard disk in order to help their investigation.
A good example is an Internet site that is being used as a telnet launch-pad
by some hacker. If that site refuses to cooperate and keeps their files
encrypted, the police/court may charge you with obstruction of justice or
contempt of court.  HOWEVER, if you feel that by decrypting these files,
you would be providing testimony/evidence against yourself, you can plead
the 5th, and tell them to go screw themselves.