Sextortion suspect must unlock her seized iPhone, judge rules
A Miami-Dade county judge has ruled that two defendants in a sextortion case must provide police with the passwords to their respective iPhones so authorities can unlock the devices and execute a search warrant.
Whether or not courts can force individuals to give up passwords to their locked computers or phones is not a settled matter. In essence, the question it boils down to is: "Is giving up a password testimonial, and therefore in violation of the Fifth Amendment? Or is it more like being asked to give up a key to a safety deposit box?"***** Moderator's Note *****
The key to a safe-deposit box isn't anywhere near as secure as a4096-bit cipher that the NSA can't break in any reasonable amount of time (or won't admit they can crack, which has the same result) - if a suspect won't hand over the key, a judge can order a bank to drill the lock, and the courts see whatever was in the box.
However, if a suspect has a lock that can't be drilled, i.e., an encryption protected smart phone, then the courts have to try to coerce them into surrendering the key. If the suspect says "No", we're into new and uncharted waters. The Clipper chip died stillborn, so the remaining options are to force manufacturers to put hidden backdoors into their algorithms, or to start reminding the peasants of their lowly status in the new world order.
It remains to be seen if our newly-minted SCOTUS will hold that indefinite jail terms and/or torture are really what the founding fathers intended all along.
Bill Horne Moderator