Password Disclosure in Court, Again....

Discussion in 'Technical' started by BTPost, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Password case reframes Fifth Amendment rights in context of digital world
    POSTED:*01/04/2012 01:00:00 AM MST
    UPDATED:*01/04/2012 08:18:20 AM MST
    By John Ingold
    The Denver Post

    Beyond the log-in screen of Ramona Fricosu's laptop computer lies what federal prosecutors say could be the key evidence in the bank-fraud case against her.
    There's only one problem: Prosecutors don't know her password.
    Thus, in an extraordinarily rare move, prosecutors in Denver are seeking a court order forcing Fricosu to unlock the computer so that they can obtain files they would use to try to convict her and her ex-husband.
    Civil-liberties groups nationwide have taken notice, saying the case tests the strength of rights against self-incrimination in a digital world. Prosecutors, meanwhile, say that allowing criminal defendants to beat search warrants simply by encrypting their computers would make it impossible to obtain evidence in an age when clues are more likely held within a hard drive than a file cabinet.
    Lawyers for the government and Fricosu argued the issue for a third time in the past six months Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn is expected to issue a ruling on the matter soon.

    "If the government wins in this case, and they are able to force her to decrypt the laptop ... it's the erosion of the Fifth Amendment," said Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed a brief in support of Fricosu. "It's seeing the Fifth Amendment not keeping up with advances in technology."

    Prosecutors predict a different kind of doom if they lose.
    "Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu," Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Davies wrote in a court filing, "amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers ... and thus make their prosecution impossible."

    Mortgage scam
    Fricosu and Scott Whatcott were indicted in 2010 on charges of bank fraud connected to what prosecutors say was a complex mortgage scam in the Colorado Springs area that targeted people facing foreclosure. In one court filing, prosecutors said the scheme defrauded banks of more than $900,000.
    The Fifth Amendment protects people from being forced to be a witness against themselves in a criminal proceeding. But its protections are not unlimited. The debate, then, is about which pre-decided scenario this new situation fits into. Is a computer password like a key to a lockbox, as the government argues? Or is it akin to a combination to a safe, as Fricosu's attorneys say?

    While the key is a physical thing and not protected by the Fifth Amendment, the Supreme Court has said, a combination — as the "expression of the contents of an individual's mind" — is.

    If Blackburn treats Fricosu's password like a key, "the meaning of 'search warrant' will be stretched and the rights to privacy and against self-incrimination shrunk," Fricosu's attorney, Philip Dubois, wrote in a court filing.
    Prosecutors, though, say they don't really care about the password itself. They say they will allow Fricosu to enter the password without their looking and won't use whatever inference could be made by Fricosu's ability to unlock the computer against her.
    "The government seeks the strongbox's contents," Davies wrote in a case filing, "not the ability to open the strongbox for itself."
  2. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Ah, it's time to begin the Rubber Hose Cryptanalysis ! Isn't that what the NDAA now allows. So sucks to be her.

    I actually hope that she prevails. Otherwise, it's just another God given right being taken away from the American people.

    Even if she has done something nefarious, her right against self incrimination trumps. I'd donate to her defense too. Because it is all of our rights that may be on trial here too.

    As for the rubber hose Cryptanalysis, it won't work on me. I seem to have hit that age that I start fergetting stuff.

  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Notice the ever present use of fear to sway public opinion
  4. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Yes, Unfortunately most of the sheeple will only see it as "We want to be able to make really bad people give up their right against self incrimination"

    Not thinking that someday in the future after it becomes common place and the 5th amendment is long since dead. It will be their grandchildren that will be swearing at their grandparents for being asleep at the wheel. Not only did they put them into servitude, they gave up their birthright "The constitution and the bill of rights" as they will just be the property of TPTB.

    TheEconomist, Dogfood, Cephus and 2 others like this.
  5. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    If this happens next they will try to make it legal to obtain a search warrant for our thoughts. It will be a crime to think about an illegal act, then they will make us tell them we had the thought.
    Gator 45/70, Dogfood and Cephus like this.
  6. Dogfood

    Dogfood Monkey+++

    Rights? Don't you people know your rights are a joke to people in power. It's like using a dog that is trained to find drugs or bombs to go around your car is that a search of your car most courts say no. I hope she wins cops. DAs and the courts can do their job without the people having to give up their rights.

  7. strunk

    strunk Monkey+

    You can give up your liberty by complying or you can give up your liberty by not complying.

    In the former case, you give up your liberty. In the latter case, it's usurped from you. The world frowns upon states keeping political prisoners.
  8. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Well lets see... if they don't give up the password they go to jail for contempt... if they do they and are convicted then they are a felon..... I think i'd opt for contempt....
    TheEconomist likes this.
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    At least they have to feed and house you while you're in the local GrayBar Hotel.... I do not remember my Encryption Passwords.... as they are only needed if the system NUKES itself upon startup, because someone was Messing around with it on Launch.... Then again, they would have to know where the Thumb-Drive was buried in the yard, or was it up on the mountain? Alzheimer's.... Oh Well...... ..... YMMV... I think.... was that right?
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    You mean you didn't find the scrap of paper that has all my passwords on it when you executed the search warrant? Hm. Maybe it was in the last trash barrel that Waste Management hauled off. Sheesh. Wrote them down so I would know where to look when I forgot them. Which I have.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  11. limpingbear

    limpingbear future cancer survivor....

    okay....they have had this computer for how long trying to get her password from her? All this time and court costs wasted when they could have had someone hack her computer......i know there are people/agencies on the .gov payroll just for that type of thing....
  12. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Since it doesn't sound like it's normal "login" password that's needed it would take a supercomputer years and years to brute force crack the password. All of our IT computers have "whole hard drive encryption", very strong. Only feature it doesn't have is the 'selfdestruct' after too many failed password attempts.

    I use "truecrypt" on all my thumb drives you can put it in a computer and look at the files all you want, only when run truecrypt and enter my 20+ character password will the "hidden" drive mount.

    Additionally, truecrypt can be setup to mount a "false" encrypted file depending on your password. I've used this on my PC it's really nice. If someone "forced" you to open your encrypted data, use the "false" password and the dummy data is shown.
  13. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    LOL nope. If by 'normal login' you mean a windows user account or admin password those are a joke. I can bypass that in less than 30 seconds and I'm just a dumb redneck.
    Ken_C likes this.
  14. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Ruh-Roh!! I need better encryption. They must not find my porn stash!!!! [peep]
  15. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    They have used fear to sell: padded dashes,seat belts,car seats,child proof containers, gun laws, helmet laws Bicycle helmet laws, traffic improvements, TSA, DUI check points, Licenese restrictions, Not selling booze/or handguns to ADULTS under 21, ECT IT WORKS FOR THEM as long as people think they need to be saved from something and those who don't dial 911 until the shooting is over are the minority.
    Dogfood, Cephus and BTPost like this.
  16. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    Judge Reportedly Orders Colorado Woman To Decrypt Laptop | Fox News

    .pdf of the actual ruling:

    This part I find interesting:
  17. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    and she types in the password and the system nukes itself. replacing the contents of z drive with a single file. A high quality image of the Gadsden flag
  18. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Be even better if you could overwrite all files on the drive with Gadsden.jpg. He he.

    300,000+ files of the same defiant image.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    interesting... the last part of the judges findings stated...

    kinda like being almost pregnant... we can't use the production of the password against you but we can use the contents that we get as a result...

    to quote Giles Corey "more weight"

  20. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Redneck Rebel likes this.
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