a 19-year-old just got a 16-month jail sentence for his refusal to 
disclose the password that would have allowed investigators to see 
what was on his hard drive.  

I suppose that, if the authorities could not read his stuff 
without the key, it may mean that the software he was using may 
have had no links weaker than the encryption itself -- and that 
is extraordinarily unusual - an encouraging sign of progress in 
the field, if of mixed value in the current case.

Really serious data recovery tools can get data that's been 
erased and overwritten several times (secure deletion being quite
unexpectedly difficult), so if it's ever been in your filesystem
unencrypted, it's usually available to well-funded investigators 
without recourse to the key.  I find it astonishing that they 
would actually need his key to get it. 

Rampant speculation: do you suppose he was using a solid-state 
drive instead of a magnetic-media hard disk?



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