This is a good reminder to keep your phones locked with a PIN, not with 
biometrics. They can force you to give up a fingerprint, but they can't force 
you to remember a "forgotten" passcode.


> On Feb 12, 2017, at 5:28 PM, Steven Schear <> wrote:
> Guess he never heard of hidden partitions and plausible deniability (e.g., 
> via TrueCrypt)
> Warrant Canary creator
>> On Feb 12, 2017 1:14 PM, "jim bell" <> wrote:
>> Francis Rawls, a former Philadelphia police sergeant, has been in the 
>> Philadelphia Federal Detention Center for more than 16 months. His crime: 
>> the fired police officer has been found in contempt of court for refusing a 
>> judge's order to unlock two hard drives the authorities believe contain 
>> child pornography. Theoretically, Rawls can remain jailed indefinitely until 
>> he complies.Francis Rawls
>> The federal court system appears to be in no hurry to resolve an unresolved 
>> legal issue: does the Fifth Amendment protect the public from being forced 
>> to decrypt their digital belongings? Until this is answered, Rawls is likely 
>> to continue to languish behind bars. A federal appeals court heard oral 
>> arguments about Rawls' plight last September. So far, there's been no 
>> response from the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia.
>> Rawls was thrown in the slammer on September 30, 2015 "until such time that 
>> he fully complies" (PDF) with a court order to unlock his hard drives. A 
>> child-porn investigation focused on Rawls when prosecutors were monitoring 
>> the online network, Freenet. They executed a search warrant in 2015 at 
>> Rawls' home. The authorities say it's a "foregone conclusion" that illicit 
>> porn is on those drives. But they cannot know for sure unless Rawls hands 
>> them the alleged evidence that is encrypted with Apple's standard FileVault 
>> software.
>> His plight is not garnering public sympathy. Men suspected of possessing 
>> child pornography never do. But his case highlights a vexing legal vacuum in 
>> this digital era, when encryption is becoming part of the national 
>> discussion. For years, both Apple and Microsoft have offered desktop users 
>> the ability to turn on full disk encryption. And data on Android and Apple 
>> mobile phones can easily be encrypted.
>> Rawls' attorney, Federal Public Defender Keith Donoghue, declined comment 
>> for this story. But he has argued in court that his client is being "held 
>> without charges" (PDF) and that he should be released immediately.FURTHER 
>> READINGIndefinite prison for suspect who won’t decrypt hard drives, feds say
>> In winning the contempt-of-court order, the authorities cited a 1789 law 
>> known as the All Writs Act to compel (PDF) Rawls to decrypt—and he refused. 
>> The All Writs Act was the same law the Justice Department asserted in its 
>> legal battle with Apple, in which a magistrate judge ordered Apple to 
>> produce code to enable the FBI to decrypt the iPhone used by one of two 
>> shooters who killed 14 people at a San Bernardino County government 
>> building. The government dropped the case when the authorities paid a 
>> reported $1 million for a hack.
>> The reason why Rawls is idling behind bars without charges is twofold: 
>> first, the nation's appellate courts have no deadlines on when they must 
>> issue an opinion. And second, the Supreme Court has never addressed the 
>> compelled decryption issue.
>> The Supreme Court in 2000, however, ruled that demanding too much assistance 
>> from a suspect is unconstitutional because it would be akin to "telling an 
>> inquisitor the combination of a wall safe." However, the closest federal 
>> appellate case on point was decided by the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals 
>> in 2012. That court, based in Denver, said a bank-fraud defendant must 
>> decrypt her laptop. But that ruling wasn't enforced because prosecutors 
>> obtained the password elsewhere.
>> At issue in the decryption battle is the Fifth Amendment. At its core, it 
>> says people cannot be compelled to testify against themselves. But that is 
>> the real-world view. When it comes to the virtual world, things change—at 
>> least insofar as the government is concerned. The government claims that 
>> Rawls isn't being ordered to testify against himself and that he isn't even 
>> being ordered to produce his passwords.FURTHER READINGChild porn suspect 
>> jailed indefinitely for refusing to decrypt hard drives
>> Rawls, the government argues, (PDF) "repeatedly asserts that the All Writs 
>> Act order requires him to divulge his passcodes, but he is incorrect: the 
>> order requires no testimony from [Rawls], and he may keep his passcodes to 
>> himself. Instead, the order requires only that [Rawls] produce his computer 
>> and hard drives in an unencrypted state."
>> The Electronic Frontier Foundation told the court in a friend-of-the-court 
>> brief (PDF) that "compelled decryption is inherently testimonial because it 
>> compels a suspect to use the contents of their mind to translate 
>> unintelligible evidence into a form that can be used against them. The Fifth 
>> Amendment provides an absolute privilege against such self-incriminating 
>> compelled decryption."
>> When the appeals court finally rules on Rawls' plight, it won't be the final 
>> word on the topic. That's because the nation's circuit courts of appeal are 
>> not obligated to follow the decisions of their sister circuits. This means 
>> uncertainty over this issue could linger until the nation's highest court 
>> weighs in.
>> All the while, a jailed man named Francis Rawls, who the authorities believe 
>> is hiding kid smut, remains the poster child surrounding the debate on 
>> forced decryption.

Reply via email to