Forcing suspects to give up their cellphone passwords is a violation of the constitutional right against self-incrimination, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
“We find, as the [Securities and Exchange Commission] is not seeking business records but Defendants’ personal thought processes, Defendants may properly invoke their Fifth Amendment right,” U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney of Pennsylvania wrote.
The decision comes amid a backdrop of national debate over the degree of access law enforcement should have over users’ encrypted data.
While the law enforcement community has widely pushed for broader authority over data, claiming that end-to-end encryption hampers investigations, critics suggest that building a “back door” into devices both infringes on privacy rights and undermines overall system security.
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