My computer is pleadin’ the Fifth

On January 26, 2012, in News Item, OpEd, Political Science, by Glen Davis

Fifth Amendment case in Denver causes concerns

by Glen C. Davis

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that GPS tracking devises violated the Constitutional Fourth Amendment guarantees because people have a reasonable right to privacy in their cars. As I understand the ruling, however, if you have OnStar® or one of the other government tracking devices already in your car, they can track you through that system.

On January 4th, the Denver Post reported on another example of the courts grappling with the Bill of Rights in the digital age. And the case is shaking up civil liberties groups.

The case involves Ramona Fricosu who was allegedly involved in a fraud scheme along with her husband. One of the items seized by the prosecutors was her laptop computer. The laptop, however, was encrypted and the prosecutor could not retrieve the contents. Fricosu refused to give the password citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
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