DOJ Cracks Suspect’s Hard Drives, Quickly Drops Request To Force Him To Decrypt

We’ve been covering the DOJ’s case against Jeffrey Feldman, in which they were trying to force him to decrypt some hard drives he had in order to get evidence to be used against him. This is a tricky area of law, because some courts have said that the 5th Amendment protects against being forced to decrypt evidence that can be used against you, while others have gone the other way. In this case, judges went back and forth, and the fight was still being fought.

However, it appears the feds likely cracked Feldman’s password for his hard drives, and wasted little time in asking the court to dismiss the application to compel Feldman to decrypt. Basically, they point out that they don’t need it any more, because “the government has now successfully decrypted two of Feldman’s hard drives,” providing it with more than enough evidence to put him in jail for a long, long time. Of course, this undoubtedly makes the DOJ fairly happy, because the last thing it wants right now is a higher court precedent on the books saying that someone can’t be compelled to decrypt such data. I’m sure another case will come along to take on this issue before too long, but for now, the government is able to just keep the decks clear of binding precedent.

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