This week the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, a case about encryption that goes before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Nov. 5. The basic question we're interested in is whether a defendant can be forced to decrypt his electronic files. Along with Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU says no.
As ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney Jessie Rossman says, "Our brief explains that the right against self-incrimination protects defendants from being made to decrypt their own files. Because encryption scrambles data, encrypted data is like a document that has been shredded. Even if the government can make a defendant turn over the shreds, it can’t make the defendant reassemble them."
Blog: Mass high court set to rule on whether state can force you to decrypt your drive | Legal Brief