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Comment Re:So forgetting a password (Score 1) 793

you find that the documents do not exist until the encrypted data is combined with the decryption key; that view provides even an even stronger case for fifth amendment protection, as in this view the defendant is being required to _create_ the evidence against him.

It is a potentially interesting angle, but I doubt it would fly. It would mean that any and all laws that make some information illegal would cease to apply the moment it is encrypted, because it is "no longer there" (and later it magically reappears when the key is applied). This could be stretched even further by saying that e.g. compression is also similar, in that the output is not directly usable; and the compression code is the "key".

This would then apply across the board: copyright, national secrets etc. So for example if a guy steals some top secret data, encrypts it, and hands it over to Chinese in two separate transactions - one for the data, and the other for the key - it would seem that nothing illegal has occurred, because the data in its encrypted form is not top secret - only the decryption output would be, and it doesn't exist until encrypted data and key are combined in a very specific way.

Somehow, I doubt that this will work out that way.

Comment Re:So forgetting a password (Score 1) 793

A demand to produce the body would still fall under the scope of the Fifth, because knowing where the body is would be incriminating in and of itself.

What wouldn't be is if, say, the police reasonably suspects that a body is locked in a specific place, to demand a key to that place. Surrendering the key is not producing the body - it is only allowing the door to be open. It is not illegal to lock a door, so the fact that one has the key is not illegal. And there is no demand to produce the contents - police will go and obtain it on their own, once they have access to it.

SCOTUS hasn't ruled on this one way or the other, so it remains to be seen.

Comment Re:So forgetting a password (Score 1) 793

The problem is that "contempt" is a separate thing. Being held in contempt doesn't mean that you're guilty of anything, so the usual innocent-unless-proven-guilty standard doesn't apply. I'm actually not sure what the standard is for contempt, and in particular, what the checks and balances are (i.e. if he believes that judge is holding him in contempt improperly, can he appeal it, and to whom?).

Comment Re:So forgetting a password (Score 1) 793

Per the All Writs Act, they can compel cooperation with the investigation in general. The Fifth says specifically:

"nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"

And he is not asked to be a witness against himself (i.e. he is not asked to confess). He is asked to provide a piece of information that, in and of itself, does not testify to his guilt. He's asked to provide information that can then be used to access other information, which may provide evidence of his guilt - but at the point that information is retrieved, he's no longer in the picture, and so it does not involve him witnessing against himself.

Comment Re:So forgetting a password (Score 1) 793

Yes, so they must have a reasonable suspicion that there is evidence related to the crime. Which they did (witness accounts that he showed them things off that laptop).

And then they must go to the judge, and get a warrant to search the drive. Which they did.

And now this guy is basically refusing to comply with said legitimate warrant, for which he is held in contempt by the judge.

This is not at all similar to "pick any house at random and search it for whatever they suspect might be in there".

Comment Re: It's all relative (Score 1) 1080

That is exactly what "private ownership of means of production" means - that private owners can do as they want with their capital (aka means of production). It's the definition of private property, and what distinguishes it from other forms of property (such as enfeoffment under feudalism) - that it is transferable, and can be exchanged for money or other property.

But, yes. Capitalism doesn't mean that all means of production are privately owned. Only that it is the dominant form of property on them.

Comment Re:Subversion of the West (Score 1) 1080

I believe in property rights for persons, not for corpses. Once you're dead, you're no longer the owner, and you don't necessarily have any say in what happens to your former possessions; and there is no natural right to inherit property.

Now, it is still in the interests of society to allow inheritance, because it removes the burden of having to take care of the offspring of the deceased from society, and it encourages people to invest long-term to provide for their progeny. But we absolutely can regulate that process, including taxation.

If you want to exercise your property rights unimpeded, then gift your property to your inheritors while you're still alive.

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