Last summer Animoto was the target of a data breach, in their posted-but-not-emailed announcement of the breach Animoto assured users that any compromised passwords had been “hashed and salted”. And yet, blackmail spammers now have full Animoto passwords.
A Federal court ruling this week by Judge Robert Blackburn, of Peyton, Colorado, says that you can be ordered by the court to provide the password to decrypt encrypted data, or face contempt of court, and that being forced to reveal your passphrase does not violate the Fifth Amendment (the 5th Amendent includes, among other things, the right against self-incrimination). In the ruling, Judge Blackburn ordered Ramona Fricosu, whose laptop hard drive is encrypted with PGP, and who is charged with taking part in a mortgage scam, including charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, to decrypt her hard drive or face, among other sanctions, contempt of court.
According to government officials and insiders, the Federal government is seeking broad authority and discretion to monitor all Internet communications, including communications on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, instant messaging systems, and even (or hey, perhaps especially) encrypted emails.
If Sebastian Boucher thought that encryping the data on his hard drive would protect him from prying eyes, he may have been right. But if the Derry, New Hampshire resident, who is originally from Canada, thought that it would protect his 5th Amendment right against self incrimination, he may have another think coming.