Law enforcement officials were granted legal permission to force an attorney accused of mortgage fraud to decrypt his computers seized in an investigation of his alleged crime without violating his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
A Wednesday ruling by Massachusetts’s top court determined that Leon Gelfgatt must decrypt four computers that investigators confiscated. The decision overturns a previous court ruling that said forced file decryption would violate the attorney’s Fifth Amendment rights.
The deciding factor in the case was that Gelfgatt told investigators that the computers belonged to him and only he held the encryption key. As a result, by decrypting the computers, Gelfgatt wouldn’t be telling the government anything it doesn’t already know, according to the court’s opinion.