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Prosecutors Seek Court Order For Suspect to Turn Over Computer Password

Posted Jan 4, 2012 3:03 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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Federal prosecutors have asked a Denver court to order a bank-fraud suspect to hand over her computer password so that they may search her files for evidence against her.

The move is extremely rare, the Denver Post reports, as civil-liberties groups say U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn’s decision could test the strength of rights against self-incrimination in an increasingly digital era. However, prosecutors counter that current data encryption methods could make it impossible for law enforcement officials to access key evidence on hard drives without a user’s password.

Ramona Fricosu and her husband, Scott Whatcott, were indicted in 2010 on charges of defrauding banks out of more than $900,000 in a complex mortgage-foreclosure scam.

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers.

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