Part of the Fifth Amendment reads as follows:
"... nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself".
The question arises whether private, secured information on an encrypted laptop is self incriminating evidence. A defendant in an alleged mortgage scam case had a laptop encrypted with PGP Desktop, which is a Symantec security application.
Federal Judge Robert Blackburn ordered the defendant to disclose the encryption password:
"... "I find and conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer," the judge said in his ruling Tuesday..."
Theoretically, with enough computer power and time, an encryption program can be broken. However, it may be argued on appeal and to a higher court, that a hard drive is a private and self incriminating. Disclosure of hard drive protected information may be more damaging criminally than contravening the order to reveal the encryption password.
It will be necessary for a court of law to determine what is the relationship between a computer owner and a hard drive. Is that information private and legally protected?
some additional links: