CO Federal Criminal Case
First off, this is not a Copyright infringement Case. This order comes from a Colorado Federal Judge in a Criminal case for real estate fraud. Here is the article – http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/encryption/232500386 The CO court did not tell the defendant to give up her password, just provide a copy of the unencrypted hard drive. This was based on information that the hard drive actually contained evidence and not a fishing expedition.
While I still have to read and review the details of this order, I believe this ruling will be appealed and fought at a much higher level. The right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment cannot be so easily trumped! I believe the Supreme Court will be looking at this in the future. Here is a recent article on the Supreme Court ruling that the use of a GPS tracking device on a suspect required a search warrant (not just the whim of an investigator or prosecutor)(http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223646/Supreme_Court_GPS_ruling_called_a_win_for_privacy?taxonomyId=144). Not the same issue, but still a core one concerning our rights.
So What Does This Mean For These Copyright Infringement Cases?
Besides being a criminal case (not a civil one), this order only came after a full investigation, court authorized searches, and forensic analysis. None of these are even close to the copyright infringement cases brought by the Trolls. The only forensic examination I know of for these cases was from a “consent to search” obtained by a Troll in a CA case (https://dietrolldie.com/2011/12/14/named-defendant-in-prenda-law-inc-boy-racer-inc-case-211-cv-03072-mce-kjn-eastern-district-of-ca-ammended-complaint/). We are slowly advancing to “some” named Does and the Trolls are continuing to say they are going to a full trial. This is more Troll BS in my opinion. As Rob Cashman stated in his Blog, when it comes to a deposition (happens before the trial phase), that opens the door for the Trolls “experts” and methods to be deposed also. This is going to open “Pandora’s box” for the Trolls and they know it. Saying that, I want to go over a wonderful piece of software I have mentioned in previous posts – TrueCrypt.
“Well if the court is going to possibly make me provide an unencrypted copy of my hard drive, why use TrueCrypt?”
One feature of TrueCrypt is the ability to create a hidden volume. This hidden volume is located within a standard TrueCrypt volume – AKA: “A dream within a dream” OR “Plans within plans.” When I first read about hidden volumes years ago, I thought it was a really good option for people living in countries run by repressive governments. I never thought it would be something to really consider using in the US.
The idea being you first create a standard TrueCrypt volume on your computer. It can be an entire hard drive or just a TrueCrypt file. Once the primary TrueCrypt volume is created, you create a smaller hidden TrueCrypt volume within this one. This smaller hidden volume does not have a detectable signature – it looks like random data.
Once the TrueCrypt volumes are created, you place all your sensitive files (Tax files, financial data, medical records, private pictures & movies of you and the wife (wink wink 😉 , etc.) in the “Known” volume. In the hidden volume you now place any extremely sensitive files. After adding your files to these volumes, you “dismount” the volumes until you need access. What this hidden volume gives you is “plausible deniability.”
Here is an example. An adversary is looking at your system and they see you have TrueCrypt installed. They may even determine which files and/or drives are TrueCrypt volumes. This adversary forces you to open (unencrypt) the TrueCrypt volume. They now see all you private information in the known TrueCrypt volume. But they can’t see the hidden volume. “But can’t a forensic examiner find the hidden volume????” NO. There is no indicators that a hidden volumes exists within the known volume. The unused area within the known volume appears as random data. You have complied with the adversary and can plausibly deny any wrongdoing.
Now I know some people are going to say, “what are you hiding?” & “what are you afraid of?” I love the line that if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. What a load of crap! Please tell me why our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights? – Nice TechDirt article on the matter.
– It is because our history has shown over and over again that abuses of power do occur and will occur again. The Trolls are abusing the courts by filing these mass John Does cases under the claim of protecting the rights of copyright owners. This is not an effort to protect anyone, it is a business model to generate as much money as possible regardless if the public IP address owner did anything.
“Some ships are designed to sink…others require our assistance.”
Check this out if you come and go across the US border – https://www.eff.org/wp/defending-privacy-us-border-guide-travelers-carrying-digital-devices