Encrypting Data May Give Rise to a Limited Constitutional Defense

The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals broke new ground in 2012 when it held the Fifth Amendment barred the government from compelling decryption of digital media purportedly containing encrypted, self-incriminating data. While the decision could sweep aside some of the best evidence prosecutors are accustomed to obtaining, the ground that decision breaks may prove to be less fertile than it first appears, especially because the Supreme Court has limited the Fifth Amendment rights available to many in white collar cases.