Child Porn Suspect Must Decrypt Own Hard Drives

     MILWAUKEE (CN) – A man suspected of housing child pornography on his hard drives must help the U.S. government decrypt them, a federal magistrate ruled.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge William Callahan Jr. issued the order last week, overturning an earlier decision that said the suspect, Jeffrey Feldman, was protected by his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
     That April decision had said “it was not ‘reasonably clear, in the absence of compelled decryption, that Feldman actually ha[d] access to and control over the encrypted storage devices,” Callahan explained (emphasis in latest decision).
     The government then sought reconsideration in an ex parte request, supplemented by the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Brett Banner, based on new evidence.
     Banner’s affidavit said that “the decrypted part of Feldman’s storage system contains an intricate electronic folder structure comprised of approximately 6,712 folders and subfolders,” Callahan sad. In these folders, agents found approximately 707,307 files. Among those files were numerous files which constitute child pornography.
     “In addition to numerous files of child pornography, the decrypted part of Feldman’s storage system contains detailed personal financial records and documents belonging to Feldman,” the ruling states.
     “The decrypted part of Feldman’s storage system contains dozens of personal photographs of Feldman.”
     Callahan said this evidence supports the government’s position that “Feldman’s access to and control over the encrypted storage devices [is] a ‘foregone conclusion.'”
     “The encrypted storage devices were found in Feldman’s residence, where he has admittedly lived alone for the past 15 years,” Callahan wrote. “In addition, the unencrypted Dell computer, which showed connections to the encrypted storage devices, has a login screen with only one username, ‘Jeff.’ And most significantly, the recently decrypted portion of the storage system contains personal financial documents and photographs clearly belonging to Feldman, whom the court has already found to be capable of using encryption.”
     Feldman must assist in the decryption of nine hard drives found in his residence, according to the ruling.

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