Dutch gov't: suspects must decrypt computers

The Dutch government says it is planning to make it a crime for a suspect in a child sex abuse or terrorism case to refuse to help decrypt a computer when ordered to do so by prosecutors.

The legislation was prompted by a case in Amsterdam last year, in which a pedophile who abused more than 80 children and infants used encryption software that slowed his investigation. Members of his network are still being caught.

In February, a U.S. appeals court found that forcing a suspect to surrender access to his computer can violate his constitutional rights not to incriminate himself.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said Wednesday the real issue is obstruction of justice, and he said comparable laws exist in England and Sweden.


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Nov 28, 2012
Aren't people allowed to refuse incriminating themselves?
I would argue that making it illegal to refuse to decrypt your own computer would clash with that law.

"Obstruction of justice" should not be applicable in a case of inaction by the defendant.

Otherwise you'll get very weird cases in which a defendant gets found guilty of obstructing justice just because he is unable to remember the password to his encrypted files (and I'm pretty sure most anyone has had the experience of forgetting a pasword)

JRi
Nov 28, 2012
If this route is taken, they could as well punish every defendant who claims he/she has lost memory during suspected crime.

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