Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, 11 N.E.3d 605 (Mass. 2014)

Key Insight: Where the facts that would be conveyed by a criminal defendant through his act of decryption of computer files — i.e., his ownership and control of the computers and their contents, knowledge of the act of encryption, and knowledge of the encryption key — are already known to the government and are thus a “foregone conclusion,” compelling the defendant to enter his encryption key does not violate the defendant’s rights under the Fifth Amendment because the defendant is only telling the government what it already knows; accordingly, court reversed trial judge’s denial of government’s motion to compel decryption and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings

Nature of Case: Criminal case regarding mortgage fraud scheme

Electronic Data Involved: ESI; encryption key

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