Fifth Amendment

Judge Halts Decryption Order in Child Porn Case

Man faced jail unless he opened hard drives for review

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A federal judge today halted an order that a Wisconsin man decrypt 16 computer drives the authorities suspect contain child pornography downloaded from the peer-to-peer file-sharing site e-Donkey.

The brief ruling (.pdf) by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa of Milwaukee came a day after the suspect's attorney urged Randa to halt a magistrate's earlier order that Jeffrey Feldman decrypt the drives by today or potentially face indefinite detention until he complied.

Because of legal complexities, the magistrate judge in the case stepped aside and the case was assigned Monday to Randa, who today ordered the government and Feldman's counsel to brief "the issue of Feldman's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination."