Before I start let me tell you what the 5th amendment is. It protects you from basically incriminating yourself. To "plead the Fifth" is to refuse to answer a question because the response could provide self-incriminating evidence of an illegal act punishable by fines, penalties or forfeiture.
And encryption is the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called a cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted information.
Example is "Hi how are you" becomes "*&yhN8ob5re7"
OK moving on.
In Colorado a Judge ordered a woman named Ramona Fricosu (being investigated for mortgage scam) to decrypt her files to allow evidence to be gathered to support the accusations shes facing.
Doesn't that sound like she would be incriminating herself? Being made to decrypt the files so it can be used against her? Sounds like a violation of the 5th amendment to me.
But not according to Judge Robert Blackburn
“I find and conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer.”
So what are your opinions? Should you be forced to give up your passwords or be made to decrypt information that may be used to incriminate you? Currently there is no law saying you have to even if asked.
This also brings up some other issues. What is you claim to of forgotten your password? You say it was so long you had to keep it on a piece of paper and its now lost. What then? Can they just assume you are lying? Can they use it against you? What if you use "hidden volumes" to hide the real encrypted information? Those cant be proved they exist, just speculated that they might.
To many issues come into play here.
And if anyone is wondering how to encrypt their laptops or external drives or folders etc here is my post about it:
Important:ACTA - Worse then SOPA/PIPA
How to bypass Internet Censorship SOPA/ACTA