Philadelphia Cop Imprisoned For Not Decrypting Hard Drives

  • Saad Qureshi
  • May-19-2016

Philadelphia, The United States: On Monday, U.S Federal prosecutors requested the court to keep 17-year-old Philadelphia police sergeant “Francis Rawls” – also known as “John Doe” – under the custody of the U.S Marshals until he unlocks two hard drives containing illegal obscene literature.

After conducting a successive forensic exam of Doe’s Mac Pro, it was unveiled that Doe had attempted to access more than 20,000 files associated with illegal obscene material. Moreover, Doe used external hard drives to access and store banned explicit content. The seized log files contained records of visited groups titled as “lolicam”, “hussy”, “pedo mom”, “tor-child porn” and “toddler_cp”.

The authorities have won a contempt-of-court order against Doe and referred the ‘All Writs Act’ to force Doe into unlocking the hard drives. It is the same act that pushed Apple to unlock San Bernardino suspect’s iPhone. However, Rawls (Doe) claims that he does not remember the passcodes, but the government officials have denied his claims.

Philadelphia Cop Imprisoned For Not Decrypting Hard Drives

The authorities have clarified the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals of Philadelphia, that Doe should remain imprisoned until he’s ready to comply with court’s order. Moreover, the Fifth Amendment right isn’t violated in the present case as it’s a foregone conclusion that the hard drives contain explicit material and Doe has been only asked to unlock his drives not to reveal his passwords.

Although Doe has not been charged with obscene crimes yet, he is ordered to serve time in Philadelphia’s Federal Detention Center for denying court’s order to decrypt the hard drives which are encrypted with Apple FileVault software. The case highlights the ongoing war between the state and encryption.

Saad Qureshi


Saad Qureshi's Biography :

Saad is a privacy advocate by day and a Dota 2 player by night. He loves to share his knowledge, experience, and insights about internet freedom and online privacy. When he is not busy blogging about the latest trend in the tech world, he is engaged in killing noobs on Dota.