Cybersecurity » Smartphone Passwords Have 5th Amendment Protection, Judge Rules

Smartphone Passwords Have 5th Amendment Protection, Judge Rules

September 29, 2015

A federal judge has found that two former credit-card company employees have a constitutional right not to share their personal smartphone passwords. The SEC sought the passcodes in order to access data on their work-issued smartphones, but the judge found those are personal, not corporate records. The passcode request is part of an SEC investigation into the two workers, who allegedly used their jobs as data analysts to deduce sales trends at U.S. companies ahead of earnings announcements, and trade stocks in those companies to earn $2.8 million. “We find Defendants’ confidential passcodes are personal in nature and Defendants may properly invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege to avoid production of the passcodes,” wrote U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney.

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