Flutterby™! : Taking md5 hashes of files ruled the same as opening and reading files

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Taking md5 hashes of files ruled the same as opening and reading files

2008-10-28 18:58:20.616497+00 by radix 1 comments

I'm a legal geek (but not a lawyer). Found this on Volokh: http://www.volokh.com/archives...0_26-2008_11_01.shtml#1225159904

Figured the free speech and technical assessments would be of interest to many here. Note that the gov't missed an opportunity to try to apply precedent from drug-sniffing dogs, so there may be more evolution of caselaw on this particular issue.

Synopsis: Guy is getting evicted, some guy hired by the landlord gets his stuff, including a computer. Finds kiddie porn pic, calls cops. Cops did not get warrant before collecting an image of the hd and extracting MD5 signatures from the drive. Prosecutor claims that 'hashing' files isn't a search. Judge disagrees, bars evidence.

[ related topics: Hardware Hackery Erotic Privacy Sexual Culture Health Robotics Law Law Enforcement Embedded Devices Cryptography Dogs Archival ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-29 03:34:48.56154+00 by: Dan Lyke

Interesting. Seems to me that the MD5 signatures of files is definitely a search, so I'm glad the judge called out the prosecutor on that one, but I wonder about the details of the eviction in the first place; if the eviction was legal, then wasn't the computer essentially abandoned, and therefore fair game?