Two suspects accused of extorting the so-called “Queen of Snapchat” as part of a sex-tape scandal are scheduled to appear in a Florida court on May 30, 2017. The accused need only to answer a simple question on this visit. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Charles Johnson wants an explanation as to why the defendants can’t remember the passcodes to their mobile phones.
If the judge doesn’t believe them or if they remain silent, the two suspects face possible contempt charges and indefinite jail time for refusing a court order to unlock their phones so prosecutors can examine text messages. Their defense to that order, however, rests on an unsettled area of law. Both defendants maintain that a court order requiring them to unlock an encrypted device is a breach of the Fifth Amendment right to be free from compelled self-incrimination.