Internet and computer crimes are, more and more, being prosecuted by state and federal officials. The proliferation of the internet certainly has a dark side, and there are many ways for people to commit crimes over the web -- but that doesn't mean every person accused of committing such a crime is guilty, nor does it mean the police went about the investigation in a proper, legal and professional way.
As such, any person accused of an internet or computer crime needs an adept and experienced criminal defense attorney. The laws may not have caught up to the times; but they are open to interpretation. Using laws in creative and unique ways to grant defendants protections they should have is all part of the justice system.
With that in mind, consider the case of a man accused of perpetuating a mortgage fraud scheme. The federal officials investigating him say there are files on his computer that are pertinent to the case. The files are encrypted, meaning the information is jumbled up and unreadable. Investigators tried to decrypt the files, but failed.
In response, the officials demanded that the man decrypt the files. However, the man and his criminal defense team quickly fired back, saying that being compelled to decrypt his own files (so that the evidence would be used against him in the case) was a violation of his Fifth Amendment rights. The man would effectively be testifying against himself, creating evidence (quite literally -- decrypting a file creates a brand new version of that file) for the people prosecuting him.
A lower court agreed with the accused man, and now the decision has been appealed by the prosecution.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Forced Decryption Fought as Self-Incrimination," Jack Bouboushian, Nov. 1, 2013