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Refusing to give the unlock code of your phone to the authorities is a crime

2022-11-07T15:37:49.270Z


The Court of Cassation has just confirmed that the refusal to enter his mobile phone unlocking code in the event of a con


More than two years later, the Court of Cassation has just confirmed a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal.

Refusing to provide a cell phone home screen unlock code to law enforcement authorities may be a criminal offence.

The court thus confirms its case law on the matter.

This sensitive issue relating to cryptology and mobile phones was examined by the plenary assembly of the Court of Cassation, its most solemn formation, after the Douai Court of Appeal rendered a decision contrary to the case law of the Court of Cassation. high court.

The case originated in a narcotics file: a man arrested in possession of cannabis refused, while in police custody, to give the passwords to his two mobile phones.

He is returned to correctional for this possession of narcotics, but also for having refused to hand over the "secret convention for deciphering a means of cryptology" likely to have been used to commit this offense, an offense punishable by three years in prison. imprisonment.

The Lille Criminal Court, then the Douai Court of Appeal had acquitted him of this last offence, considering that the code was not a "decryption convention" because it was not used to decrypt data but only to unlock a home screen.

Defendant should be retried

Seized for the first time, the criminal division of the Court of Cassation censures the decision of the Court of Appeal in 2020, considering that it had “general and erroneous” reasoning.

The case is sent back to the Douai Court of Appeal, which refuses to follow this case law and confirms the acquittal decision.

After an appeal by the public prosecutor's office, it was in plenary assembly that the Court of Cassation re-examined this question on October 14.

The highest court of the judiciary considered that when a mobile phone was equipped with a "means of cryptology", therefore a password, its holder was required to give the investigators the unlocking code. .

By opposing it, he commits the offense of “refusing to submit a secret deciphering convention”.

The Court of Cassation therefore quashed the judgment of the Douai Court of Appeal and referred the case to the Paris Court of Appeal.

The defendant will have to be retried there.

Source: leparis

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