With shock appeals ruling, the United States has effectively outlawed file encryption
An appeals court has denied the appeal of a person who is jailed indefinitely for refusing to decrypt files. The man has not been charged with anything, but was ordered to hand over the unencrypted contents on police assertion of what the contents were. When this can result in lifetime imprisonment under "contempt of court", the United States has effectively outlawed file-level encryption - without even going through Congress.
Last week, a US Appeals Court ruled against the person now detained for almost 18 months for refusing to decrypt a hard drive. The man has not been charged with anything, but authorities assert that the drive contains child pornography, and they want to charge him for it. As this is a toxic subject that easily spins off into threads of its own, for the sake of argument here and for sticking to the 10,000-foot principles, let's say the authorities instead claim there are documents showing tax evasion on the drive. The principles would be the same.
source: Article 'With shock appeals ruling, the United States has effectively outlawed file encryption' by Rick Falkvinge; falkvinge.net/2017/03/28/shock-appeals-ruling-united-states-effectively-outlawed-file-encryption/; Falkfinge on Liberty; 28 March 2017 (Updated: 29 March 2017)