The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with EFF. It wrote:
Requiring the Commonwealth to do the heavy lifting, indeed, to shoulder the entire load, in building and bringing a criminal case without a defendant’s assistance may be inconvenient and even difficult; yet, to apply the foregone conclusion rationale in these circumstances would allow the exception to swallow the constitutional privilege. Nevertheless, this constitutional right is firmly grounded in the “realization that the privilege, while sometimes a shelter to the guilty, is often a protection to the innocent.”
This ruling is vital because courts must account for how constitutional rights are affected by changes in technology. We store a wealth of deeply personal information on our electronic devices. The government simply should not put individuals in the no-win situation of choosing between disclosing a password—and turning over everything on these devices—or instead defying a court order to do so.
At least two other state supreme courts, in Indiana and New Jersey, are considering similar cases. EFF is participating in both of those cases as amicus along with the ACLU. With the victory in Pennsylvania, and several other courts set to weigh in, there’s a significant chance the U.S. Supreme Court will have the last word. We hope that like the Pennsylvania court, the Supreme Court recognizes just how fundamental the Fifth Amendment right is.