US Cops Cant Force You to Unlock a Phone With Face Finger

first_img A California judge ruled that U.S. law enforcement can not force people to unlock a mobile phone with biometrics.Courts previously allowed police to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with fingerprints or faces, but not a passcode.This new ruling, first reported by Forbes, declares that all logins are created equal.The nine-page order, issued on Jan. 10 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, denies a search warrant for an unspecified property in Oakland.Specifics of the criminal case—which involves two suspects accused of committing extortion via Facebook Messenger—remain sealed. According to Forbes, an unnamed victim was asked to pay, or have an “embarrassing” video released publicly.While police wanted to raid suspects’ property, feds fancied opening any phone on the premises using facial recognition, fingerprint identification, or the more uncommon iris scan (objectionable).The Galaxy S9 and S9+ support three different biometric authentication options: iris, fingerprint, and facial recognition (via Samsung)U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore OK’d the search, agreeing that investigators showed probable cause. But she drew the line at forcibly unlocking handsets.The request, she wrote in the order, “runs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments” protecting against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination, respectively.“The government cannot be permitted to search and seize a mobile phone or other device that is on a non-suspect’s person simply because they are present during an otherwise lawful search,” Westmore said.This marks the first time a judge decided biometric features, like passcodes, are “testimonial,” and therefore granted protection against self-incrimination.“The challenge facing the courts is that technology is outpacing the law,” Westmore declared, writing that finger and face scans are not the same as collecting fingerprints for comparison against physical evidence found at a crime scene.In this case, the judge suggested “other ways that the government might access the content that do not trample on the Fifth Amendment.”Obtaining Facebook Messenger communications from the parent company, for instance, under the Stored Communications Act, or a warrant based on probable cause.“While it may be more expedient to circumvent Facebook, and attempt to gain access by infringing on the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination,” Westmore said, “it is an abuse of power and is unconstitutional.”Her decision is not final, though. As Forbes pointed out, it could be overturned by a district court judge, as happened with a similar ruling in Illinois in 2017.More on Geek.com:Face ID or Touch ID on Future iPhones and Apple Watches? Why Not Both?Creepy Walmart Patent Reveals Shopping Carts That Track Your PulseNew AI-Powered System Can Identify You By the Way You Walk Stay on target Report: Amazon Testing Hand-Scanning Payment MethodThe Whole Front of This Smartphone Is a Fingerprint Reader last_img read more

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