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  • Court Allows Police to Force Users to Unlock iPhones with Touch ID but not Passcodes


    According to a Circuit Court judge in Virginia, fingerprints aren’t protected by the Fifth Amendment which means that a criminal defendant can be compelled to give up a fingerprint to a fingerprint-protected device like the newer iPhones and iPad. That being said the defendant cannot be forced to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a device.

    For those of you who didn’t know, the Fifth Amendment states that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes but it doesn’t extend to fingerprints. This particular ruling stemmed from a case involving David Baust who was accused of strangling his girlfriend. Prosecutors in the case believed that Baust may have stored a video of the attack on his smartphone and asked the judge to force him to unlock it.

    If protected by a passcode he won’t be required to unlock it but if protected with a fingerprint, he could potentially be forced to unlock the device. If his iPhone is equipped with Touch ID, it’s very likely that it will be passcode locked at this point and therefore protected by law. Touch ID typically requires a passcode after 48 hours of disuse, a restart or three failed fingerprint entry attempts. Since the device has been under policy custody for quite some time, this should protect him under the Fifth Amendment. It’s unclear if the judge’s ruling will impact future cases that involves devices protected with fingerprint sensors but the whole concept may be overturned by an appeal or a higher court. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    Source: Hampton Roads via MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Court Allows Police to Force Users to Unlock iPhones with Touch ID but not Passcodes started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 44 Comments
    1. FireSpyder's Avatar
      FireSpyder -
      So do a hard reset with power and home if there is ever a chance you may get arrested.
    1. Noodles46's Avatar
      Noodles46 -
      Just move your finger a bit down so that it scans where it's not registered. Do that 3 times and it'll require your password.
    1. FireSpyder's Avatar
      FireSpyder -
      That works too but when it comes down to it a hard reset is a sure thing. I'd hate to accidentally unlock it and have to start over.
    1. atorres062's Avatar
      atorres062 -
      **** the police!!!!!!
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      Quote Originally Posted by atorres062 View Post
      **** the police!!!!!!
      It's amazing, though, how much better the world is because of them.
    1. atorres062's Avatar
      atorres062 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpidermanAPV View Post
      It's amazing, though, how much better the world is because of them.
      Yes and no, the law is a double edge sword. There's good honorable cops and cops that abuse their authority.
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      Quote Originally Posted by atorres062 View Post
      Yes and no, the law is a double edge sword. There's good honorable cops and cops that abuse their authority.
      In my personal experience I see a lot more of the good side. I'll admit that there are the bad ones, but the good far outweighs them.
    1. atorres062's Avatar
      atorres062 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpidermanAPV View Post
      In my personal experience I see a lot more of the good side. I'll admit that there are the bad ones, but the good far outweighs them.
      I've experienced both sides and unfortunately the bad makes me dislike them. But I have close friends that are in law inforcement and it's unfortunate that the bad give the good a bad rep.
    1. Jokadaking's Avatar
      Jokadaking -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpidermanAPV View Post
      It's amazing, though, how much better the world is because of them.
      The world is not better because of police! The world is only better because of God! The government causes 90% of US problems and the police are dead smack in the middle of it!
    1. MPS3's Avatar
      MPS3 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Noodles46 View Post
      Just move your finger a bit down so that it scans where it's not registered. Do that 3 times and it'll require your password.
      or remote wipe the phone lol
      i feel like cops are just rly stupid now days
    1. politicalslug's Avatar
      politicalslug -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jokadaking View Post
      The world is not better because of police! The world is only better because of God! The government causes 90% of US problems and the police are dead smack in the middle of it!
      I hope you're joking. If you are, let me be the first to tell you that it's not the least bit funny. If not, then do humanity a favor and forgo breeding. Thanks.
    1. patoons's Avatar
      patoons -
      Quote Originally Posted by Noodles46 View Post
      Just move your finger a bit down so that it scans where it's not registered. Do that 3 times and it'll require your password.
      or use the wrong finger.
    1. smittyjf's Avatar
      smittyjf -
      Quote Originally Posted by patoons View Post
      or use the wrong finger.
      Bingo
      They don't know what finger you use so just use the wrong ones a few times and there you go....locked for a passcode and a reboot will require it anyway.
      Smitty
    1. Robertsdp's Avatar
      Robertsdp -
      From my understanding the Judge ruled that the passcode is considered knowledge and thats why it protected and the fingerprint is not. With that in mind, isnt the knowledge of which finger unlocks the phone also "knowledge" and considered protected? Then they would have to guess which finger opens the phone.
    1. novadam's Avatar
      novadam -
      Quote Originally Posted by Robertsdp View Post
      From my understanding the Judge ruled that the passcode is considered knowledge and thats why it protected and the fingerprint is not. With that in mind, isnt the knowledge of which finger unlocks the phone also "knowledge" and considered protected? Then they would have to guess which finger opens the phone.
      I don't see why they couldn't just order you to try each finger. If one finger is allowed, I'm not sure all 10 wouldn't be.
    1. Robertsdp's Avatar
      Robertsdp -
      Quote Originally Posted by novadam View Post
      I don't see why they couldn't just order you to try each finger. If one finger is allowed, I'm not sure all 10 wouldn't be.
      Yeah I'm sure they would, but then they are stuck with the phone being locked out after the whatever attempts the phone allows, so all the suspect needs to do is use the wrong fingers first.
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      I think they might catch on when you start with the pinkie finger of your non-dominant hand. Seems like it's be a heck of a lot easier to just hold sleep and home if the cops knock at your door.
    1. novadam's Avatar
      novadam -
      or just flush it down the toilet. Or does that only work with coke?
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      Quote Originally Posted by novadam View Post
      or just flush it down the toilet. Or does that only work with coke?
      Well, I know for sure you can't snort an iPhone.
    1. LatinGeo's Avatar
      LatinGeo -
      As for being a cop, who cares, is my iPhone 6 plus jailbroken yes. Now don't find yourself getting in to trouble by the police and you don't put yourself in that predicament simple.