FB pixel

Warrant served on US suspect forcing him to unlock phone with biometric lock

Warrant served on US suspect forcing him to unlock phone with biometric lock
 

For years, the Internet has argued if police in the United States can force a suspect to open their phone with their face. Expert (and otherwise) opinion and court rulings have only further muddied things.

The issue remains unsettled, but an article on Forbes.com reports on a federal warrant dated July 13 that successfully forced a suspect to unlock an encrypted messaging app on his iPhone.

Forbes points out that the FBI, which wielded this warrant, has made owners of iPhones to unlock the devices using Face ID. This is the first such tool used in the United States to access a biometrically encrypted messaging app.

Some civil rights advocates maintain that that suspect was forced to incriminate himself by opening Wickr just the same as if he had been persuaded to give police a password (which, to date, has been held generally to be illegal self-incrimination.)

In this specific case, the FBI served the warrant on a Tennessee man suspected of trafficking in child sexual abuse material, a federal crime.

It is not known if the federal government has used this kind of search warrant to prosecute other, less visceral, crimes.

It is a topic that has been percolating for years and is unlikely to be settled until it is heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A year ago, a South Carolina judge asked the state attorney general how likely it is that state higher courts would approve of forced biometric compliance. The answer? Go for it.

Two years ago, New York City police handcuffed a Queens resident who had photographed officers not wearing Covid masks. They tried to hold his phone in front of his face so that it unlocked.

And in 2019, a U.S. magistrate judge ruled biometric locks are protected by the Fifth Amendment protection people from self-incrimination.

Perhaps the only thing that can be said with certainty about the situation is that no one has made it illegal to disable biometric locks before handing a phone to law enforcement.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News

 

UN says law enforcement should not use biometrics to surveil protestors

Law enforcement agencies should not use biometric technology to categorize, profile or remotely identify individuals during protests, the United Nations…

 

How to explain the EUDI Wallet? Industry and citizens discuss Europe’s digital ID

The European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet is well on its way towards becoming a reality. To explain the major impact…

 

Decentralize face authentication for control, stronger protection: Youverse

The implementation method of biometric face authentication has become increasingly important in recent years due to the limitations of traditional…

 

Researchers develop display screens with biometric sensor capabilities

Traditional display screens like those built into smartphones require extra sensors for touch control, ambient light, and fingerprint sensing. These…

 

Meta, porn industry and Kansas governor weigh in on age verification

As Europe mulls how to restrict access to certain content for minors, Meta offers its own solution. Meanwhile, U.S. states…

 

As national U.S. data privacy law becomes more likely, critics emerge to point out flaws

The push for comprehensive privacy legislation in the U.S. is gaining momentum, as the proposed American Privacy Rights Act 2024…

Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read From This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events