Good news from Thomas Brewster:
A California judge has ruled that American cops can’t force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger.
No Touch ID or Face ID for you, Mister Cop. You know that forces within the government cannot be happy with that decision, and it won’t be the last on the matter.
The ruling goes further to protect people’s private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision.
Wait a minute. I’m certain I read about a similar case where iPhone users were required to open their phones to authorities– but not cough up the password.
Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises. That was despite the fact feds weren’t permitted to force a suspect to divulge a passcode.
Precedent? Yes. Another judge, circa 2016, again in California:
Law enforcement personnel are authorized to depress the fingerprints and/or thumbprints of the person covered by this warrant onto the Touch ID sensor of the Apple iPhone seized… on 25 February.
Uh oh. Such proceedings go in different directions all the time, so what’s going to happen? For now, there is precedent on top of a precedent so you can expect members of SCOTUS to hear similar cases in the somewhat distant future?
Why not now?
What prevents SCOTUS from hearing a similar case and setting a longer term lock down for or against such actions by the feds? Politicians want to stack the court in a way that will lean toward greater surveillance, fewer personal liberties, and more options and opportunity to gather data from you and your iPhone.
For now, authorities cannot force you to unlock your iPhone using password, Touch ID, or Face ID.
That may change tomorrow.