- Fifth amendment doesnt protect fingerprints
- Case of David Baust
- Can be forced to unclock iPhone with fingerprint
Court Rules Police Can Force Users to Unlock iPhones With Fingerprints, But Not Passcodes
It so appears that Apple wasn’t thinking about any laws when it designed the fingerprint unlock technology because that apparently doesn’t take into account the Fifth Amendment and it wasn’t too long before someone noticed this. And it was a Circuit Judge in Virginia who ruled that the fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth amendment and this has led to some concerns regarding security. These privacy concerns can be related to the biometrically protected devices, including the newer iPhones and iPads.
This case has taken up importance since the incident involving David Baust in which he strangled his girlfriend. According to the prosecutors, there could possibly be a video of this incident stored on David’s phone which was apparently used by him to record what he did. They have henceforth requested the judge to force the defendant to unlock the phone. The matter is very clear in the eyes on the Fifth amendment which says that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This becomes the reason why there is no such law which can force David to divulge memorized information, such as passwords or passcodes. However, things get interesting here since no mention has been made of fingerprints in the amendment.
Judge Steven C. Frucci, who passed this ruling says that if you are providing the police with the fingerprint, then it is quite similar to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key and this is completely permitted by law. So this leaves the things to the way David’s phone is protected; he can be forced to unlock it if it’s protected with a fingerprint but not if it’s locked using a password or passcode.