A US judge gave the cops permission to force people's fingers onto seized iPhones to see who could unlock them, a newly unsealed search warrant has revealed.
Specifically, Judge Judith Dein, of the federal district court of Massachusetts, gave agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the right to press Robert Brito-Pina's fingers on any iPhone found in his apartment in Boston. The bloke was suspected to be trafficking guns, hence the application for a search warrant. In fact, anyone nabbed at the property would be forced to use their fingers to unlock any cellphones seized at the home, according to the court filing.No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This is why you should never use your fingerprint (or face) to unlock your phone:
What is notable about the warrant, surfaced this week by Law360, is that law enforcement is drawing a clear distinction between forcing someone to place their fingers on a phone to unlock it and forcing them to give officers the passcode to unlock it. The first is physical; the second is mental, and brings with it both Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues.