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US cops can demand fingerprint, not passcode, to access your phone

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iPhone 5S Touch ID
"Hand over those digits, son!"

A US court has ruled that it’s fair for police to demand your fingerprint to unlock a smartphone, as part of evidence acquisition.

It’s an interesting ruling largely because they can’t demand that you hand over a passcode.

This means that if you’ve opted for fingerprint security on your blower, US law enforcement could make you hand over the tips and dig through your phone.

The precedent was set at Virginia court, whereby a man from the state was accused of trying to kill his girlfriend.

Police thought that man might have used his smartphone to record the incident, and thus wanted access to the handset to incriminate him.

Courts can’t demand smartphone passcodes over in the US because it violates the 5th amendment, which declares that the state can’t make individuals incriminate themselves.

The judge presiding over the case, Steven Frucci, however reckons fingerprints are much more akin to DNA and handwriting.

It’s an interesting precedent, particularly as there’s more smartphones now touting fingerprint sensors than ever before.

Apple introduced its own fingerprint-scanning tech, Touch ID, back with the iPhone 5S. It’s since appeared on all subsequent iPhone models, as well as the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3.

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Via: Pilot Online

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