Virginia Court Rules Police Can Force You to Unlock Your Phone With Fingerprint

Virginia Court Rules Police Can Force You to Unlock Your Phone With Fingerprint

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A circuit court judge in Virginia has ruled that a defendant can be compelled to give up their fingerprint to allow police to search through their phone; however, passcodes are still protected by law.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.

David Baust was accused of strangling his wife and prosecutors believed he had incriminating footage on the device. If Baust had a passcode on his device, he would have been protected; however, if he had used a fingerprint to unlock the device, police could have forced him to unlock the phone.

If Baust had an iPhone, he had to have had a passcode enabled as well, which would protect him under the law. A passcode on the iPhone is required after every reboot, 48 hours, or three-failed attempts at using the fingerprint sensor.

At the time it is unclear if this decision will have any privacy and security implications on most popular smartphones such as the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 having Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor

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Virginia Court Rules Police Can Force You to Unlock Your Phone With Fingerprint
odedo1 - November 3, 2014 at 4:32pm
It just shows that Apple security is better then ever, they decided that even if the government will ask for a bypass, not to put one and this way they won't have the dilemma of saying yes or no because there is none.
KMC King - November 1, 2014 at 3:13pm
CORRECTION: David Baust charged for felony strangulation of girlfriend that is still alive. He just choked her. He had charges dismissed in court in April 2014 and now she claims he recorded it on his phone. So, they want him to allow access to his phone in October 2014. If he recorded it, he deleted it. Weak case.
Justabrake - November 1, 2014 at 2:27pm
Land of the law unbelievable America is a laughing joke each state has their own laws ! What has this country come to !
Dyac - November 2, 2014 at 1:02pm
It's called democracy
Mukai - November 1, 2014 at 5:51am
Well sucks for them because mine is broken and I have it encrypted with a Cydia tweek. So they can try whatever, but they won't go anywhere. Stupid swines
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