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