Judge Orders Woman to Use Her Fingerprint to Unlock iPhone

Judge Orders Woman to Use Her Fingerprint to Unlock iPhone

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A judge has ordered a Los Angeles area woman to use her fingerprint to unlock her iPhone for the FBI.

Authorities managed to obtain a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone in order to unlock it via Touch ID. Prosecutors wanted access to the data inside the device.

The phone belonging to 29 year old Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan was seized from a residence linked to Sevak Mesrobian, a member of an Armenian Power gang with the moniker of "40."

About 45 minutes after Bkhchadzhyan was taken into custody, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg signed off on the warrant which ordered the defendant to press her finger on the phone.

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can search phones with a warrant and compel a person in custody to provide their fingerprints without a judge's permission, the situation surrounding biometric data is different as it could lead to self-incrimination.

"It isn't about fingerprints and the biometric readers," said Susan Brenner, a law professor at the University of Dayton, but rather, "the contents of that phone, much of which will be about her, and a lot of that could be incriminating."

It could be argued that the act of compelling a person to unlock their iPhone via fingerprint breaches their 5th Amendment rights to protection against self-incrimination. Essentially, Bkchadzhyan was forced to testify without uttering a word. By unlocking the phone she authenticated its contents.

"By showing you opened the phone, you showed that you have control over it," Brenner said. "It's the same as if she went home and pulled out paper documents — she's produced it."

Others argue that it's not self-incriminating. Director of Privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society Albert Gidari says, "Unlike disclosing passcodes, you are not compelled to speak or say what's 'in your mind' to law enforcement. 'Put your finger here' is not testimonial or self-incriminating."

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Judge Orders Woman to Use Her Fingerprint to Unlock iPhone
clown - May 2, 2016 at 7:39pm
Well that me be the case , but if she did not have control over phone at the time of arrest. Not sure how its valid
Dude.... - May 2, 2016 at 7:35pm
She is a scumbag who is involved with Vermin in gangs. Let this "privacy issue" slide iClarified. No need to stir the privacy pot on this one
clown - May 2, 2016 at 6:15pm
Sounds like he was using th phone, or left the phone their. Not sure how they can force someone to unlock a device that did not have control of at the time of someone's arrest
Aaron Z - May 2, 2016 at 6:43pm
Law enforcement seizes anything and everything they can to build a case against you. Keep your device is password-protected, and keep your mouth shut when dealing with law-enforcement. Watch cops, notice how they are all friendly while they have conversations with suspects? Little does the suspect no, they are burying themselves
clown - May 2, 2016 at 6:13pm
Good question, but the article said was not her phone.
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