Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

1/15/2019
01:51 PM
100%
0%

US Judge: Police Can't Force Biometric Authentication

Law enforcement cannot order individuals to unlock devices using facial or fingerprint scans, a California judge says.

American law enforcement cannot force people to unlock devices using a facial or fingerprint scan, as stated in a new ruling intended to protect individuals from intrusive federal searches.

US judges had previously given authorities power to force people to unlock devices using biometric scans, even though they couldn't force them to share passcodes. A new ruling, which says all passcodes are equal, has been called a "potentially landmark" verdict, Forbes reports.

It comes from the US District Court for the Northern District of California, where a search warrant for an Oakland property was rejected. As part of a Facebook extortion crime investigation, police wanted to access phones on the property with biometric scans. Magistrate judge Kandis Westmore ruled this was "overbroad" as it didn't specify a person or device.

Even with a warrant, the judge said, government officials could not force people to incriminate themselves by using facial, fingerprint, or iris scans to unlock mobile devices. Passcodes and biometric scans can all be used to log into devices and should be treated the same. If someone cannot be forced to provide a passcode, they also cannot be forced into biometric scans.

Read more details here.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2019 | 6:57:34 PM
Re: Security vs privacy
@Stephen: What do you suggest?

Not being a jerk; I'm genuinely interested. Lots of competing interests here.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2019 | 6:56:37 PM
Re: Golden rule
@REISEN: Well put. We've already seen some examples of this insofar as using pictures of people to recreate images of their fingerprints/irises/etc.

As sometimes-contributor-to-Dark-Reading Terry Ray once put it (I paraphrase): Don't make your password public.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2019 | 6:53:59 PM
Re: Watch Out!
@Edward: It's not even necessarily gruesome in such examples. In Spaceballs, for instance, all the hero has to do is knock out the guy to use his handprint.
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2019 | 8:09:06 AM
Golden rule
Laws do so much and enforcement the same.  The safe and sane rule is to assume that whatever YOU put out there will BE hacked at some time in the future.  WE have control over what at least WE expose. Now there are data trails of life too - house sold, moved, and address databases by the score.  Employment history.  (I was surprised by the detail Georgia unemployment knew about me!!!)   But we can control SOME of it assume your history is OUT THERE and act accordingly.    Somebody somewhere knows everything about you. 
StephenGiderson
50%
50%
StephenGiderson,
User Rank: Strategist
2/4/2019 | 8:42:08 PM
Security vs privacy
In my opinion, everyone should be entitled to their own rights. This isn't just about giving them the privacy, but also making sure that they get the security that they deserve. There should be an alternative measure as a solution instead of enforcing a law that forces individuals to authenticate whenever required.
EdwardThirlwall
50%
50%
EdwardThirlwall,
User Rank: Moderator
2/1/2019 | 9:02:30 PM
Watch Out!
This is wrong on so many levels. But if you've watched as many movies as I have, if you can't crack the password to get into the data storage, it's as simple as torture. With biometrics, I'm sure you've seen what the bad guys do when they need someone's retina or fingerprint to get into the locked room right...
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2019 | 8:16:35 PM
USDC opinion
What's being missed here is that this opinion (1) represents a split from other court opinions in the US on this issue, and (2) comes out of a lowly federal district court. Consequently, it has no binding value in and of itself. So it remains to be seen what the widespread law of the land in the US on this issue is.

(Disclaimer: The above is provided for informational, educational, and/or entertainment purposes only. Neither this nor other posts here constitute legal advice or the creation, implication, or confirmation of an attorney-client relationship. For actual legal advice, personally consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.)
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2019 | 12:33:37 PM
Re: Evidence?
Agree - a warrant should do the job.  No cooperation = jail time for failing to assist and hindering an investigation.  Plus bearing all costs of an unlock procedure with, say, Apple.  
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2019 | 12:48:49 PM
Evidence?
I guess my question is, if you can't force a potential perpetrator to unlock their phone via warrant, can this be facilitated through a formal court injunction? If you can't, would there be any value in utilizing a phone as evidence? You would have to crack the code yourself which can take time and I would think in a criminal case that data on a phone would be valuable to the verity of the case.
For Cybersecurity to Be Proactive, Terrains Must Be Mapped
Craig Harber, Chief Technology Officer at Fidelis Cybersecurity,  10/8/2019
A Realistic Threat Model for the Masses
Lysa Myers, Security Researcher, ESET,  10/9/2019
USB Drive Security Still Lags
Dark Reading Staff 10/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-17545
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
GDAL through 3.0.1 has a poolDestroy double free in OGRExpatRealloc in ogr/ogr_expat.cpp when the 10MB threshold is exceeded.
CVE-2019-17546
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
tif_getimage.c in LibTIFF through 4.0.10, as used in GDAL through 3.0.1 and other products, has an integer overflow that potentially causes a heap-based buffer overflow via a crafted RGBA image, related to a "Negative-size-param" condition.
CVE-2019-17547
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
In ImageMagick before 7.0.8-62, TraceBezier in MagickCore/draw.c has a use-after-free.
CVE-2019-17501
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
Centreon 19.04 allows attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands via the Command Line field of main.php?p=60807&type=4 (aka the Configuration > Commands > Discovery screen).
CVE-2019-17539
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
In FFmpeg before 4.2, avcodec_open2 in libavcodec/utils.c allows a NULL pointer dereference and possibly unspecified other impact when there is no valid close function pointer.