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1/15/2019
01:51 PM
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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.

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Joe Stanganelli
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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50%
EdwardThirlwall,
User Rank: Apprentice
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
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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
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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
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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.
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