Utah Supreme Court rules you don't have to give your cell phone passcode - even with search warrant

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So I happened on this article while looking for something else and found it very interesting. Utah Supreme court ruled that you don't have to provide your cell phone passcode to police - even if a judge has issued a search warrant specifically for it - because it violates your 5th amendment constitutional protection of being forced into self incrimination.

I found it interesting. Obviosly only applies to Utah so far, but it is an interesting example of how laws are finally catching up to modern technology and communications.

 
Indeed; interesting.
I think this is a good decision and should be promulgated to all States.
Electronic tech provides many challenges to contemporary law enforcement.

We can't force suspects to rat on themselves by telling us where they hid the stolen goods, or buried the body. Why should this be any different?
If the LEOs want the info inside the phone, get a warrant, seize the item(s) and have it "hacked" open by a qualified and competent forensic person.
 
...you don´t have to provide your passcode to police, cause you got Face ID! ...and Touch ID.

No passcode needed. If you do have a passcode, hopefully it is at least 8 characters, and you had the phone OFF when seized.
it is an interesting example of how laws are finally catching up to modern technology and communications.
You mean like connecting your phone via bluetooth to an automobile, that stores every sms with no delete function? ...company will allow accessibility to the police.(that has been ruled perfectly legal)
 
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Apparently, and not speaking for Utah, using a face scan or fingerprint is less secure because you can be coerced into giving those up.
Yes, I found the ruling interesting. It makes no mention of expectation of privacy or anything other than a fifth amendment complaint. So reading between the lines - presumably if they can get in any other way, then its admissible?
 
This kind of gets into the weeds ....

Using someone's face (where there is no physical contact) to unlock a phone would be a very gray line IMO. Will probably end up falling both for and against people in different states, and end up at SCOTUS. Forcing a person to unlock a phone with fingerprint would, IMO, be a violation of the 5th.

Upon probable cause, a warrant can be issued and lots of things can be taken from people.
It is now not uncommon to even have warrants for blood/DNA collected from suspects; it's been done for criminal prosecution of DUIs, rape, murder, etc.

So this really is a fledgling concept that needs to be refined at the highest levels.


Seizing the device and having it hacked forensically is probably the best approach; the least risk to having a verdict overturned or evidence excluded.
 
...you don´t have to provide your passcode to police, cause you got Face ID! ...and Touch ID.

No passcode needed. If you do have a passcode, hopefully it is at least 8 characters, and you had the phone OFF when seized.

You mean like connecting your phone via bluetooth to an automobile, that stores every sms with no delete function? ...company will allow accessibility to the police.(that has been ruled perfectly legal)
On iPhones if you tap the power button 5 times in quick succession it will instantly disable Face ID/Touch ID and require your passcode to regain access to the phone.
 
Apparently, and not speaking for Utah, using a face scan or fingerprint is less secure because you can be coerced into giving those up.

I think the face scan/print is more about the expectation of privacy. In public or attending a public event there is no expectation of privacy for an unobtrusive face scan or a latent print left behind at a concession stand or lavatory.
 
On iPhones if you tap the power button 5 times in quick succession it will instantly disable Face ID/Touch ID and require your passcode to regain access to the phone.
With question I think passcode is most secure. Anyone can hold you (dead or alive) and open your phone with face/Touch ID.

A passcode is stored in your brain, I am not a criminal but I have thought about turning off Face ID 🧐
 
So the federal government at least has my finger prints, facial scan and retina scan on file as I have done civilian contractor work. Presumably they could use those to open a phone since I gave them voluntarily?

I personally have never used face ID or the fingerprint thing because I don't think its as secure personally, not from a warrant but in general. Also makes it impossible for my wife to open my phone, which I hand to her when the kids text wanting something :)
 
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