Cops Can Force You to Unlock Your Phone With Your Fingerprint, but Not Your Passcode

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, reporting for Mashable back in 2014:

Cops can force you to unlock your smartphone with your fingerprint — but they can’t force you to unlock it with your passcode, according to a judge in Virginia.

The decision, one of the first ones to deal with fingerprints and cellphones, confirms the fact that law enforcement agents can get access to a locked phone with legal means if they need to. At the same time a PIN or a password might enjoy more protection than a fingerprint.

This is why it’s so great that iOS 11’s new easily-invoked Emergency SOS mode requires you to enter your passcode after invoking it. When you’re entering customs or in a situation where you’re worried you’re about to be arrested, you can quickly disable Touch ID without even taking your phone out of your pocket.

Until iOS 11 ships, it’s worth remembering that you’ve always been able to require your iPhone’s passcode to unlock it by powering it off. A freshly powered-on iPhone always requires the passcode to unlock.

Friday, 18 August 2017