California Judge Makes Major Decision in Biometric Privacy Rights
A California judge ruled that the government can not force any person involved in an investigation to use biometric means, such as a fingerprint, thumbprint, face or iris scan, to unlock a phone or other device. This decision is potentially major, and could affect personal privacy rights everywhere in the future. US Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore of the Northern District of California ruled that federal authorities were potentially in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by coercing an individual to unlock a device for search with biometric means. This had been allowed previously despite passwords and PIN numbers being protected under the Fifth Amendment. A New Frontier The government had considered using a thumb press or facial scan to unlock a device the same as submitting a fingerprint or a DNA sample. The thinking was that since investigators could require an individual to give their fingerprints as evidence they could also ask them to use their fingerprints to