How You Unlock Your Phone May Determine if Police Can Access It Without Your Consent

by | Feb 8, 2020


You may find it more convenient to unlock your phone by pressing your fingerprint on or staring at the phone screen instead of typing out a password. But, some courts have determined that having your phone set to be unlocked via your biometric information will also make it much more convenient for police and prosecutors seeking to gain access to all the private information in your phone.

Jonathan Hofer provides the details in a Thursday Independent Institute article. In a recent decision, writes Hofer, a court concluded that, while phone passwords are protected from forced disclosure because the passwords are “contents of the mind” the disclosure of which would be a testimonial act that may not be forced under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, there is no constitutional prohibition against requiring unlocking of a phone via the use of a body part such as the pressing of a finger on a phone screen.

Read Hofer’s article here.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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