A new ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California prohibits police from forcing people to unlock a mobile phone with their face, iris, or fingerprint data. The ruling was delivered in response to a search warrant request that sought biometric access to unlock all devices at a residence in Oakland. Judge Kandis Westmore denied the request, stating that biometric features were equal to a password and that they also enjoyed the same protections:
The Fourth Amendment states that have people have the right to be secure in their houses against unreasonable searches and seizures, while the Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. From the ruling:
As noted by Forbes, the ruling is a landmark decision for privacy advocates, but it remains to be seen if the District Court's verdict will be upheld in the higher courts.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.