Science

USA cops are using dead people's fingerprints to unlock iPhones

USA cops are using dead people's fingerprints to unlock iPhones”

Federal Bureau of Investigation forensics specialist Bob Moledor has detailed that case for Forbes and says that in that particular case, the fingerprint of the deceased didn't open the iPhone and it was accessed using other means.

According to a report by Forbes, separate sources close to local and federal police investigations in NY and OH said it is now relatively common for fingerprints of the deceased to be depressed on the scanner of Apple iPhone devices, which have been wrapped up in increasingly powerful encryption over recent years.

Individual's privacy rights end with their death, according to the report, and any information shared with a deceased individual is fair game for police. Forbes cites sources that talked off the record about separate cases in NY and OH where fingerprints of the deceased did unlock iPhones for authorities.

One example given in the report is using the fingerprint of an overdose victim to unlock their phone and potentially identify their drug dealer.

The article highlights that "once a person is deceased, they no longer have a privacy interest in their dead body". Apparently so. According to United States law, the police are well within their rights to use the technique, even if there might be some ethical quandaries. That means they no longer have standing in court to assert privacy rights.

Robert Cutshall, an OH police homicide detective who worked on the Artan case said that police is aware too.

In some cases this has been successfully used, while others not so much merely because of the time lapsed in between.

As for Face ID, Marc Rogers, a Cloudfare security researcher said that face recognition technology can be fooled by "simply using photos of open eyes".

What do you think of police using a dead person's fingerprint to unlock their iPhone?



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