Posted by on October 3, 2018 2:10 pm
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Categories: Aaron Kesel apple Biometrics Civil Liberties Constitution FBI Liberty Privacy Science Technology

By Aaron Kesel

According to a new report by Forbes, for the first time in the U.S. and possibly the world, law enforcement have accessed a suspect’s phone by using their face to unlock the smart device using Face ID.

The incident took place on August 10th, when the FBI searched the house of 28-year-old Ohio resident Grant Michalski.

Michalski was later charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. Michalski was told to put his face in front of the phone, unlocking the device. This allowed agents to look through his online chats, photos, and other material revealing the illicit content.

The iPhone X turned out to contain alleged incriminating information, such as conversations using the popular chat app Kik Messenger, discussing the abuse of minors in detail.

Although, things weren’t entirely successful. The report notes that:

“Whilst [David Knight, special agent with the FBI] may’ve found some evidence of criminal activity when he manually searched the device, in one respect the forced Face ID unlock of the iPhone X was a failure. It wasn’t possible to siphon off all the data within using forensic technologies. That was because the passcode was unknown.

In modern iPhones, to hook the cellphone up to a computer and transfer files or data between the two, the passcode is required if the device has been locked for an hour or more. And forensic technologies, which can draw out far more information at speed than can be done manually, need the iPhone to connect to a computer.

It appears Knight didn’t keep the device open long enough and so couldn’t start pulling out data with forensic kits. He admitted he wasn’t able to get all the information he wanted, including app use and deleted files. What Knight did get he documented by taking pictures.”

However, there have been plenty of instances of law enforcement expressing concerns about encryption (Apple v.s. FBI San Bernardino case), as well as situations where police have used someone’s fingerprint to open a phone, including a dead man earlier this year in a funeral home.

This has never happened before where someone’s face has been used to unlock a device; and, despite the reasoning, we all need to worry about our rights because of this development.

The scarier prospect is that, as the Forbes’ report notes, it appears the FBI did everything legally by the book. This alludes to the concept that Face ID, like Touch ID, is not protected by the same Fifth Amendment clause stating that a person can’t incriminate themselves.

Biometric passwords are not considered to be covered by the same law, although this could be open to argument in court and the Supreme Court going forward.

In past interpretations of the Fifth Amendment, suspects have not been compelled to hand over their passcodes as it could amount to self-incrimination, but the same protections aren’t given for biometric data.

Citing a Supreme Court decision in Schmerber v. California, a 1966 case in which the police took a suspect’s blood without his consent, the government has expressed that self-incrimination protections would not apply to the use of a person’s “body as evidence when it may be material.”

Last year, a federal judge in Chicago rejected a request to force suspects to provide their fingerprints to unlock a personal device.

It may seem like a good idea to allow the FBI to force a child porn suspect like Michalski to hand over his data by forcing him to do facial recognition. However, it’s important to express the government doesn’t pick and choose — once rights are eradicated, that’s it — the decision weakens everyone’s rights, not just sick deplorable pedophiles.

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Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

The article, "Feds Force Child Porn Suspect To Unlock Smartphone With His Face", was syndicated from and first appeared at: https://www.activistpost.com/2018/10/feds-force-child-porn-suspect-to-unlock-smartphone-with-his-face.html.

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