Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’

“A judge recently took the controversial step of letting the FBI force a woman to unlock an iPhone with her fingerprints. But it didn’t work,” Jose Pagliery reports for CNNMoney. “CNNMoney has learned that the FBI was unable to open an iPhone in Los Angeles.”

“It’s an important detail when debating how new technology — and new police methods — affect Americans’ Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination,” Pagliery reports. “The LA Times article posed a pivotal question: If a person can’t be forced to unlock their phones by revealing their passcode, why is a judge forcing a person to unlock a phone with her fingerprints?”

“As it turns out, the method didn’t work anyway. ‘They forced her to use all 10 fingers to unlock the phone. But it didn’t unlock the phone,’ said George G. Mgdesyan, the attorney who represented the couple,” Pagliery reports. “When that didn’t work, FBI agents tried an alternative route, he said. ‘They asked for a password. She said, ‘It’s not my phone,” Mgdesyan explained.”

MacDailyNews Note: When an iPhone hasn’t been unlocked using the Touch ID feature for 48 hours, the device will demand the passcode.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As David Oscar Markus, a Miami defense attorney who’s quoted in the article says: “Sometimes the law gets too cute. We shouldn’t leave common sense out of the equation. The process is the same thing. You’re getting access to someone’s most private information by forcing someone to give you the key.”

You carry forever the fingerprint that comes from being under someone’s thumb. — Nancy Banks-Smith

To set a stronger alphanumeric passcode on your iOS device that cannot be easily brute-forced:
1. Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. On devices without Touch ID, go to Settings > Passcode
2. Tap Change Passcode
3. Tap Passcode Options to switch to a custom alphanumeric code
4. Enter your new, stronger passcode again to confirm it and activate it

The Touch ID lock on your iPhone isn’t cop-proof – May 11, 2016
U.S. government wants your fingerprints to unlock your phone – May 1, 2016
Should you disable Touch ID for your own security? – May 9, 2016
Apple supplier LG Innotek embeds fingerprint sensor into display – May 4, 2016
U.S. government wants your fingerprints to unlock your phone – May 1, 2016
Android fingerprint scanners fooled by inkjet printer – March 8, 2016
Android fingerprint sensors aren’t as secure as iPhone’s Touch ID – August 10, 2015
Apple files for patent to move Touch ID fingerprint scanner from home button to display – February 9, 2015

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