“A reality TV actress accused in an extortion case involving sex videos must give up her iPhone password to police, a Miami judge ruled on Wednesday,” David Ovalle reports for The Miami Herald.

“In a case being closely watched in legal and tech circles, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Charles Johnson ruled that Hencha Voigt, and a man charged with being her accomplice, must unlock phones police believe were used in a plot to extort a social-media celebrity,” Ovalle reports. “He ruled that unlocking their phones would not violate their constitutional right against self-incrimination. ‘For me, this is like turning over a key to a safe-deposit box,’ Johnson said.”

“The decision was the latest in the ongoing struggles of the courts to decide how much access law-enforcement can have to smartphones, tablets and hard drives, many of them locked with sophisticated encryption,” Ovalle reports. “Across the country, judges have split about whether to force defendants to open electronic devices. Florida’s Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the issue.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Note that when an iPhone hasn’t been unlocked using the Touch ID feature for 48 hours, or has been restarted, the iPhone will require the passcode to unlock.

At issue is the following:

U.S. Constitution


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

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. — Miami defense attorney David Oscar Markus, May 2016

Ultimately, if not in this case, for a similar one, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely have to weigh in on this issue.

Miami sextortion case asks if a suspect can be forced to hand over Apple iPhone password – April 28, 2017
Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’ – May 12, 2016
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
U.S. government wants your fingerprints to unlock your phone – May 1, 2016
Virginia police can now force you to unlock your smartphone with your fingerprint – October 31, 2014
Apple’s Touch ID may mean U.S. iPhone 5s users can’t ‘take the fifth’ – September 12, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5S with biometric identification: Big Brother’s dream? – September 11, 2013