Feds Raid Home, Require Residents to Unlock Phones


California police recently served a warrant that allowed them to require everyone in a residence to unlock mobile devices that were secured with a fingerprint.

On May 9, the Department of Justice requested that local law enforcement officers enter a residence in Lancaster and access all smartphones at that location.

"Authorization to depress the fingerprints and thumbprints of every person who is located at the subject premises during the execution of the search and who is reasonably believed by law enforcement to be the user of a fingerprint sensor-enabled device that is located at the subject premises and falls within the scope of the warrant," according to a memorandum signed by US Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen Decker, which was obtained by Forbes.

"While the government does not know ahead of time the identity of every digital device or fingerprint (or indeed, every other piece of evidence) that it will find in the search, it has demonstrated probable cause that evidence may exist at the search location, and needs the ability to gain access to those devices and maintain that access to search them," the memo reads. "For that reason, the warrant authorizes the seizure of passwords, encryption keys, and other access devices that may be necessary to access the device."

According to Forbes, the warrant was served; it covered phones made Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and HTC. The details of the case are unclear, but it's believed to be the first time a warrant has included such stipulations. Usually, the feds seize a smartphone but only gain access to its data if the owner opens it or law enforcement gains entry themselves by cracking the passcode.

That was the case with the iPhone 5c owned by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. The FBI asked Apple for access to the password-protected smartphone, but Apple declined, arguing that it would have to create a secondary mobile OS that put existing iPhone users at risk. After a very public back and forth, the FBI ultimately unlocked the iPhone with the help of a third party.

According to Forbes, the California memo cites cases as far back as 1910, and argues that it does not violate the Fourth or Fifth Amendments.

Not surprisingly, privacy advocates don't agree. "The government needs to say specifically what information they expect to find on the phone," the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Forbes.

0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


  • 5300c769af79e

    6 Reasons Designers Prototype

    Download It's almost counter-intuitive.When creating a new product - whether that's a sexy pair of audio headphones or building an iOS/Android app, slowing down to build a prototype will invariably speed up the launch.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Video: Short Clip Shows Working Galaxy Note 7 In-Hand

    August 2, the date set by Samsung for the unveiling of the Galaxy Note 7, is right around the corner.The latest is a very short clip posted to YouTube, showing someone fondling the device and pressing down on its buttons, apparently testing to make sure everything is functional.
  • 5300c769af79e

    LG V20 Specs (Official)

    The LG V20 is, of course, official and you hopefully ran through our first look video of it, but we know that more than a handful of you are probably curious about official specs.Since this is the newest V-line member from LG, you know they packed in a bunch of extra goodies that most smartphones aren’t going to have.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Google Store Opens Up Pixel and Pixel XL Orders Again, But With Some Delayed Shipping Times

    I know, that’s not exactly ground-breaking news, but Google Store orders of the Pixel XL in particular haven’t exactly been there for weeks outside of a few short pop-ups.Today, both the Pixel and Pixel XL can be ordered again from Google, though there are some wait times on the XL.