Pass Phrases Protected; Fingerprints Not — Curiouser and Curiouser


And now comes another twist – a case from a lower Virginia state court (I can’t seem to find a copy of the opinion, so my analysis is based on this news report from Hampton Roads). The court held (consistent with the growing case law) that a defendant could not be compelled to unlock his cell phone by means of his passphrase. So far, so good.

But the defendant had made a mistake – he had also enabled the fingerprint unlock feature on his phone, so that it could be unlocked with the swipe of his finger. And the court went on to hold that the finger swipe was =not= protected and could be compelled.