ICYMI – Police in Michigan are asking the 3D Print Lab at Michigan State University to replicate a dead man’s finger to unlock his phone in the hopes it will reveal clues to solve his murder.
The victim’s body was apparently too decayed for a fingerprint to be directly applied to the phone, but the police already had a scan of the victim’s prints from when the man was arrested in a previous case.
Per Fusion, the courts draw a distinction between a fingerprint password and a memorized one. “Courts generally draw a line between the ‘contents of the mind’ (which is protected) and ‘tangible’ bodily evidence like blood, DNA, and fingerprints (which is not),” said Bryan Choi, a security, law and technology researcher.
He further argues that in this day and age, phones should be considered extensions of the mind and therefore protected under the Fifth Amendment and not just the Fourth Amendment (protection against illegal search and seizure).
“We offload so many of our personal thoughts, moments, tics, and habits to our cellphones,” Choi told Fusion. “Having those contents aired in court feels like having your innermost thoughts extracted and spilled unwillingly in public.”
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