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Kim’s Take: Federal judge rules that police can’t force you to unlock your cell phone

Yesterday, a northern California federal judge ruled that police can’t force anyone to unlock their smartphones using biometrics – fingerprints or facial I.D.

But hold on. This case is far from over.

The Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that, in a very narrow set of circumstances that apply to very few people, neither police nor the feds could force smartphone users to hand over passwords.

And now, thanks to the California judge yesterday, should the police officer or a federal investigator demands access your smartphone, they probably can’t use your eyes, face, or fingerprint to force you to unlock it.

But this debate is far from over. Different judges in different legal jurisdictions have issued conflicting rulings on this very question.

So if law enforcement demands access to your smartphone, remember: This case is not cut and dry. You need an attorney.


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