[h=1]Apples Fingerprint ID May Mean You Cant Take the Fifth[/h]
- By Marcia Hofmann
- 9:29 AM
- Wired EXCERPT:
Theres a lot of talk around biometric authentication since Apple introduced its newest iPhone, which will let users unlock their device with a fingerprint. Given Apples industry-leading position, its probably not a far stretch to expect this kind of authentication to take off. Some even argue that Apples move is a death knell for authenticators based on what a user knows (like passwords and PIN numbers). While theres a great deal of discussion around the pros and cons of fingerprint authentication from the hackability of the technique to the reliability of readers no ones focusing on the legal effects of moving from PINs to fingerprints.
Because the constitutional protection of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, may not apply when it comes to biometric-based fingerprints (things that reflect who we are) as opposed to memory-based passwords and PINs (things we need to know and remember).
The privilege against self-incrimination is an important check on the governments ability to collect evidence directly from a witness. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Fifth Amendment broadly applies not only during a criminal prosecution, but also to any other proceeding civil or criminal, formal or informal, where answers might tend to incriminate us. Its a constitutional guarantee deeply rooted in English law dating back to the 1600s, when it was used to protect people from being tortured by inquisitors to force them to divulge information that could be used against them.
Interesting article. It occurred to me that the fingerprint scanner could be a real boon to law enforcement, since the NSA is collecting so called "Meta data" a fingerprint of a fugitive, and don't think criminals don't like the latest phones too, pops up, an email is sent to the closest police department, and viola! A SWAT team descends, guns blazing on the reclusive felon...
But, there could easily be BAD uses too...
Think how easy it would be to round up political rivals...