January 25, 2019

Justin Kay Comments on Case Curtailing Law Enforcement’s Use of Biometrics

Chicago partner Justin Kay was quoted in an ECTNews Network article for TechNewsWorld entitled “Court: Cops Can't Compel the Use of Body Parts to Unlock Phones.”

A federal court in California recently ruled that governmental authorities cannot compel individuals to unlock devices using biometrics (such as a face-scan or finger-scan), equating such information to passwords, which are sheltered under the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. Justin discussed the implications for law enforcement going forward, noting that, while “Defendants and potential defendants are going to be citing this, and other courts will invoke its reasoning,” “Law enforcement is creative and diligent . . . and will find a way to get in even when they can’t get in through cooperation.”

He also commented on the authentication process, and the importance of biometric information as a means of additional security: “Biometric authentication is just one layer in what should be multifactor authentication. The technology should be used with a passcode. It should be used to make sure that the person inputting the passcode is the person that should be inputting the passcode.”

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