Debates about privacy rights and security are as old as America itself. And now, a Virginia Circuit Court ruled this week, those who favor fingerprint technology, like Apple’s Touch ID, to protect their mobile devices have fewer rights than those who use passcodes.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, David Baust, an emergency medical services captain, was recently charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Police believe they may be able to access video of the attack if they can unlock Baust’s passcode-protected phone to retrieve it.
A passcode, Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled, is considered knowledge and covered under the Fifth Amendment, which protects defendants from self-incrimination. A fingerprint, however, is not protected, and police can compel a suspect to hand over their fingerprint just like DNA or handwriting samples, Judge Frucci said.
So if you want to protect the information on your mobile device from prying police eyes, consider implementing a passcode or maybe just use your heartbeat–though we’re not sure if your heartbeat is any safer than your fingerprint…