The decision came as a part of a case in which Joseph Sam of Washington state was arrested last year and indicted on charges related to robbery and assault. During his arrest, an officer allegedly pressed the power button on his phone and called up the lock screen.
In February, the FBI turned on Sam’s phone to take a picture of the lock screen. His lawyer filed a motion saying the evidence shouldn’t have been collected without a warrant.
Judge John Coughenour of the US District Court in Seattle ruled in favor of that argument, stating that the FBI’s actions went against Sam’s Fourth Amendment rights. He determined that turning on Sam’s phone to take a picture of the lock screen qualifies as a “search” under the amendment. Because the FBI didn’t have a warrant, he deemed the act unconstitutional.
When it came to the issue of the police looking at Sam’s phone, the judge wrote they’re allowed to conduct searches without a search warrant in certain cases, and looking at the lock screen might have been OK since it “took place either incident to a lawful arrest or as part of the police’s efforts to inventory the personal effects” of Sam. Coughenour asked for a clarification on how the police acted to see whether their search fell within those categories.
Government attorneys said Sam shouldn’t have expected privacy related to his lock screen, since that’s what anyone sees whenever they try to access a phone. Coughenour said determining whether the lock screen is private doesn’t matter.
“When the government gains evidence by physically intruding on a constitutionally protected area — as the FBI did here — it is ‘unnecessary to consider’ whether the government also violated the defendant’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” the judge wrote.
Courts have previously stated that law enforcementwith their face, fingerprint or other biometric features.
- Georgia Tech Golf in 7th Place at Camp Creek – Georgia Tech Official Athletic Site
- Galaxy S21 Ultra has UWB. Here’s how ultra wideband tech will make your life easier – CNET
- Tech Sweeps Doubles & Singles on Day Two of MLK Invite – Georgia Tech Official Athletic Site
- Delta just offered a brave lesson in listening to customers, not tech – ZDNet
- Baylor vs. Texas Tech score: Bears use late surge to beat Red Raiders, remain undefeated with Kansas up next – CBS Sports
- CES Report: Beauty-tech trends to watch in 2021 – Glossy
- Startups at CES showed how tech can help elderly people and their caregivers – TechCrunch
- In China, Tech-Worker Deaths Spark Online Backlash – The Wall Street Journal
- No. 20/20 Tech defends its way through Wake Forest – VT hokiesports.com