There was a story that made the news here in Minnesota yesterday that made me think maybe I don't want to use my phone's touch-ID thumbprint feature anymore.


The Go MN story concerned the recent Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling that upheld that, here in Minnesota, you CAN be required to use your thumb or fingerprint to unlock your phone.

It centered on an appeal by a Minnesota man whose phone was seized in a search warrant during a burglary investigation. A judge ordered the man to use his fingerprint to open the phone. Inside, of course, was data authorities used to ultimately find the man guilty.

His attorney argued, though, that his being forced to use his thumbprint to open the phone violated his Fifth Amendment rights against incriminating himself. The courts disagreed, saying it was similar to providing police with a blood sample or standing in a line-up-- all of which are allowed.

However, some courts have also ruled that having to provide authorities a passcode to unlock your phone WOULD violate that same amendment-- because that forces a suspect to communicate knowledge – which could be possibly self-incriminating.

So, even though I'm certainly not condoning doing anything illegal-- and then storing records of it on your phone-- it looks to me like if you want the contents of your phone to remain private, it's apparently best to not use that touch ID feature here in Minnesota.

Of course, I'm probably being more than a little paranoid, because I'm sure that whether I'm using the touch ID or not, if the authorities ever really needed to access the contents of my phone during a criminal investigation, they'd find a legal way to do so.

And, yes, I'm still using the touch ID feature on my phone. But the ruling did make me pause to think about whether I still want to or not...

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