An FBI investigation into a prostitution ring came to a screeching halt by, of all things, the pattern lock on the pimp’s Android phone.
Naturally, the FBI did the next logical thing: issued a warrant on Google, reports Ars Technnica.
The FBI forensics technicians couldn’t figure out how to get around the pattern lock. Apparently the technicians entered the wrong pattern so many times, they locked the phone. At that point, the only way to unlock it was to enter the Google account credentials.
So the FBI took a warrant to Google demanding Google give them the credentials — and the phone’s data. (PDF of the warrant here.)
We’ve got a tip for FBI’s technicians for next time: smudges on your phone give the pattern away.
Google wouldn’t say whether it would hand over the info, but a spokesperson told us, “Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal process. Whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.”
We don’t comment on specific cases.