- US police are accessing the phones of dead people by using their fingerprints, according to Forbes.
- One example given was using an overdose victim’s fingerprint to unlock their phone and potentially identify their dealer.
Police in the US are regularly using dead people’s fingerprints to unlock their smartphones, according to a new report in Forbes.
Forbes spoke to anonymous sources who said that it’s now “relatively common” for dead people’s fingerprints to be used to unlock their phones.
One example given in the report is using the fingerprint of an overdose victim to unlock their phone and potentially identify their drug dealer.
Forbes’ report specifically mentions iPhones as devices that police have used dead people’s fingerprints to unlock.
Apple is famously protective of the data on its phones, and publicly took a stand against the FBI in 2016 when it requested that Apple unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good,” wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook, “it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products.”
Now, it seems that police have a far simpler way of unlocking phones than filing court orders against Apple: They can simply press a dead person’s finger on the sensor.