from the something-you-have,-something-you-are,-something-you-know dept.
FBI is quietly waging a different encryption battle in a Los Angeles courtroom. The authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home. The phone uses Apple's fingerprint identification system for unlocking. It's a rare case were prosecutors have demanded a person provide a fingerprint to unlock a computer, but experts expect such cases to become more common.
In a Circuit Court decision in Virginia 2014, the judge ruled that a criminal defendant cannot use Fifth Amendment protections to safeguard a phone that is locked using his or her fingerprint. According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint. The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it doesn't protect fingerprints in the eyes of the law. Frucci said that "giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A passcode, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against.
In other words fingerprints are bad security. On the other hand... maybe some fingers like 9 out of 10, instead can trigger a silent self-destruct?
Synaptics has created a 0.7 mm thick fingerprint sensor that can scan your finger from underneath a smartphone display, and the first company to use it will be the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo:
A few days ago, Synaptics announced that it's ready to mass-produce a fingerprint sensor that can be placed under the display of a smartphone, teasing that a top five smartphone maker is going to use the technology later this year. Synaptics' press release made it look like Samsung may be the first company to make use of its technology. But it looks like that won't be the case, as a new report reveals the company that will make this hotly anticipated handset... and if you're in the United States, you've probably never even heard of it.
[...] Forbes claims to have learned that Vivo will make the first smartphone to use Synaptics' Clear ID sensor.
Vivo, a company whose name might not be familiar to you, is actually a top-five smartphone maker thanks to its large presence in Chine[sic]. Forbes contributor Patrick Moorhead got to test the Clear ID sensor:
The Clear ID experience was fast and simple- I pressed the right side button to wake, a fingerprint image illuminated at the bottom of the phone, I touched it, and it let me in. I am expecting Vivo to modify the experience, so I just have to "hold to wake" so I do not even have to use the button.
- Fingerprint sensors under the display are going to be a real thing in 2018
- The first phone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor will come from Vivo