Why the Constitution Can Protect Passwords But Not Fingerprint Scans

Time Magzine: Why the Constitution Can Protect Passwords But Not Fingerprint Scans

Fingerprint scans are more secure, except when it comes to the Fifth Amendment

Cellphone fingerprint passcodes weren’t on James Madison’s mind when he
authored the Fifth Amendment, a constitutional protection with roots in
preventing torture by barring self-incriminating testimonials in court cases.

Yet those tiny skin ridges we all share were at the heart of a Virginia court case
last week in which a judge ruled that police, who suspected there was
incriminating evidence on a suspect’s smartphone, could legally force
the man to unlock his device with its fingerprint scanner. While the
Fifth Amendment protects defendants from revealing their numeric
passcodes, which would be considered a self-incriminating testimonial,
biometrics like fingerprint scans fall outside the law’s scope.

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Madison can be forgiven, but it’s been barely a few years since present-time security experts were telling us that typed passwords were not enough. 12345678 rocks!

Which is why one should use both something you are and something you know. Add something you have to the mix and you have the hat trick of security.