• Patricia Brandt, Attorney

Can Police Officers Force You to Unlock Your Cellphone?

Short answer is YES. The longer answer is yes, it depends. Technology seems like great news to most people, until you realize it could be used against you by police officers.

During an investigation in Columbus, Ohio, an FBI agent forced a suspect to reveal his face to unlock his iPhone X. A person was forced to unlock his phone with his face (facial recognition software) on August 10th, 2018. This allowed the FBI agent to pick through the suspect's online chats, photos and whatever else he deemed worthy of investigation.

Confusion exists about what police officers can and cannot force you to do because technology moves quicker than the law.

The method by which you choose to lock your cellphone can make the difference between being forced to unlock it for a police officer or not.

Under the current law, police officers can require you to unlock your cellphone with facial recognition and fingerprint identification. However, police officers cannot require you to provide a pattern lock or a passcode/password to unlock your phone.

If you or somebody you know is facing criminal charges, contact Brandt Law Ltd. today to discuss your case and protect your rights.

All information displayed on the Brandt Law Ltd. website is informational and shall not be deemed as legal advice. If you’re currently dealing with an individual legal situation, you’re invited to contact me through email or by phone. Until an attorney-client relationship has been established, I urge that you avoid sharing any confidential information.

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