When the iPhone X comes out in November, users will have an entirely new experience unlocking their phones. Gone are the days of passcodes and fingerprints -- with Face ID, iPhone users can now unlock their phones with their faces
-- simply by looking at the phone.
While Face ID won't work for someone with an identical twin, it can’t be fooled by photos or masks, and it won't unlock if someone's eyes are closed (meaning sleeping people can rest easy that no one will wave their phone in front of their face to unlock it). But Face ID has scary implications for law enforcement -- could police wave your phone in front of your face to unlock it without a warrant? Please sign this petition to ask Apple to make a failsafe: add an emergency locking mechanism that will disable Face ID in the event of an interaction with law enforcement.
Currently, a search warrant is needed to search a mobile device -- except at the border, where a legal gray area allows for an exception to your Fourth Amendment privacy rights. (In fact, border agents often
look through passengers’ devices as they enter or exit the country.)
There is some legal precedent that may prevent cops from forcing you to unlock your phone using Face ID. Courts have already ruled that cops can't use your fingerprint to unlock your phone. And the Fifth Amendment protects people against self-incrimination -- but courts have ruled that the Fifth Amendment applies only to something someone knows
. Your face or fingerprint is not something you know
, it is biometric data. That means that whether or not police can unlock our devices using Face ID remains to be seen until it happens and the case winds up in court.
“It’s not a settled question whether law enforcement is permitted to compel a suspect or defendant to unlock a phone with biometrics under any circumstances, and no standard has emerged yet,” a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said
.Please sign this petition to ask Apple to make a failsafe: add an emergency locking mechanism that will disable Face ID in the event of an interaction with law enforcement.