Investigators in Lancaster, Calif., were granted a search warrant last May with a scope that allowed them to force anyone inside the premises at the time of search to open up their phones via fingerprint recognition, Forbes reported Sunday.The government argued that this did not violate the citizens’ Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination because no actual passcode was handed over to authorities. Forbes was able to confirm with the residents of the building that the warrant was served, but the residents did not give any more details about whether their phones were successfully accessed by the investigators.”I was frankly a bit shocked,” said Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), when he learned about the scope of search warrant. “As far as I know, this warrant application was unprecedented.”Crocker said that it’s both the fingerprint lock method and the wide reach of the warrant that are so surprising. Search warrants are typically required to be narrow and clear in scope, but this one was extended to include any phone that happens to be on the property, and all of the private data that that entails. He also described requiring phones to be unlocked via fingerprint, which does not technically count as handing over a self-incriminating password, as a “clever end-run” around constitutional rights.

Source: Using search warrants to get into fingerprint-locked phones