As we learned in the San Bernadino iPhone case, phones are just about the most valuable real estate law enforcement can get its hands on. We also learned that the whole situation of laws and phones and threats and passwords is messy and baffling.
Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan is a woman with a colorful past and a bummer of a present.
She arrived this week in news stories with a string of criminal convictions and gained notoriety for pleading “no contest” to felony identity theft early this year. Her iPhone was seized from the home of her boyfriend, one Sevak Mesrobian, a member of Los Angeles-based gang Armenian Power.
Her fingerprint then began its long journey to giving civil-liberties fetishists a new storyboard for their “bad touch” role-play scenes.
“Bad Touch” ID
Much ado has been made over a Los Angeles judge’s February decision to grant a search warrant allowing authorities to take Bkhchadzhyan’s fingerprint and use it to unlock her iPhone. Surfacing in the news this week with drama, it’s an unprecedented revelation that has divided legal experts and given our collective Big Brother paranoia and infosec hysteria a shot in the arm that we really didn’t need.
The decision came in record time, probably thanks to Touch ID’s own timeout function giving the authorities a helpful spike of urgency to their request. Within 45 minutes of Bkhchadzhyan’s arrest for identity theft last February, the warrant to search her phone was granted, and her fingerprint was taken and used to bypass the biometric password for her iPhone’s Touch ID.
Things would have been different had she been using a regular password or passcode, which is protected by the Fifth Amendment’s safeguards for self-incrimination.
Read More: Engadget
Featured Image – DVIDS