The police requested a professor from Michigan State University to reproduce the victim’s fingerprints as a 3D model, with the intent to access his smartphone. A scanned copy of the deceased digits taken while he was alive was provided to the university to aid in this process.
At this time we don’t have a lot of details but the lab is reportedly making ten fingers to be covered with a “thin layer of metallic particles” so the phone will read it as if it were a finger and not 3D-printed plastic.
Why go through this tedious process to access the dead man’s phone? According to the report, the police believe that there is evidence in the smartphone that will provide clues to the murderer.
This practice though raises privacy questions and we may well remember the stance that Apple took against the FBI earlier this year about accessing the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter. But according to this article, this is a different case and “the victim is not at risk of incrimination” since he is not alive and therefore not protected by the Fifth Amendment.
This case sheds light on the fact that it is not safe to protect our private data and information with fingerprints as most tech companies are advocating.
What are your thoughts on this case? Should 3D models be used to unlock gadgets belonging to a person of interest that is no longer alive?
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