Hertel Law, S.C.
No Obligation, Free Initial Consultation
Search Search Button

Technology questions are posed by police in murder case

Smartphones and some other devices use fingerprint technology to unlock them. That is a wonderful safety measure for people who want to keep their information safe and secure. That level of security poses a problem to police officers who are trying to investigate crimes. Recently, police officers have ventured into a new area of trying to get these phones unlocked.

The police officers are trying to use copied fingerprints to unlock a murder victim's phone. If this works, it could prove to be a very important discovery for officers who are investigating crimes. The question about the legalities of this method would likely be posed by defendants who might end up having to battle against the evidence that could be found on the phones. Generally, searching a victim's phone won't bring up issues of self-incrimination, but it could bring up other constitutionality concerns for defendants.

In the case at hand, a professor at a university is using fingerprints of the victim that were taken while he was still alive. The problem with this method is that fingerprint recognition programs require that a tiny electrical circuits are closed by the conductivity that occurs in the living human body. That doesn't happen with 3D models of fingers, so the professor opted to use a very thin metallic coating on the 3D fingers, which should allow the fingerprint scanner to properly read them.

Even though this case isn't in Wisconsin, it will be still be one to watch because it is forging into new areas -- finding ways to unlock phones using biometrics and the constitutionality of doing so as part of a criminal justice investigation. This case shows that defendants might have to deal with certain grey areas in their cases when new technology is a key component.

Source: FindLaw, "Police Hope 3D Printed Fingers Will Unlock Murder Victim's Phone," Ephrat Livni, Esq., accessed Aug. 12, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact Us

Make Your Free Initial Consultation Appointment

Hertel Law offers a free initial consultation without obligation. Harry will meet with you and listen to the details of your case. His office is in Eau Claire and offers daytime hours. Evening hours are available by appointment. Call him today at 715-598-2761. You may also request your appointment through the firm’s contact form. Hertel Law: The law firm you still want on your side.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Hertel Law, S.C.
4330 Golf Terrace, Suite 108
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: 715-598-2761
Fax: 715-832-5159
Eau Claire Law Office Map

No Obligation, Free Initial Consultation

In cases of personal injuries prohibiting you from traveling, we can meet with you at the hospital or in your home.