An appeals court in the Sunshine State of Florida has given rights to police that warrants them to search an individual’s phone. That means they can assert pressure on Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone to surrender their device’s passcodes. This is not so much of a pleasant move given that any access to a person’s phone should be private and confidential. However, the court still went ahead to contradict the Fifth Amendment protections to iPhone passwords, which states that “[n]o person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself [.]”
The court’s decision comes at the height of a case between State v. Stahl, a Florida resident Aaron Stahl. He is alleged to have taken pictures up the skirt of a woman in a store with his cell phone. However, the police who obtained a warrant to search Stahl’s iPhone 5 have not been able to do because it is locked and its owner has repudiated to furnish the unlocking password.
But isn’t the court’s ruling going to be self-incriminatory?
Apparently, the trial judge had initially refused the state’s motion that would push Stahl to hand over his passcode. However, the ruling suffered a quick hit back from the Florida Court of Appeal, which reversed the decision.
In his ruling, Judge Anthony Black lamented, “Unquestionably, the State established, with reasonable particularity, its knowledge of the existence of the passcode, Stahl’s control or possession of the passcode, and the self-authenticating nature of the passcode. This is a case of surrender and not testimony.”
Smartphones and how they’ll be dealt with in courthouses has yet to be determined
Clearly, the Fifth Amendment is not in protection of the defendant even though an iPhone is a private device. The decision of this case on the other hands seems to question the Smartphone’s privacy and the viability of any distinction of technology advances. A simple analysis depicts the setting of a stage for a legal battle between locked Smartphones and the Fifth Amendment.
Apparently, the case is contradictory to that of Apple and the FBI where the former refused to obey a court order to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. Surprisingly, the case against Apple was eventually dropped after the Justice Department implored the help of an outside party to unlock the phone. Meanwhile, Apple’s stock was trading at $116.52 an increase of $0.23 or 0.20%.