Court upholds order for fingerprint to unlock cellphone

The Minnesota Court of Appeals says that a man’s right against self-incrimination was not violated when a judge ordered him to provide his fingerprint to unlock a cellphone.

The decision comes in the case of Matthew Diamond, who wanted his burglary and theft convictions overturned. He argued that the district court violated his Fifth Amendment rights by ordering him to provide his fingerprint to access information on his phone. His attorney said he provided incriminating information by unlocking his phone.

The appeals court disagreed, saying the act of providing a fingerprint is similar to providing a blood sample, handwriting or other real evidence. The judges found that it is not the same as compelling a defendant to testify against himself.