The topic of using the fingerprint of a dead person to unlock an iPhone with Touch ID has been brought to light in the past, and now a new report from Forbes dives into a bit more into details regarding the practice. The report includes anecdotes from various law enforcement and FBI sources who offer more color on the practice of using a dead suspect’s fingerprint for Touch ID…

Speaking to Forbes, FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor explained that common problem for law enforcement agencies is getting the necessary information off a suspect’s iPhone before the device requires a passcode. This was the case when the FBI attempted to gain access to Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s iPhone in 2016:

The report goes on to say, however, that many other instances have seen law enforcement successfully gain access to a dead person’s iPhone using Touch ID. Citing sources close to local and federal police investigations in New York and Ohio, the report says that it is “relatively common fingerprints of the deceased to be depressed on the scanner of Apple iPhones.”

In the hours between his death and the attempt to unlock, when the feds had to go through legal processes regarding access to the smartphone, the iPhone had gone to sleep and when reopened required a passcode, Moledor said.

In some cases, law enforcement is looking for information on the suspect through the victim’s phone. For instance, in an overdose case, the victim’s phone could contain details “leading directly to the dealer”

The legality of this practice isn’t completely clear, though law enforcement says they do not need a search warrant to access a victim’s phone:

As for Face ID, Marc Rogers, a Cloudfare security researcher said that face recognition technology can be fooled by “simply using photos of open eyes.” While Rogers isn’t the first to make such claims, Apple continues to say that Face ID is even more secure than Touch ID.

“We do not need a search warrant to get into a victim’s phone, unless it’s shared owned,” said Ohio police homicide detective Robert Cutshall, who worked on the Artan case.

Rogers also claims that Face ID only needs to see one open eye to unlock.

Ultimately, Rogers says there haven’t yet been any cases of police unlocking a person’s iPhone with Face ID, though he suspects it will eventually be used the same way that Touch ID is used now.

What do you think of police using a dead person’s fingerprint to unlock their iPhone? Do you buy into the security concerns suggested in relation to Face ID? Let us know down in the comments!