Until now, there was only news of law enforcement agencies using fingerprints of a dead person to unlock iPhones for investigation purposes. However, according to a new report from Forbes, confirms this practice has been in use for a couple of years already by the police and law enforcement agencies.
FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor told Forbes that the first known case of police using a deceased person’s fingerprints was in November 2016, when they tried unlocking the iPhone 5s model of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who had mowed down a group of people in his car, and gone on a stabbing spree with a butcher’s knife. He was later shot dead by a police officer on the grounds of Ohio State University. However, the legal officials couldn’t unlock Artan’s device with his lifeless fingerprint, and iPhone was later sent to a forensic lab to retrieve information.
“Unfortunately for the FBI, Artan’s lifeless fingerprint didn’t unlock the device (an iPhone 5 model, though Moledor couldn’t recall which. Touch ID was introduced in the iPhone 5S).
“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 told Forbes.