Most of us have cellphones and have password or fingerprint-protected locks on them to ensure our privacy. We believe that unless we choose to give them out, these passcodes are completely private. This presumably includes whether police can have access to the passcodes without our consent. But are they really private? In a case pending before the Florida Supreme Court, the question of whether police can compel you to disclose your passcode in order to give them access to texts, emails and pictures stored in the phone is at issue.
In 2018, someone tossed a rock through the victim’s apartment window as he lay in bed with his girlfriend. The window shattered and glass was strewn around the room and into the bed, resulting in cuts to the victim’s elbow. Police were called to the scene and, in the course of their investigation, found a cellphone lying on the front lawn. The girlfriend identified it as her former boyfriend’s phone. Police also found a GPS monitor that had been placed underneath the girlfriend’s car without her knowledge or consent.