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Police routinely using dead people's fingerprints to access iPhones: report

•, Washington Times

Forbes reported Thursday that is has become "relatively common" for investigators to try to unlock fingerprint-protected smartphones using the digits of their deceased owners, citing unnamed police sources.

While strong encryption and other security safeguards have made it increasingly difficult for criminal investigators to glean data off certain devices, local and federal authorities have had successes in homicide cases where victims had enabled Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensing technology, Forbes reported.

Apple introduced Touch ID in 2013, and the feature has been built-in to its mobile phones beginning with the iPhone 5S model launched that September. The first known instance of authorities using a dead person's fingerprints to try and unlock a smartphone didn't happen until a few years later, however, when an FBI agent unsuccessfully tried to access an iPhone recovered from Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a slain Somali refugee accused of conducting a terrorist attack at Ohio State University in Nov. 2016, Forbes reported.

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