Home > Florida court says iPhone passcode must be revealed

Florida court says iPhone passcode must be revealed

A court in Florida has said a suspected voyeur can be made to reveal his iPhone passcode to investigators.

The defendant was arrested after a woman out shopping saw a man crouch down and aim what she believed was a smartphone under her skirt.

Previously, a judge said the defendant could not be made to reveal the code, citing constitutional protections.

That decision has now been reversed by the Florida Court of Appeal’s Second District.

Store CCTV captured footage of a man crouched down, holding an illuminated device and moving it towards the victim’s skirt, according to court documents published by news site Courthouse News.

Aaron Stahl was identified by law enforcement officers who reviewed the footage, according to court documents.

After his arrest, Mr Stahl initially agreed to allow officers to search his iPhone 5, which he told them was at his home.

However, once it had been retrieved by police – but before he had revealed his passcode – he withdrew consent to the search.

Fifth Amendment

The trial court had decided that Mr Stahl could be protected by the Fifth Amendment, which is designed to prevent self-incrimination.

However, Judge Anthony Black’s formal opinion to the court quashed the decision.

Judge Black referred to a famous Supreme Court case, Doe v US 1988, in which Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that a defendant could be made to surrender a key to a strongbox containing incriminating documents but they could not “be compelled to reveal the combination to his wall safe”.

“We question whether identifying the key which will open the strongbox – such that the key is surrendered – is, in fact, distinct from telling an officer the combination,” wrote Judge Black.

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