Pennsylvania’s highest court has ruled the law enforcement of the state that the police cannot force their suspects to turn over the passwords which can be used to unlock the devices.
The Supreme Court of the state said that compelling the password from any suspects is the violation of 5th Amendment which is a constitutional protection that will protect the suspects from the self-incrimination.
It is actually not a surprising ruling which is given federal courts as well as the other states to come to similar conclusion. The 5th Amendment grants anybody in the United States the right to stay silent, which also includes the right to not turn over any information which could incriminate the suspects in crime. In these days, the protections expand to the pass-codes that only the owner of the device knows. But, this ruling is not hoped to affect the capability by the police to force the suspects to use their biometrics such as their fingerprints or faces to unlock the phone or computer. The pass-code may be stored in the head, but the biometrics are not. The prosecutors have argued for a longer duration that the police can compel the suspect in unlocking the device with their biometrics.
The court didn’t address this biometrics issue. In a footnote of this ruling, the court said that this process needs not to address and blamed the Supreme Court for creating the dichotomy between the mental and physical communication.
The President of ACLU Pennsylvania, Peter Goldberger represented the entire arguments before the court and said that the incident and law had been fundamental that the suspects had the right to avoid the self-incrimination.