- posted: Apr. 02, 2019
It is now the law of Illinois that the police cannot compel you to give up the passcode to your phone. It is likely this extends to portable devices such as IPads. It is less certain it applies to Chromebooks and laptops.
Even if you are not a criminal, you may carry a large amount of confidential information in your phone. Just for an example, it is not at all unusual for one spouse to carry around in Evernote or Onenote, the other spouses medications and Personal Identifying information. Also, let's face it: It is common for young people to preserve photos of an intimate nature.
In short, there is a lot of stuff on your phone you'd like to keep private.
So here are the new rules of engagement for phone privacy:
1. Disable face ID (the appellate court did not say anything about sticking the device in your face)
2. Disable biometric touch ID (same reason)
3. Reset your passcode to a custom, alphanumeric code that you can remember--at least 8 characters
4. Clean your phone screen a couple of times a day with a cleaning soluton or one of those pre-soaked pads. (No, this is not about hygiene. The oils from you skin can give away your password but is the ACCUMULATION of them that discloses your password;
5. Don't use your phone's native password capture; Disable it and use, instead, a commercial password manager, such as "LastPass" (this is just an example. There are many good ones). Modern "pen registers" can include keyloggers.
I would like to emphasize that I am not sharing this to help anyone commit or conceal crimes. Rather, I thought an intelligent response in Illinois search and seizure law would help citizens see to their privacy. After all, what is "search and seizure" law but an expression of your privacy rights as against the Government.
Stay safe. Stay legal. But DO assert your privacy rights. The Court has acknowledged you have some. Make the most of them, using these techniques.