Right now there is some debate as to whether or not law enforcement can force you to unlock your smartphone. Some claim that this violates the person’s 5th Amendment right which protects a person from self-incrimination, which for the most part seems to apply mostly to giving testimonies.
However some claim that by using your fingerprint to unlock your phone, it could potentially lead to law enforcement discovering materials or evidence that could incriminate you. That being said, it seems that a new precedent has been set because over in LA, a judge has pretty much ordered a woman to unlock her iPhone using her fingerprints.
There did not appear to be too much resistance to the order because it was done within 45 minutes of the suspect’s arrest. The suspect in question, Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, was arrested by the FBI on suspicion of identity theft and while it is unclear as to what the FBI were looking for on her phone, Bkhchadzhyan eventually pleaded no contest to the charge.
Like we said, with this order it looks like a precedent has been set in which future cases could refer to this particular case when trying to obtain a warrant to compel suspects to unlock their devices, but given the current climate you can bet that there will be a ton of resistance as well.