Thanks to a California judge, U.S. citizens can rest assured their cell phone content remains protected from government search or seizure. The case ruling prevents police officers from forcing people to unlock their cell phone with their face or fingerprint.

Previously, only cellphone passcodes were offered constitutional 5th amendment protection. But, as cellphone technology advances, caselaw keeps pace. According to, the case establishes that “all logins are equal.”

In advancing this protection, the Judge stated “if a person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode, because it is a (protected) testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one’s finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device.”

Because the case could be overturned in the future, advises you to “stick to a strong alphanumeric passcode that you can’t be compelled to disclose.”

This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.