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"There's so much to do." Rising 2L Alexandra Wilson, President of Hastings Students for Immigrants' Rights and Co-Vice President of Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation. #humansofuchastings
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adjunct Professor Marcia Hofmann on the iPhone's New Fingerprint ID

Hofmann looks at the legal implications of Apple's new identification system in this opinion piece in Wired, Sept. 12, 2013.

There’s a lot of talk around biometric authentication since Apple introduced its newest iPhone, which will let users unlock their device with a fingerprint. Given Apple’s industry-leading position, it’s probably not a far stretch to expect this kind of authentication to take off. Some even argue that Apple’s move is a death knell for authenticators based on what a user knows (like passwords and PIN numbers).

While there’s a great deal of discussion around the pros and cons of fingerprint authentication — from the hackability of the technique to the reliability of readers — no one’s focusing on the legal effects of moving from PINs to fingerprints.

Because the constitutional protection of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” may not apply when it comes to biometric-based fingerprints (things that reflect who we are) as opposed to memory-based passwords and PINs (things we need to know and remember).

Biometric authentication may make it easier for normal, everyday users to protect the data on their phones. But as wonderful as technological innovation is, it sometimes creates unintended consequences — including legal ones. If Apple’s move leads us to abandon knowledge-based authentication altogether, we risk inadvertently undermining the legal rights we currently enjoy under the Fifth Amendment.

Here’s an easy fix: give users the option to unlock their phones with a fingerprint plus something the user knows.

Read the full piece from Wired here. Follow Hofmann on Twitter at @marciahofmann

 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

UC Hastings Center for WorkLife Law Awarded $40,000 Grant from Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Funds will enable the Center to provide the labor, business and public policy communities with the academic research they need to make informed decisions that reduce inequality for potentially thousands of low-wage, hourly workers.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"We are, as they say, everywhere!"

Q&A with Tiela Chalmers '86, CEO of the Alameda County Bar Association.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rising 2L Evelina Chang: Effortless Networking 101

Rising 2L and Ms. JD 2014 Summer Public Interest Scholarship Winner Evelina Chang answers the question: “What's the best advice you never got when it comes to law school, lawyering, or public interest law?"
Monday, July 14, 2014

New EEOC Guidance “Significant Victory” for Pregnant Workers

Enforcement guidelines cite and adopt theories from expert Professor Joan C. Williams, Center for WorkLife Law.
Friday, July 11, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: July 11, 2014

UC Hastings people in the news and making moves.
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