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"It all started with a field trip to an Orange County courthouse when I was in 6th grade." - 2L Elizabeth Lee #UCHastings
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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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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Conference on Advancing Equal Access to Justice: Barriers, Dilemmas, and Prospects

Conference presented by UC Hastings College of the Law and Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School, November 12-13, 2015, in San Francisco, California.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Questions for 2L Elizabeth Lee

Born and raised in Orange County, Lee was thrilled to spend the summer working for a company that offered the quintessential Californian accessory.
Sunday, September 28, 2014

Professor Joan C. Williams Outlines Gender Equity for Tech Companies

By implementing “bias interrupters,” companies like Twitter and Google can even the playing field for women employees.
Friday, September 26, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: Sept 26, 2014

UC Hastings community news September 19-26, 2014.
Monday, September 22, 2014

Professor Charles Knapp: 50 Years of Teaching Contracts

The son of a well-respected local judge in Zanesville, Ohio, Knapp got his B.A. from Denison College and practiced law for four years after law school before eventually becoming an expert and elder statesman in his field.
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