Phone security and police rights

In the WeekvanNUtech podcast of Friday, March 8th, Chief Security Expert Frank Groenewegen answers questions about the rights of police to gain access to mobile devices that recently made the headlines. Groenewegen responds from a technical point of view on the right to enforce access to a suspect’s telephone via fingerprint and police hacking rights.

A discussion has arisen about gaining access to smart phones after the court ruled that the police are authorized to force a suspect to unlock his or her phone secured by fingerprint, whereas the police are not allowed to force a suspect to give a PIN code, because a suspect is legally protected from having to assist with his own conviction.

Groenewegen emphasizes that he views the matter not from legal, but purely from his technical expertise. “Today all major smartphone manufacturers use fingerprint or face recognition to unlock your phone and effectively advice users to activate this type of security. Digital developments often outpace legislation and I therefore do not agree that the police can use this to their advantage because it is not legally regarded as assisting with your own conviction.”

Fox-IT: More advanced security methods require more advanced and narrower rules and regulation. Judicial review in advance should also be possible regarding unlocking devices with fingerprint.

Groenewegen sees a positive example in the clear definitions used regarding police hacking into smartphones and laptops in the ‘hacking rights law’ which came into force this week as well. He is curious about the first lawsuit in which the police exercise these rights to see how the law will be used in practice:

Fox-IT: The hacking rights will enable the police to be successful again in technically complicated investigations. It concerns investigations in which they could not make any further progress with other investigative methods causing them to let suspects go unchallenged. We expect the police will benefit greatly from the rights specified within this law.”

Frank Groenewegen

Chief Security Expert
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