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In the Noordhollands Dagblad, Fox-IT’s Chief Security Expert Frank Groenewegen reacts to the judgment of the court in Haarlem that the police may force a suspect to unlock the phone with a fingerprint. This while forcing to tell the pin code is not allowed. According to Fox-IT, a limit has been reached and a numeric code is also far from safe.

The verdict of the court happened in a case involving a suspect in a phishing case, in which the lawfulness of the police action was checked. The effect of the verdict is according to legal psychologist Peter van Koppen in the same article that ‘smart thieves’ disable the fingerprints and face recognition and switch to the old-fashioned pin code.

Fox-IT: “A phone now contains a person’s entire life. The right to enforce access via fingerprint raises questions. It is time for proper rules. ‘

Fox-IT explains that such a code is less safe: “A pin code can be retrieved by peeking, guessing or brute forcing.” The content of a phone nowadays contains a person’s ‘whole life’ and for that reason also better secured, with fingerprint and face recognition. The fact that this improved method of securing may be enforced raises questions, also in connection with the hack law that came into force on 1 March. This stipulates that prior permission and retrospective testing is mandatory. Hacking is only permitted for offenses punishable by a minimum of four years in prison.

Frank Groenewegen

Chief Security Expert
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