As of Thursday, July 21, 2021, the short answer is YES. As reported by CNN, a federal judge forced a January 6, 2021 US Capitol rioter Guy Refitt to sit in front of his computer to allow face recognition to unlock the computer. The prosecution stated that the computer most likely held video footage of the riot from the helmet cam worn by Refitt. Whatever your views and politics are regarding the Capitol riots, this is seen a blow for cybersecurity and internet privacy. Whether or not law enforcement could force a person to unlock their computer or mobile device has long been a hotly contested issue. This federal ruling will add weight to the debate over using face recognition. However, the question over having to enter a password is still in the balance.

What Does This Mean For Me?

I have long recommended to clients that they NOT use biometrics for computer or mobile device log in. My primary reason is that biometrics (Face ID, Touch ID) can be easily circumvented. It now looks like biometrics provide little protection against law enforcement penetration as well.

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