Can you be required to give up the passcode to your phone in the course of a Broward County criminal investigation? A recent Florida appellate decision considered a case in which the government and the trial court agreed to compel a minor to give them two passcodes for his phone.
The lower court had determined that requiring him to provide passcodes was not testimonial since the authenticity, custody and existence of those passcodes was a foregone conclusion. The appellate court disagreed, explaining that the minor was being required to disclose his own mind’s contents in providing the passcode, as well as the password for his iTunes account.
The case arose when a minor was speeding and crashed. Passengers in his vehicle died as a result. The police performed a blood test that found his blood alcohol content was .086. The police obtained a search warrant and found two iPhones, one of which belonged to the passenger who survived. She told the cops that the whole group was drinking vodka earlier and she’d been talking to the minor on her iPhone. The other phone was believed to be the minor’s. The police sought and obtained a warrant to look through the phone for information. They also asked for an order compelling the minor to give them the passcode for the phone and the iTunes account.