The Indiana Supreme Court issued a strong opinion Tuesday that refusing to unlock a smartphone for authorities is constitutionally protected.
Amid a broader ongoing conversation about Apple and encryption, there have been sporadic cases of people refusing to unlock their iPhones for authorities. Privacy advocates believe that declining to give up a smartphone passcode is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
In this specific case, a Carmel, Indiana woman refused to unlock her iPhone 7 Plus for detectives in an investigation. When she did, the trial court held her in contempt. On Tuesday, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed that ruling.
"By unlocking her smartphone, Seo would provide law enforcement with information it does not already know, which the state could then use in its prosecution against her," the court said. "The Fifth Amendment's protection from compelled self-incrimination prohibits this result."