Michigan’s police have a new tool to unlock phones which is 3D printing. As per a new report from Rose Eveleth who is the creator of ‘Flash Forward’, earlier this year, a professor at Michigan State was contacted by law enforcement officers in order to reproduce a murder victim’s fingerprint from a pre-recorded scan. Once reproduced, the 3D model would be able to create a fake fingerprint which could be used to unlock the phone.
Since the investigation is still going on, therefore the particulars are limited and it is still not clear whether the method will be successful. Nonetheless, it is just like the techniques employed by the researchers in the past in order to reproduce working fingerprint molds from scanned images, often in coordination with law enforcement. This might be the first confirmed case of police using the technique to unlock a phone in an active investigation.
Earlier this year, ever since the San Bernardino case, Police techniques for unlocking phones have drawn close inspection, even though the concerned phone did not have a fingerprint reader. Apple has changed the method via which iOS manages fingerprint logins since May, it requires an additional passcode if the phone has been dormant for eight hours and the passcode has not been entered in the past six days.
It’s still ambiguous if the phone at the heart of Michigan case was an iPhone or the case was established before the new iOS rules took effect. Eveleth told that it was necessary to use 3D printing as the victim’s body was too decomposed for a finger print to be applied directly.