An employee demonstrates fingerprint security software on a smartphone at the MasterCard Inc. stand at the Mobile World Congress in this arranged photograph in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.

Enlarge / An employee demonstrates fingerprint security software on a smartphone at the MasterCard Inc. stand at the Mobile World Congress in this arranged photograph in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images News)

According to a new ruling issued last week by a federal magistrate in Oakland, California, the government can’t get a warrant granting permission to turn up at a local house allegedly connected to a criminal suspect, seize all digital devices, and force anyone found at the house to use biometrics to try to unlock those devices.

The nine-page order, which was issued on January 10 and first reported by Forbes on Monday, involves a criminal case that is otherwise sealed. There is a lot that remains unknown about the particulars, including the names of the suspects, why federal authorities believe that the two suspects committed extortion via Facebook Messenger, and what Oakland house is involved.

US Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore found that the government request here “runs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments,” which protect against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination, respectively.

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