‘Unlock iPhone’, says judge in US sextortion case


Reality TV star Hencha Voigt

A judge in Florida has ruled that two defendants in a mixed case must hand over passwords to their cell phones so officials can look for them.

Reality TV star Hencha Voigt and ex-boyfriend Wesley Victor are accused of threatening to reveal the image of social media star Julieanna Goddard unless she pays a ransom.

The defendants said the ruling broke their constitutional rights.

But Miami-Dade’s judge Charles Johnson said he was following the law.

He said, “For me, this is like turning a key into a safe.

Prosecutors alleged that Mrs Voigt and Mr Victor had told Mrs Goddard to pay them $ 18,000 (£ 14,000) in 24 hours or they would release her X rated video and photo.

  • The struggle between high tech companies and the government
  • Apple opposes the FBI unlocking the iPhone                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mrs. Goddard, a promoter of the party and society, is a big name in social media where she goes by the name “YesJulz.”

Mrs Voigt is a model star and Instagram star appeared in WAGS Miami, a reality show about the wives and girlfriends of sports figures.

Police arrested the defendants in July last year and arrested their cellphone, whose blocked text messages were allegedly sent to Miss Goddard.

But they could not ignore the password for Ms Voigt’s iPhone and Victor’s BlackBerry to find more evidence.

As a result, prosecutors formally asked the court to order the accused to disclose their passwords.

Julieanna Goddard

Lawyers for defendants said this would violate the Fifth Amendment – a part of US law that means people can not be forced to self-incriminate.

However, prosecutors cited a December court decision that allowed Florida police to seize a voyeur suspect who gave up the iPhone password.

On Wednesday, Judge Johnson ruled that he had no choice but to follow precedent. “It’s the law in Florida at the moment,” he said.

Ms. Voigt and Victor have two weeks to comply with the order, or they may be incarcerated for contempt of court.

Both pleaded guilty to charges of extortion, conspiracy to deprive and illegally use an informationdevice.

The question of whether the government should have access to the accused’s phone has caused recent controversy.

Last year, the US Department of Justice asked Apple to help unlock the phone used by San Bernardino gunman Rizwan Farook. But Apple fought with the order, saying it would set off a “dangerous precedent.”

A clear report on the requirements of border officials to search the customer’s phone when they arrive in the US is also the title.

The National Security dataset, analyzed by NBC News, shows that agents have seen nearly 25,000 phones by 2016.

                                                                                                           By: Anna Lee