How aluminum foil could stop warrantless cell phone searches

I don’t plan any adventures with police, but I always liked how the “find my phone” feature of iCloud could allow one to “wipe” one’s phone remotely, if it escaped one’s control. This simple, low-tech hack could prevent that. I think data has become the real value in anyone’s device.


Can cops search your cell phone without a warrant? The question is tying up American courts, where judges are struggling to protect personal privacy without denying police a key crime-fighting tool. Meanwhile, smartphones now contain more evidence than ever before — and it’s become easier for suspects to wipe the phone from afar in the time it takes to get a warrant.

The legal question is going to the Supreme Court. But, in the meantime, a law professor is proposing a simple, low-tech solution: when making an arrest, cops should stick the cellphones in a Faraday Bag or simply wrap the phone in aluminum foil. Doing so would give the police time to ask for a warrant to search the phone, and also prevent the suspect from wiping its contents in the meantime.

The idea is set out in a paper by Adam Gershowitz, a William and Mary Law…

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