But there are better ways to respond to the threat of evidence destruction on mobile phones than warrantlessly rifling through the devices’ data on the spot, argues Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He points out that it’s easier–and potentially less unconstitutional–to simply remove the phone’s battery, turn it off, or put it in a Faraday cage that blocks all radio communications while the police wait for a judge to sign a warrant.
He adds that the Justice Department has yet to prove that the remote wiping problem is a real issue. “The government can point to no actual statistics that show this is a widespread problem,” says Fakhoury. “And the reality is that most people don’t even have remote wiping technology on their phone.”