In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional.
If you have an iPhone, and you pay for a little extra iCloud storage, you can make sure the vast majority of your data, including photos, are backed up automatically. Photos you take will usually automatically backup over your data connection as soon as you take them, and a lot of apps and services auto-sync to the cloud. So should you ever find yourself in a situation where you think you’re at risk of being searched* (your plane lands in China, for example), just tap Settings, General, Erase, and Erase All Settings and Content. Confirm, confirm, confirm, and your iPhone wipes itself and resets back to factory defaults. Hand the border agent your newly wiped phone and when they hand it back, wipe it again for good measure. Then just restore from your iCloud backup when you’re someplace safe from nosey government officials. For bonus points and if you’re really pining for an full body cavity inspection, if you have enough time after the reset completes search Google for “middle finger wallpaper” and have fun.
*Consult with a lawyer before proceeding with advice you’ve read on a blog titled Pizza Emoji.