Some phones have a duress button, e.g. pressing the power button rapidly five times will lock the device and disable less secure methods of unlocking it such as fingerprints and face unlock.

Another example would be using a reset button to wipe encryption keys from memory or hide what you were doing with the device at that moment.

Say you did this when you had reason to think you might be arrested, or after being arrested, would it be a crime? Is changing the state of something in this way destruction of evidence, for example?

  • 1
    What is the sequence of events here? Did you wipe your phone first, and then later on, you get ordered to hand over your phone (search warrant)? Or, were you ordered to hand over the phone and your response was to press some buttons that will wipe the phone or make it somehow innaccessible?
    – Brandin
    Nov 22, 2018 at 15:30
  • If you could provide an answer explaining why the sequence matters that would be good. For example, say you heard a knock on the door and someone shout "police!", then flipped the power switch on your computer to protect the encrypted data. Or if you were arrested and told you hand over your phone, and pressed the duress button to lock it.
    – user
    Nov 22, 2018 at 16:20
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    Those are two different situations, so you should specify which to make your question answerable.
    – Brandin
    Nov 22, 2018 at 19:48
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    It's very unlikely that a law is going to specifically address that particular button, but it's more likely to say something about the specific situation of where you are ordered to hand over your phone for evidence, and that instead of handing it over immediately, you first do some specific action (such as press a button) that would make gathering the evidence more difficult or impossible. I.e. pressing the button is focusing on the wrong thing, it's the fact that you are doing something deliberately to interfere with a legal search warrant.
    – Brandin
    Nov 23, 2018 at 12:57
  • 1
    @Brandin so thinking about it, it really depends if you press the button before the police ask you for that evidence, or before you might reasonably think that they would want it. That makes life difficult because you might want to film the police, but also protect your phone. Still, best to lock it the moment you see them, regardless.
    – user
    Jan 21, 2019 at 9:10


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