United States customs agents are searching more cellphones - including those belonging to Americans

United States customs agents are searching more cellphones - including those belonging to Americans

United States customs agents are searching more cellphones - including those belonging to Americans

The Knight Institute and others have argued that suspicionless device searches violate travelers' First and Fourth Amendment rights, and that the government should not be permitted to conduct such searches without probable cause. It may include information and private messaging on social media platforms, data backed up to the cloud, and web-based email services if messages are not downloaded to the electronic device.

On Sept. 13, 2017, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of 11 travelers (10 USA citizens and one lawful permanent resident) whose smartphones and other electronic devices were searched without a warrant at the United States border. If the USCBP officer is unable to complete an inspection of an electronic device because it is protected by a passcode or encryption, they may seize the device pending a determination as to its admissibility, exclusion or other disposition. But in cases where officers determine they have reasonable suspicion of a criminal act or potential threat to national security, they may, with a supervisors' authorization, conduct an "advanced search" by connecting it to other applications and potentially copying its information. An advanced search is any search in which an officer connects external equipment to an electronic device to review, copy, and/or analyze its contents.

The Supreme Court previously found that a routine search of any persons seeking admission to the US, and their personal effects, may be performed without reasonable suspicion, probable cause or a warrant.

Impact: The new policy does not prevent officers from searching protected information.

So, the USCBP does not now have the legal authority to compel travelers to assist them in unlocking an electronic device at the border. This type of search can not be carried out without being approved by a supervisor first. Officers might also ask the individual questions about why they will not unlock the device.

Cocaine concealed inside a cabinet seized by USA custom officers from Area Port of Philadelphia.

McCaskill asked the agency to submit the final contract document and respond to several questions about the office of human resources management's capacity to recruit additional staff for CBP; per capita cost for new law enforcement officers; ways to fund the contract; and other recruitment support contracts the agency holds. There are no new procedures for handling sensitive information carried by journalists, though, except as otherwise provided in "any applicable federal law and CBP policy".

Reviewing and updating policies relating to marking, storing, and handling sensitive business or attorney-client protected information when traveling internationally.

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