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National Security Watch
By Michael Price
Suspicionless Electronic Searches At the U.S. Border
United States v. Arnold and Tips for ‘Customs-Proofing’ Computers
Travelers who take their laptops on international trips should be aware that when they enter or exit the United States, the laptops can be searched without reason, have their entire contents copied, and may not be returned for days or even months. The same warning applies to cell phones, iPods, digital cameras, flash drives, CDs, DVDs, and any other electronic storage devices. These suspicionless electronic searches are an unprecedented invasion of privacy. They also raise serious constitutional concerns for lawyers who travel with confidential or privileged information.
Since July 2007, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have claimed the authority to arbitrarily search, copy, and share the data contained on all electronic storage devices entering or exiting the United States.1 According to documents recently obtained un
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