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The Champion

November 2017 , Page 15 

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NACDL News: NACDL Releases Primer on Protecting Digital Devices at the Border

By Ivan J. Dominguez, Alexandra Funk, and Ian Nawalinski

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents search and seize electronic devices at border crossings and ports of entry without a warrant and many times without suspicion. Lawyers crossing the border with a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other digital devices could be forced to share privilege-protected communications and materials. “Protecting Your Digital Devices at the Border: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Primer” will educate criminal defense lawyers about the implications of CBP’s claimed powers and offer strategies that will help them comply with   their ethical obligations and responsibilities to their clients when entering the United States.

CBP does not guarantee protection for privileged communications between attorneys and their clients when it searches digital devices. Thus, attorneys crossing the border may find themselves in violation of Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which establishes that “[a] lawyer shall not reveal information relatin

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  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.
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