Surrendering Your Fourth Amendment Rights at the Border

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

Today the ACLU filed a lawsuit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) demanding records about the CBP's policy of searching travelers' laptops without suspicion of wrongdoing. The lawsuit was filed to enforce a Freedom of Information Act request we filed in June, when we requested the criteria used for selecting passengers for suspicionless searches, the number of people who have been subject to the searches, the number of devices and documents retained and the reasons for their retention.

In the policy, the CBP asserts the right to read the information on travelers' laptops "absent individualized suspicion." So that means searching all files saved on laptops, including personal financial information, family photographs and lists of Web sites travelers have visited, without having any reason to believe a traveler has broken the law.

And after they're done searching your laptop, they also reserve the right to search "documents, books, pamphlets and other printed material, as well as computers, disks, hard drives and other electronic or digital storage devices." (So you might want to reconsider sending that risque email to your spouse from your Blackberry, 'cause the CBP might see that as well).

Oh, and while you're at it, don't carry, send or receive any sensitive or private documents that you might need for work. As we pointed out last year, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) opposes the CBP policy because it threatens companies' ability to do business with the rest of the world, especially those companies that are trying to keep trade secrets, you know, secret. Testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution last year, Susan Gurley of the ACTE said: "[T]he unjustified retention and/or copying of proprietary and sensitive business information pursuant to the warrantless seizure of laptops and other electronic devices imposes both a personal and economic hardship on business travelers and their corporations."

Talk about kicking the economy while it's down.

Oh, and this policy includes everyone crossing the border, whether they're U.S. citizens or not. Think of it as equal opportunity virtual frisking.

We'll of course keep you posted as this lawsuit progresses. But in the meantime, if your laptop or electronic device has been searched at the border, let us know about it by emailing "legalintake [at]"

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U.Ben Hadd

The ACLU is Marxist,Socialist,and radical leftwing, Liberal, organization
that should be disbanded by the Federal government.Liberalism is a mental disorder!!!


Drudge had a link to this story. Here's a comment from that link:

August 26, 2009 4:15pm

I recall, couple of years ago ACLU was suing Secret Service for Bush's "free speech zones", a blatant and obvious violation of the 1st Amendment. It was proudly announced when it started; however when the case later was dismissed because ACLU had no standing, there was no announcement at all. To file a case with no standing, IMHO, means full incompetence of the ACLU layers, especially in the case so obvious.
When Nicholas Monahan tried to involve ACLU after being arrested in Portland airport with 100 violations of his rights, he had been told that ACLU could only help if he was a minority. Otherwise they were not interested. So much for civil rights.
My own personal experience was the same - same response when they had to get involved.
Every now and then we hear loud announcements about ACLU protesting this and suing for that; anybody remembers a single case when ACLU has actually won a tiny piece of the freedom? I don't. What I do remember though is claims for membership and donations on every square inch of their website.
Anybody to bid that this case will be any different?
It looks to me like ACLU is not much different from those they presumably oppose.


It is a wretched state of affairs when the government must be actioned into conformity with Constitutional Law. Moreover, those at the border should be most diligent, above all others, that a traveler's first impression of America is like a breath of free air, not the stagnant third world air of China's dictatorship, the acrid aftersmell of the Soviet Union, or the pungent stench of Chilean death squads burning remote villages. These are smells consistent with illegal search and seizure. And it smells like our border patrol now.

Oath Keeper

10 Illegal Orders We Will Not Obey:

1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people

3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control."

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.

10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

Learn More!


Sounds like the U.S. is becoming more like the old U.S.S.R every day.Of course
the right wing Stalinsts who infest this blog must love it.

Oath Keeper

If you really want to protect the 4th amendment(and the rest of our Constitution) then support the OathKeepers!


Excute all illegal immagrants (men, woman, and children) and the ACLU socailist lawyers who lie and say they have the same rights as US citzens because the are in the US.

George McNally

This country of ours was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. When are you going to stop working for Satan? You'll be with him in due time.


George, this country, my country, was founded on principles of decency, some of which are echoed in Judeo-Christian principles. Most of the 10 commandments are not enshrined in the Constitution or our laws.

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