January 5, 2018

WASHINGTON — Customs and Border Protection issued today a new directive for searching and seizing electronic devices at the border.

Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following statement:

“It is positive that CBP’s policy would at least require officers to have some level of suspicion before copying and using electronic methods to search a traveler’s electronic device. However, this policy still falls far short of what the Constitution requires — a search warrant based on probable cause.

“The policy would still enable officers at the border to manually sift through a traveler’s photos, emails, documents, and other information stored on a device without individualized suspicion of any kind. Additionally, it fails to make clear that travelers should not be under any obligation to provide passcodes or other assistance to officers seeking to access their private information. Congress should continue to press CBP to improve its policy.”

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