Border officials can’t have ‘boundless’ access to search devices, court rules

Mexico BorderPhoto by Jinitzail Hernández/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

While officials have broad powers to screen travelers at the border, they can’t search electronic devices without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, a court ruled today in a closely watched privacy case.

In 2017, a group of people whose devices were searched at the border, including a NASA engineer, filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection. They said officials had taken their devices and examined their personal data.

The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that the searches were unconstitutionally invasive. Those searches have been widespread under the Trump administration, with border officials searching devices 15,000…

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