U.S. Judge Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Digital Devices Unconstitutional

Reuters reports that yesterday, a federal judge ruled that U.S. border agents need “reasonable suspicion” but not a warrant to search travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry. The ruling sets a higher standard than the one CBP agents must apply to conduct routine searches of electronic devices under current policies. CBP had no immediate comment on the ruling.

The number of electronic device searches at the border has ballooned during the Trump administration, rising from about 8,500 in FY2015 to more than 30,000 in FY2018.

Read also our firm’s advice about Preparing for Possible Search of Your Luggage and Devices at the Border.

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