The case against warrantless device searches at the border could soon face a crucial test. ACLU and EFF Asked the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Department of Homeland Security policies that allow warrantless and unsuspecting searches at airports and other points of entry. The groups argued that an appeals court erred in overturning a ruling that the the research was unconstitutional, and that the Supreme Court should intervene to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of travelers.
The lawsuit was originally filed in September 2017 on behalf of passengers whose phones and laptops were searched without a warrant or even a charge of wrongdoing. There are concerns that border officials seek out for reasons that sometimes have nothing to do with crime, such as gathering information about a business partner or the source of a journalist’s story.
It is not known how the Supreme Court will respond to the petition. If the ACLU and EFF win, however, they hope to force Homeland Security to “at least” limit searches to situations where there is reasonable suspicion, or even demand warrants based on probable cause. Agents would have limited access to information, but you could travel knowing your sensitive data is safe from surprise inspections.
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