Court Says Border Searches Of Your Computer Are Okay Because You Shouldn't Keep Important Info On Your Computer

Jan. 01, 2014

This one is hardly a surprise, given how many (though not all) courts have ruled concerning searches of computing devices at the border. The government's general theory is that there is no 4th Amendment right at the border, and thus customs officials can search anything. The argument that they're trying to prevent "bad stuff" from getting into the country really doesn't make much sense though. If bad stuff is "on a computer" it could easily be sent digitally across the border with no intervention from a customs official. Furthermore, making border searches of laptops and phones even more troubling is the nature of how information is stored. When we pack for a trip we deliberately choose what to include in our suitcase -- so we know what's coming with us. However, on our electronic devices, we pretty much store absolutely everything. Arguing that these are subject to a full search seems problematic -- but many courts have found otherwise.

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