Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops
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BOSTON (AP) — A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment.
Tuesday’s ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.
ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said the ruling strengthens the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the United States every year.
The ACLU describes the searches as “fishing expeditions.” They say border officers must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of contraband before they can search a traveler’s electronic device.
November 13, 2019 at 12:28 AM #221584sadoldgirlParticipant
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Will the government appeal? I expect that.
November 13, 2019 at 3:16 AM #221708eridaniParticipant
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‘Enormous Victory’: US Judge Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Electronic Devices Unconstitutional
The lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, was filed by EFF, the national ACLU, and ACLU of Massachusetts on behalf of 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who had their devices searched without warrants. The suit named as defendants the Department of Homeland Security and two agencies it oversees—Customs and Border Protection as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Plaintiffs in the case include Sidd Bikkannavar, an optical engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory living in California; Jeremy Dupin, a journalist living in Massachusetts; and Diane Maye, a college professor and former U.S. Air Force captain living in Florida.
When the suit was filed in September 2017, Maye said that she “felt humiliated and violated” after she was detained for two hours at Miami International Airport upon her return to the United States from a vacation in Europe.
“I worried that border officers would read my email messages and texts, and look at my photos,” Maye explained. “This was my life, and a border officer held it in the palm of his hand. I joined this lawsuit because I strongly believe the government shouldn’t have the unfettered power to invade your privacy.”
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
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