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Technology Federal judge rules suspicionless device searches at the border are illegal

01:50  13 november  2019
01:50  13 november  2019 Source:   engadget.com

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Judge Denise Casper noted that an exemption for searches at the border was "not limitless," and still Casper also rejected the government's claim that suspicionless searches would cause minimal harm, noting that agents could both look at past searches and were more likely to search people if

A federal court in Boston has ruled that the government is not allowed to search travelers’ phones or other electronic devices at the U.S. border without first having reasonable suspicion of a crime. That’s a significant victory for civil liberties advocates, who say the government’s own rules allowing its

Civil liberties advocates just scored an important victory in a bid to prevent arbitrary device searches at the US border. A federal court handling a 2017 lawsuit has ruled that US policies allowing device searches without valid suspicion or warrants violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Judge Denise Casper noted that an exemption for searches at the border was "not limitless," and still needed to strike a balance between privacy and government interests. That usually means focusing on contraband, she said.

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Casper also rejected the government's claim that suspicionless searches would cause minimal harm, noting that agents could both look at past searches and were more likely to search people if there had already been a search before.

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The Fourth Circuit’s ruling applies only to forensic, not manual, searches of electronic devices at the border because Kolsuz only challenged the use of “We have no occasion here to consider whether Riley calls into question the permissibility of suspicionless manual searches of digital devices at the

A federal appeals court in Virginia issued an important decision today, ruling that under the Fourth In March, two judges on the Eleventh Circuit concluded that such searches should be treated the of 11 people who were subjected to suspicionless searches of their phones and laptops when coming home to the U.S. As Congress Can Stop Humiliating and Unconstitutional Device Searches at the Border .

The ACLU and EFF filed the lawsuit on behalf of 11 travelers (all but one of which are US citizens) who accused border agents of searching their phones and laptops without probable cause or warrants. In some cases, officials were examining highly sensitive data, such as attorney-client communications, business dealings and the contents of a work phone from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It's not certain how Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security will respond to the defeat in court. If this ruling holds, though, it'll force a dramatic change in border search policies. Agents searched roughly 33,000 devices in 2018, or four times as many as they did in 2015. The numbers could drop precipitously in the future if at least some of those searches are considered unconstitutional. This won't completely prevent abuse (officers might only need a thin pretext), but it could decrease the number of "just because" searches that do little more than compromise privacy.

TechCrunch, ACLU

ACLU is suing ICE for details on how it uses phone spying devices .
The lawsuit is calling for Customs and Border Protection to disclose exactly how it uses cell site simulators, and how often it's been used to target and track immigrants.The ACLU is suing after the two agencies declined to provide its documents related to International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers, more commonly known as "Stingrays." These devices pretend to be cell towers and connect with nearby phones, intercepting data detailing calls, messages and device location.

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