X

US Uses Border Searches to Seize Devices: Manning Ally

Technique allows warrantless search of electronics
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2013 5:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you cross in to or out of the US, the government might seize your electronic devices—whether it's got a warrant or not. David House, a fundraiser for Chelsea Manning's legal defense fund, found that out the hard way in November 2010, after a trip to Mexico. He sued the Department of Homeland Security, and as part of the settlement, obtained documents outlining what, until now, has been a mostly secretive technique, the New York Times reports. “I think it’s important for people who consider themselves politically inclined to know what dangers they now face in a country where they have no real guarantee of privacy at the border," says House.

story continues below

Homeland Security can put a "lookout" alert on anyone it wants in the computer system that screens international travelers. When that person books a flight, Homeland Security is notified, and dispatches agents to meet the traveler. In House's case, they seized his data and sent it to Army Criminal Investigation Command, all without a warrant. Critics say the process violates citizens' Fourth Amendment rights, but courts have generally supported it as an exception because it's a useful tool against drug smugglers, child pornographers, and other criminals. (Read more Mexican border stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X