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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Court Upholds Laptop Searches At Border Checkpoints

The Hill reports that a federal judge has upheld the search (and copying) of information on laptops and other electronic devices as border checkpoints. The specific incident involved a French-American photojournalist that his laptop held for 11 days and searched when he re-entered the country. The court justified its decision on two grounds, according to the article:

(1)  The parties lacked standing because they could not shot that their laptops would be searched absent "reasonable suspicion"; and,

(2)  The DHS had reasonable suspicion to search the journalist's laptop because he had been in Lebanon and had photographs of Hezbollah  and Hamas rallies.

This is yet another example of how the courts have gradually amended the Constitution over the years by omitting important portions of the text. In this case, elevating the "reasonable" portion of the search and seizure requirement while ignoring the "warrant" requirement. (There is also the logical problem of how the DHS would have reason to search the laptop because it had photos of the rallies, since they couldn't know of the pictures of the rallies without first searching the laptop).

The other disconcerting part of this is that "border checkpoints" are no longer just at the border. So, this decision essentially authorizes searches of a person's private papers anywhere in the U.S.

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