CBP conducted more device searches at the border in Feb than in all of 2015

There's been precious little litgation about the Customs and Border Protection Agency's far-reaching policy of invasively searching devices at the US border, so it's a legal greyzone (but you do have some rights).

As CBP has shaped up to be the shock-troops of Trump's anti-migrant, anti-civil-liberties agenda, they have operated with increasing capriciousness and opacity, and few metrics are more telling than the eye-popping stat that CBP conducted more than 5,000 searches in February 2017, more than were conducted in all of 2015. But this isn't a Trump-only phenomenon: these policies began in 2016, when, under Obama, CBP searched five times more devices than they did in all of 2015.

Brisley declined further comment. He referred follow-up questions to the Department of Homeland Security, its parent agency, which has not responded to Ars’ request for comment.

As Ars reported previously, there is a very broad exception to the Fourth Amendment at the border that allows officials to conduct warrantless searches. If your device is locked or encrypted and you refuse to assist agents’ attempts to open it, the device can be seized.

There were more device searches at US border last month than all of 2015 [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]

Notable Replies

  1. Guess I won't be travelling to the USA then. Plenty of other countries in the world that will welcome my tourism (and money).

    (But I appreciate how much this genuinely sucks for people who live/work in America).

  2. Don't blame you in the least and I would be the first to say "Stay away!". Until Drumpf, Bannon and the rest are driven from Washington, you're best bet is to visit other places.

  3. Seems like a boon for cloud storage services.

  4. I'm from Montreal and we typically use some part of our summer vacation for a visit to Burlington and surrounding Vermont and NY towns and landmarks. A great affordable getaway for foodies and craft beer aficionados that we are. Less than a 2 hour drive from here.

    The US border patrol's behaviour as exemplified here is a real downer for us. They have (and always have had) large discretion, but now, they are emboldened by the knowing support of their new president (as we perceive it - anyway).

    I'm sorry for all the small businesses in Vermont we like to visit multiple times each year, but we don't feel comfortable just now. We'll see you again in a few years, maybe.

  5. Terrorist 1: These border inspections are foiling our plans! We can't risk the infidels finding the blueprints for our doomsday weapon on Aziz's laptop!

    Terrorist 2: Well if you've got a better idea for how to move digital files across international borders then I'd sure like to hear it.

    Terrorist 1: (shrugs and shakes head in defeat)

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