Content Curated By Darin R. McClure & a few photos


Ninth Circuit Rules Government Agents Need Reasonable Suspicion to Search Laptops, Other Property at Border Checkpoints
March 8, 2013, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ninth Circuit Rules Government Agents Need Reasonable Suspicion to Search Laptops, Other Property at Border Checkpoints:

no checkpoint charlieThe Ninth Circuit Court’s handed down
a ruling limiting the power of government agents to search your
property at border checkpoints. Lawfare
explains
:

The Ninth Circuit sitting en
banc 
has decided US
v. Cotterman
, a case involving the search of a computer laptop
by DHS agents at the border.  Traditionally, the law has been
that searches at the border are plenary and require no suspicion at
all — they are reasonable because they occur at the  border
and because a sovereign has control over goods and people who enter
or exit its territory.

Cotterman rejects that general rule.  It
concludes that given the comprehensive and intrusive nature of
searches into the contents of laptops the government must
articulate a “reasonable suspicion” before it may search the
contents of a computer system.

Michael Price, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, which
filed an amicus brief in the case, made the following
statement:

“We applaud the Ninth Circuit for recognizing the need
to limit the government’s authority to search electronic devices at
the border. Until now, the government had free reign to search
travelers’ personal data at the border, to keep it, copy it, and
browse through every line without any reason to suspect criminal
activity. But in today’s watershed ruling, the Court drew a line in
the sand and recognized that the vast amount of personal
information and sensitive data on laptops, cell phones, and other
electronic devices is worthy of Fourth Amendment
protection.”

One of the judges on the Ninth Circuit Court, Alex Kozinski, a
self-described libertarian, recently sat down to talk to Matt Welch
for Reason TV. Watch here:

 


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