Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Homeland Security Eliminates Probable Cause In Border Searches

Hoping no one would notice, Homeland Security tossed out the need for Customs and Border Protection agents to have probable cause when searching you computer or cellphone at the border.

According to an analysis of the documents (pdf) published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Asian Law Caucus (ALC), DHS reversed certain elements of border search guidelines over a year ago without so much as a peep!!

According to Raw Story...
Where customs officers previously could only "glance at documents to see if they were merchandise," the latest policy allows officers to "review and analyze" any documents in a traveler's possession with no suspicion at all. Previous prohibitions on copying documents without a traveler's permission or probable cause also were eliminated, allowing customs to "detain documents or copies for a 'reasonable period of time to perform a thorough border search.'" (Emphasis in original.)
The EFF and ALC are appealing for full disclosure on the new policies since what they were given was heavily redacted.

Some civil liberties activists worry that this new policy could be used to get around the Fourth Amendment by conducting searches that other agencies would be prohibited from doing.

You can (and should) read more about what DHS has been messing with over at EFF's site.


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