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Peace and Prosperity

Court Rules for Some Privacy Protection for Electronic Information of Travelers Entering and Leaving the US


Over the last few years, Americans entering and leaving the United States encountered US government officials increasingly accessing private information on the travelers’ electronic devices on demand. The situation is an affront to the constitutional restraint on searches contained in the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

In September of 2017, I discussed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) having that month filed a lawsuit Alasaad v. McAleenan in a US district court challenging, on behalf of ten US citizens and a US green card holder, this practice by US government agents.

Here is an update: In a Tuesday summary judgement ruling in the case, the court in Massachusetts determined that “reasonable suspicion” is required for such searches but rejected the ACLU and EFF argument that “the higher warrant protection supported by probable cause” found in the Fourth Amendment must be applied.

You can read the ACLU announcement regarding the court decision and the decision itself here.
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