9th Circuit Appeals Court: 4th Amendment Applies At The Border; Also: Password Protected Files Shouldn’t Arouse Suspicion

Via: techdirt

From the well-that’s-a-surprise dept…

Here’s a surprise ruling. For many years we’ve written about how troubling it is that Homeland Security agents are able to search the contents of electronic devices, such as computers and phones at the border, without any reason.

The 4th Amendment only allows reasonable searches, usually with a warrant. But the general argument has long been that, when you’re at the border, you’re not in the country and the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply.

This rule has been stretched at times, including the ability to take your computer and devices into the country and search it there, while still considering it a “border search,” for which the lower standards apply. Just about a month ago, we noted that Homeland Security saw no reason to change this policy.

Well, now they might have to.

In a somewhat surprising 9th Circuit ruling (en banc, or in front of the entire set of judges), the court ruled that the 4th Amendment does apply at the border, that agents do need to recognize there’s an expectation of privacy, and cannot do a search without reason. Furthermore, they noted that merely encrypting a file with a password is not enough to trigger suspicion. This is a huge ruling in favor of privacy rights.

Read more: here

This makes too much sense…

2 thoughts on “9th Circuit Appeals Court: 4th Amendment Applies At The Border; Also: Password Protected Files Shouldn’t Arouse Suspicion

  1. The 4th Amendment is not null and void at the border. But yes, there are, and were loopholes or exceptions for the government to conduct warrantless searches, just as there are multiple exceptions in places other than the border. Some exceptions to the warrant requirement include but are not limited to: Exigent circumstances, Plain view doctrine, Consent, Certain electronic searches and seizures, Certain searches and seizures with relation to Customs and Border Protection, and a multitude of situations enacted under the Patriot Act. Although it should be noted that the Patriot Act has had multiple provisions ruled unconstitutional under the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments in multiple Federal Courts.

    (2012) Cornell University Law School- Fourth Amendment Overview- Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement

  2. Pingback: Petty and Pushy | Lynn's Little Nest

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