A court of appeals has determined that, if you're entering the US, border guards have every right to search through the contents of your laptop, even if they have no reason to be suspicious. This fits with an earlier Supreme Court ruling that basically said the 4th Amendment doesn't apply at the border. All this case does is say that the data on your laptop is equally available to border guards. The author of the News.com article, Declan McCullough, suggests people learn how to encrypt data on their laptops if they're worried -- but will that matter? What happens if the border guards ask to see the encrypted data as well? What are the limits? Also, we've noted in the past that officials have used just the presence of encryption software as evidence that you may have committed a crime, so encrypting data you'd like to keep confidential hardly seems likely to protect that data.
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