EFF Asks Appeals Court To Rehear Case On Laptop Searches At The Border
from the let's-try-this-again dept
Back in April, we noted that an appeals court reversed the one lower court ruling that found that customs agents at the border were overstepping their bounds by searching and confiscating travelers’ laptops without probable cause. This brought the 9th circuit into alignment with our circuits, so that, generally speaking, it appeared our judicial system had decided that your 4th Amendment rights do not apply at the border. This is particularly problematic for laptops, because unlike tangible goods that you pack, you don’t choose to “pack” all the data on your laptop. In other words, with most tangible goods you bring across the border, it’s done as a proactive choice. With the data on your laptop, it’s the opposite. Unless you proactively delete it from your computer, it’s there.
The EFF already has demanded Congress look into this issue, and now it’s urged the full appeals court to review this latest decision. Given that all the other circuit courts have also ruled this way, it may be difficult to get the court to agree to rehear the case (or, if they do, to change the decision). At some point, it’s likely this issue will get appealed to the Supreme Court as well — though it will be interesting to see if the Supreme Court takes the case without a seeing a split in the lower courts.