DHS Reveals Some Data On Border Laptop Searches
from the was-that-so-tough? dept
Still, DHS has insisted it wants to keep this right, even as some politicians have looked to protect against laptop searches at the border. Earlier this year, DHS put out slightly clearer rules, but which still allowed for no probable cause in doing a search.
One big question hanging over all of this, however, was how often such searches took place. Thomas O'Toole alerts us to a new DHS report that finally reveals the numbers -- and, it's at least marginally good news: these sorts of searches happen very rarely. That's a good thing and suggests that the policy isn't widely abused:
Of the more than 144 million travelers that arrived at U.S. ports of entry between Oct. 1, 2008 and May 5, 2009, searches of electronic media were conducted on 1,947 of them, the DHS said.I'm certainly happy to see that such a policy is used so rarely, but I still question why it should be used at all.
Of this number, 696 searches were performed on laptop computers, the DHS said. Even here, not all of the laptops received an "in-depth" search of the device, the report states. A search sometimes may have been as simple as turning on a device to ensure that it was what it purported to be. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents conducted "in-depth" searches on 40 laptops, but the report did not describe what an in-depth search entailed.