Judge Says DHS Can't Hang Onto Travelers Laptops To Search Much Later Without A Warrant

from the a-bit-of-good-news dept

We just had a story about a court ruling saying that it was okay for customs agents to take a laptop away and search it somewhere else if they had reasonable suspicion. This has followed a string of controversial court decisions, which say there are no 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure at the border. On top of that, the Department of Homeland Security has made it pretty clear that it feels it can do whatever it wants at the border.

However, there may be some limits. Another recent court ruling has told Homeland Security that it cannot seize a laptop, hang onto it indefinitely and do searches on it many months later without a warrant. It's not entirely clear where the line lies here. The court basically says that earlier searches of the same laptop were fine, but there was no reason to hold onto it for so many months and then do another search.
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Filed Under: 4th amendment, border, customs, laptops, privacy, searches, warrants


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  1. identicon
    Ed C., 11 Jun 2010 @ 11:10am

    It might be one thing for them to have the right to seize property at the board without cause, but then taking it into the county without obtaining a warrant should make the seizure and the possession unlawful. They may not have to abide by the law when they are "outside" the country, but they damn better have to abide by it the moment they set one foot into it!

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