Customs Officers Can Search Your Laptop, Too
If you've ever been through customs, you're probably well aware that the kind, uniformed agents can sift through your personal belongings as they please and ask you what you've been up to, where you're headed, and just what it is you're bringing back with you. Now, with more and more travelers taking their computers with them, it's becoming more and more clear that those custom agents can look through your digital files as well.
There have been a number of cases tried, most of them involving agents who have found child pornography, and in general, agents have been shown to have the right to snoop wherever they look. There is one dissenting voice, however, a Federal Judge in Los Angeles who stated that "Electronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory." But, his opinion was overruled in appeals, where judges opined that if the content on a machine was printed it would definitely be searchable.
The waters surrounding this issue are still somewhat less than crystal clear, but it should be clear that if you plan on taking something questionable with you on your laptop as you travel abroad this summer, you should definitely think twice.
From Techdirt and 'New York Times'
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