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Monday, 20 February 2017

Privacy advocates cite growing concern over electronic media searches at US border crossings

Picking up where we left off with our Weekend Edition: You might want to leave your laptop and smartphone at home if you are traveling to Amreeka, privacy advocates now recommend, according to the Associated Press. US Customs and Border Protection agents are searching the phones and other digital devices of international travelers at border checkpoints in airports. The practice has been common since before President Donald Trump took office, but the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation both report they have noticed “an uptick in complaints about searches of digital devices by border agents,” particularly since last month. The US government says “nothing has changed” and that the “perceived shift can be attributed to a jump in the number of electronic devices that people are carrying with them and shifting tactics as the agency adjusts to the amount and types of information that can be stored on today’s devices.” A word to the wise: Non-US citizens who refuse to allow their devices to be searched can be refused entry to the country, and citizens and green card holders can be detained (and their devices held for longer) under a rule that compels anyone who is asked to help a CBP agent with the agent’s investigation. Oh, and claiming privileged / confidential information — as an MD, lawyer or journalist — will get you nowhere. Canadians, don’t be so smug: The CBC reports that CBSA can do the same thing.

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