​If you happen to find yourself crossing the US border with porn, self-made or otherwise, just know that US Customs and Border Protection is legally required to confiscate your naughty media.

In a recent article, we investigated the Department of Homeland Security policy of searching the electronic devices of travelers without warrants or probable cause. This got us thinking about what sorts of things the average person might have on their computer that would trigger a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) action. We found one, as laid out in 19 US Code § 1305.

Under 19 U.S.C. § 1305, the import of “any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, [etc.]” … “or other article which is obscene or immoral” is unlawful. CBP interprets this to mean that it is illegal to bring pornography into the United States, even if the possession of that pornography inside of the US is completely legal.

Chances are, this law was already outdated when it was implemented, but it becomes truly absurd when you consider that the enforcing agency in this case has the right to search anyone’s computer for effectively any reason while they are entering or leaving the country.

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