What American border agents search and seize


Hugo Martin
McClatchy News
February 23, 2010

LOS ANGELES – In the last year and a half, civil liberties groups and business travel leaders have complained about U.S. Border Patrol agents’ broad authority to search and seize laptops and other electronic gadgets carried by international travellers. But new information details the extent to which this has happened.

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Debate over the searches picked up steam in July 2008 when federal officials issued a policy directive that makes clear that agents at airports and borders can look into your electronic devices without first establishing suspicion of wrongdoing.

In a recent nine-month period, U.S. Customs and Border Protection searched and seized 1,644 devices from travelers entering and leaving the country, according to data the American Civil Liberties Union obtained through a lawsuit.

The most common target: cellphones.

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