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CBP Establishes New Rules for Searching Electronic Devices

January 10, 2018

On January 4, 2018, U.S. CBP announced an updated policy for searching electronic devices at U.S. borders to enhance transparency, accountability, and oversight. The goal of the policy is to “protect the rights of individuals against unreasonable search and seizure and ensure privacy protections while accomplishing its enforcement mission.” The Directive imposes tightening restrictions on CBP agents’ ability to search electronic devices for travelers entering or exiting the United States. The Directive requires CBP agents to have “reasonable suspicion” of unlawful activity or demonstrate any “national security concern” in order to exercise advanced searches on electronic devices which include computers, removable media, disks, drives, tablets, mobile phones, cameras, and any other communication, electronics, or digital devices that belong to individuals entering or exiting the United States. The Directive only authorizes the agents to inspect data stored on an electronic device, not in the cloud.