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Friday, May 29, 2015

Federal Judge Knocks Gov't on Searches at U.S. Borders

On May 8, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the search of a traveler's laptop at a Los Angeles airport, in the absence of suspicion of ongoing or imminent criminal activity, was unreasonable and a violation of constitutional privacy protections.  The judge's 44-page opinion was a scathing indictment of the government's long-standing policy of allowing law enforcement to inspect anything, including electronics, at border crossings, without the applicability of normal Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Other federal judges, such as Edward R. Korman, have upheld the government policy, prompting the ACLU to call areas withing 100 miles of all U.S. borders a "Constitution-Free Zone."  Whether the government will appeal the ruling in the LA case is not known.  The policy has forced a number of multi-national firms to restrict their employees from leaving or entering the country with certain types of files or information on their laptops and mobile devices.

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