US Customs can search phones but not data stored in the cloud

From Engadget - July 13, 2017

Back in February, Wyden asked Homeland Security to explain why CPB has been conducting more searches than ever before -- it looked through 5,000 travelers' electronic devices in February alone, whereas it only did 5,000 total in 2015. The surge in border searches also prompted the senator to conjure up a bill that would require a warrant to search a US citizen and would forbid officials from asking them for their passwords.

On June 20th, McALeenan finally replied, admitting that the division authorizes officials to conduct searches without warrants to determine if a device contains child pornography or anything that could be a threat to national security. However, he also said officials can only look at data stored on the phone itself:

"CBP's authority to conduct border searches extends to all merchandise entering or departing the United States, including information that is physically resident on an electronic device transported by an international traveler. Therefore, border searches conducted by CBP do not extend to information that is located solely on remote servers."


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