US border guards searched 60 percent more devices in 2017

From Engadget - January 6, 2018

The good news is that customs agents will now need to have "reasonable suspicion" to perform a thorough search on your phones. Usually, an advanced search on electronic devices in airports means connecting them to an external gizmo that can analyze or copy their contents. Border guards can still manually search your gadget without a warrant, though, since the updated directives now state that you are "obligated to present electronic devices and the information contained therein in a condition that allows inspection of the device and its contents." One possible interpretation for that is you are expected to unlock your phone if an agent asks. It's not clear if you have the choice not to comply, since officers can apparently "detain" a device if they ca not complete an inspection.

While you can put your phone on airplane mode to prevent an agent from looking through emails, notes, documents and files saved in the cloud, that's definitely not enough for the ACLU. The organization, which filed a lawsuit against Homeland Security over this exact issue last year, said in a statement:

"It is positive that CBP's policy would at least require officers to have some level of suspicion before copying and using electronic methods to search a traveler's electronic device. However, this policy still falls far short of what the Constitution requires -- a search warrant based on probable cause.


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