Kilograms of Cocaine Seized at Port of Philadelphia

10 January, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Phil Peters
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Reuters A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer interviews people entering the United States from Mexico at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California, on October 14, 2016.

Cope and Mackey also contend there isn't much difference between "basic" and "advanced" searches - that both are highly intrusive.

CBP issued the updated statistics on searches along with a new directive for its officers that state they may search data that is physically on an electronic device but not information stored on a cloud or other remote location. The discovery of those drugs led to an investigation in Newark and Cherry Hill by Immigrations & Customs Enforcement which remains pending.

Additionally, the directive does not apply to agencies outside of CBP that might conduct searches of devices taken at the border, and does not make clear that travelers should not be under an obligation to provide border officers with a password or other information to enable them to search their device. In other words, officers may not use the device to access information stored exclusively in the "Cloud".

If someone refuses to unlock a device, the device can be detained by CBP. If the USCBP officer is unable to complete an inspection of an electronic device because it is protected by a passcode or encryption, they may seize the device pending a determination as to its admissibility, exclusion or other disposition. If the agent is still not able to unlock the device, they may detain the device and seek technical assistance to search the contents.

The EFF/ACLU lawsuit alleges that border searches of electronic devices violate the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution when conducted without a warrant that is based on probable cause that the device contains data indicating the traveler has broken an immigration or customs law.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

As The Voyage Report covered in September, 10 U.S citizens have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the CBP, seeking to block the warrantless searches of travelers' electronic devices at the USA border.

Amid the continuing increase in the number and scope of warrantless searches, civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are challenging the legality of the inspections in court. CBP officers searched the electronic devices of approximately 0.007 percent of arriving global travelers.

The Supreme Court previously found that a routine search of any persons seeking admission to the USA, and their personal effects, may be performed without reasonable suspicion, probable cause or a warrant.

The number of searches of cellphones, laptops, tablets and other electronic data across US airports spiked from 2015 to 2016 and the upward trend continued past year. A lawsuit we filed previous year along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation challenges these warrantless searches as unconstitutional on behalf of 11 travelers who were subjected to them. To implement this prohibition, the directive requires CBP officers to ask travelers to disable their device's network connectivity, or to disable it themselves, before searching the device.

About 80 percent of searches are of non-U.S. citizens, said an ABC News report, noting that only diplomats are exempt.

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