Monday,  October 2, 2023  7:48 am

U.S. gov't changes rules for electronic device searches

U.S. gov't changes rules for electronic device searches

New rules introduced last week will require U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to have “reasonable suspicion” of criminal behaviour in order to carry out advanced searches of electronic devices held by individuals entering or exiting the country.

While agents will be able to continue to examine data stored on a device, they will need to demonstrate a reasonable suspicion of criminal intent or a ‘national security concern’ to further analyze that data, such as connecting a smartphone to an external device to inspect or copy its contents.

John Wagner, deputy executive assistant commissioner, Office of Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement, “in this digital age, border searches of electronic devices are essential to enforcing the law at the U.S. border and to protecting the American people. CBP is committed to preserving the civil rights and civil liberties of those we encounter, including the small number of travelers whose devices are searched, which is why the updated directive includes provisions above and beyond prevailing constitutional and legal requirements.”

According to the agency, 30,200 border searches, both inbound and outbound, of electronic devices were conducted in 2017, approximately 0.007 per cent of the more than 397 million arriving international travelers processed by CBP officers. By comparison, in 2016, 0.005 per cent - more than 18,400 - of the more than 390 million arriving international travellers had their electronic devices searched.