Nov 12, 2019

Court rules against warrantless searches of international travelers' devices

Airplane at a terminal.

Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Boston ruled Tuesday that warrantless government searches of international travelers' phones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling enhances the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the country, said Esha Bhandari, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  • "The government has vigorously defended the searches as a critical tool to protect America," AP notes.

What they're saying: "Border officers must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of contraband before they can search a traveler’s device," the ACLU said in a news release.

Read the judgment:

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