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The DHS checkpoint in Miami International Airport. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously undisclosed government evidence that alleges border officers have conducted "warrantless and suspicionless" searches of travelers' phones and laptops in airports and other U.S. ports of entry.

What's new: Through its lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, Alasaad v. Nielsen, the ACLU plans to ask the federal court to block these searches.

New lawsuit details, which the ACLU obtained through deposition testimony and documents:

  • DHS can share information from travelers' electronic devices with other government entities — including state, local and foreign agencies.
  • Domestic law enforcement can request Customs and Border Production (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search a traveler's electronic devices for a domestic investigation that is not related to customs or border security.
  • Border agents can search a traveler's electronic devices to gain information on someone who is not the traveler, including when the traveler is the business partner of someone else under investigation.

The backdrop: This lawsuit began in 2017 and has 11 plaintiffs — 10 U.S. citizens and 1 lawful permanent resident — who had their laptops or phones searched while traveling. The plaintiffs include a filmmaker, computer programmer, Harvard graduate student, NASA engineer and 2 journalists.

The ACLU's new filing:

Go deeper: Review the ACLU's privacy concerns in the original 2017 lawsuit

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to make clear that the DHS can share information from travelers' electronic devices with other government entities, not that it already has. We have also removed the reference to this being the first time DHS had spoken on the record about searching travelers' electronics.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.