Is It OK For The Border Patrol To Search Laptops?

There seems to be some concern whether the US Border Patrol should be allowed to search laptops, whether there is suspicion of illegal activity or not. Two US Senators, as well as others are questioning the policies that the US Border Patrol has in place and whether they are necessary to protect the US or not. In the article it states:

“If you asked [U.S. residents] whether the government has a right to open their laptops, read their documents and e-mails, look at their photographs, and examine the Web sites they have visited, all without any suspicion of wrongdoing, I think those same Americans would say that the government has absolutely no right to do that,” said Feingold, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. “And if you asked him whether that actually happens, they would say, ‘not in the United States of America.’”

Two witnesses at a hearing before the subcommittee Wednesday described widespread CBP searches of electronic devices at borders, with data copies and devices sometimes confiscated for weeks. One Muslim executive at a U.S. tech vendor has been subjected to border interrogations at least eight times since early 2007, said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates.

Other travelers have been asked why they are Muslim, were questioned about their views of U.S. presidential candidates and had laptops and cell phones searched or confiscated, Khera said. “Innocent Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans from all walks of life have had their electronic devices searched by CBP agents, or have been interrogated by CBP agents … all without any reasonable suspicion that the individuals were engaged in unlawful activity,” she said.

I am not sure if I completely understand why the US Border Patrol is checking laptops, digital cameras and other electronic devices. We have this statement as well:

Searches of electronic devices at borders have caught several child pornographers and can be used to prevent terrorist attacks, he said. 

How does one prevent a terrorist attack by catching a child pornographer?

But what do you think? Should the US Border Patrol be allowed to view emails on a laptop in the name of national security?

Comments welcome.

Source.

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I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • Ryan

    The TSA employs some jackasses and bigots that aren’t qualifies to bag my groceries, much less check my bags.

    Seriously, they ask the most retarded questions when you get there.

    George Carlin actually had a pretty funny skit where he was making fun of the TSA, shows you how good of a comedian he was, I had been through everything he was describing and falling out of my chair laughing.

    They dig up some of the most unprofessional people that would be totally unemployable anywhere else.