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Rights groups challenge warrantless cellphone searches at U.S. border


Added 04-30-19 05:10:03pm EST - “U.S. officials at ports of entry improperly contend they are entitled to confisc...” - Reuters.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reuters.com: “Rights groups challenge warrantless cellphone searches at U.S. border”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - U.S. officials at ports of entry improperly contend they are entitled to confiscate and search travelers’ cellphones and other devices without warrants to enforce laws that cover more than customs and immigration, according to a court filing by civil rights groups on Tuesday.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, top immigration and customs officials take the position that they have broad investigative authority.

For instance, David Lee Denton, an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said in a deposition that border officers could look through emails, social media posts and text messages to help in a range of investigations.

“So perhaps in a fraud investigation, one business might want to report their competitors for engaging in fraudulent business practices,” Denton said in his deposition. “And that would be a factor that might give an agent reasonable suspicion for a border search.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group, are suing the U.S. government and challenging that authority, which they say could lead to unconstitutional warrantless searches of devices at borders and airports.

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