My wife works for an international training company. She recently received the following communications and I was just thinking if this affects everyone.
I can't post the full communication but you will get the idea from the following:
US Customs agents may require individuals to hand-over laptops and electronic devices for customs search.
Individuals may be asked to provide passwords & access the items and items could be retained by Customs and Border Protection.
No specific evidence is necessary for US Customs to request a search
Any electronic devise can be searched
Your laptop and electronic devices may be retained by US Customs
MP3 Player, I-Pod
PDA, Blackberries, etc.
Electronic storage devices, such as USB memory
I know laptop can get checked but I've never boot it up for anyone to check the contents. It looks like customs can check and seize any electronic storage device.
Anyone else heard of this before, and surely this will extend wait times at ports (cruise and air) even long if this is the case.
This news has been out for a while now. I don't think it will have much, or any impact on wait times. It would probably be a rare instance for them to do this.
This has to do with a federal court decision regarding a Canadian man who had kiddie porn on his laptop. Customs suspected him and accessed the images and arrested him. The man sued claiming they had no right to access his laptop. The courts disagreed and said Customs can pretty much do whatever they want in searching for contraband.
They do this to allow for search of priated software and movies. Preventing people from storing the software on the hard drives or memory cards of the devices.
I agree with Dave in that it pretty much allows them to do what they feel is needed.
Yes, entry points to countries are unique in that you are considered to be in a "no man's" land where the rights of whatever country you are trying to enter don't necessarily apply.
I wouldn't worry about, and I am not. I think they will only do this instrusive search if probable cause is there. It is no different than when you've seen them taking cars apart looking for drugs.
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