Technology

Border agents can search phones freely under new circuit court ruling

Border agents can search phones freely under new circuit court ruling
More than 1 million people traveled on planes in US on a single day ahead of Thanksgiving amid coronavirus pandemic
David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A US appeals court has ruled that Customs and Border Protection agents can conduct in-depth searches of phones and laptops, overturning an earlier legal victory for civil liberties groups. First Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch declared that both basic and “advanced” searches, which include reviewing and copying data without a warrant, fall within “permissible constitutional grounds” at the American border.

Lynch ruled against a group of US citizens and residents objecting to invasive searches of their electronic devices. The group includes Sidd Bikkannavar, a NASA scientist who was detained and pressured to unlock a secure government-issued phone. Most of the incidents date to 2017, when then-President Donald Trump pushed for tighter border…

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