Customs can look through your laptop just for fun

I'm not kidding. According to this decision from the 9th circuit, they can look at anything they want without probable cause.

1 comment:

DWPittelli said...

Why is is surprising or "indefensible" that Customs can look through our laptops without probable cause?

Everyone knows that Customs can search your suitcase, etc., when entering the country, with no given reason for suspicion. Why should we assume a new computer exception, when previous exceptions have involved assaults on dignity (body cavity search) or, hypothetically, destruction of property (albeit going beyond the level represented by complete disassembly of a car gas tank).

The notion that a computer is like a house or one's brain because it holds so much info is pretty absurd. For one thing, if people start importing manufactured housing from Mexico, then they will be subject to search without probable cause at the border. (Indeed, mobile homes on the road are treated like cars, with reduced expectation of privacy even within the US, not like homes, because they are mobile; I find this more problematic than the border exception.)