News Worms
News Worms


Feds seized $22 million in cocaine hidden in furniture

Feds seized $22 million in cocaine hidden in furniture

The new rules, an update to guidance put into place in 2009, continue to permit agents to inspect information stored on a device at random. If the agent is still not able to unlock the device, they may detain the device and seek technical assistance to search the contents. Agents are specifically forbidden from looking at any information "in the cloud" that a device could access. It may include information and private messaging on social media platforms, data backed up to the cloud, and web-based email services if messages are not downloaded to the electronic device.

CBP is authorized to search any device of any global traveler, no matter they are US citizens or not, as they leave or enter the United States, similar to a bag search. But they can't copy the data or connect an external device to analyse the contents unless they have grounds to suspect an individual is breaking USA law or that there is a "national security concern". And, again, the directive does not impose any suspicion standard on basic searches.

But Cotterman was decided before US v. Riley, in which the Supreme Court required police to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before conducting a search of a cell phone seized in connection with an arrest.

The supervisor determines validity of the advanced search through "reasonable suspicion", which can be anything from illegal acts to issues of national concern. CBP officers must ask travelers to identify any privileged information. The policy does not outline any special process or protection for journalists' materials or medical records. According to the New Directive, USCBP officers will be permitted to examine this information.

"It is positive that CBP's policy would at least require officers to have some level of suspicion before copying and using electronic methods to search a traveler's electronic device", Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at the ACLU, said in a.

So, the USCBP does not now have the legal authority to compel travelers to assist them in unlocking an electronic device at the border. If the USCBP officer is unable to complete an inspection of an electronic device because it is protected by a passcode or encryption, they may seize the device pending a determination as to its admissibility, exclusion or other disposition. The new directive requires that officers appropriately safeguard information that is retained, copied, or seized, including keeping materials in locked cabinets or rooms, documenting and tracking copies, and generally safeguarding materials during conveyance.

"As the world of information technology evolves, techniques used by CBP and other law enforcement agencies must also evolve to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals who use new technologies to commit crimes", the agency said in a statement.

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