Court Sides With Government on Search of Electronics at Borders

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A US court has upheld the right of the Government to search and scan electronic devices of the travelers at the borders by dismissing a lawsuit that had challenged this policy of the Government.

Judge of the Federal Court, Edward R. Korman, has held that the searches of electronic devices were rare in nature, therefore, the plaintiffs did not have enough standing in the case. He said that “there is not a substantial risk that their electronic devices will be subject to a search or seizure without reasonable suspicion.”

He went on to say that even when the plaintiffs could establish standing, they were not likely to win on the merits of the case because in his opinion no reasonable suspicion was needed by the Government to search, scan, examine or confiscate cellphone, laptop or other electronic device of a traveler.

Lawyer representing the American Civil Liberties Union has said that “There’s no silver lining to this decision. It’s not just that we lost the case. It’s that the judge decided against us on multiple alternative grounds.”

The lawsuit was brought in 2010 by one Pascal Abidor, a student of Islamic Studies, who was removed from a train between Canada and New York. He was questioned after being handcuffed in a cell for many hours and then his laptop was seized by the American border agents and retained for 11 days.

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