Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

DHS, CBP Admit They Have No Legal Authority To Access Americans’ Social Media Accounts

This is a follow-up to the earlier article of US Border Patrol Says It Won’t Search Travelers’ Cloud Data.

Since at least 2009, the DHS has asserted a legal right to copy/search the contents of anyone’s electronic devices at the border. Its privacy assessment said no one has much privacy, at least not near US borders. Building on years of judicial national security deference, the DHS has recently expanded its searches of electronic devices, eliminating most of its adherence to the Fourth Amendment in the process. If your devices wander into the country’s Constitution-free zones, you can expect to suffer diminished expectations of privacy. However, the agencies now have turned about face.

The DHS has responded to questions asked by Senator Ron Wyden and the answers are a bit surprising: U.S. border officers aren’t allowed to look at any data stored only in the “cloud” — including social media data — when they search U.S. travelers’ phones, Customs and Border Protection acknowledged in a letter obtained Wednesday by NBC News.

In fact, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) now acknowledges it doesn’t have that authority in the first place.

Details may be found in an article by Tim Cushing ion the TechDirt web site at:

Categories: Legal Affairs

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