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9th Cir. Court. of Appeals Strengthens Warrantless Searches at Border

The authorities may seize laptops, cameras and other digital devices at the U.S. border without a warrant, and scour through them for days hundreds of miles away, a federal appeals court ruled.

The 2-1 decision Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as the government is increasingly invoking its broad, warrantless search-and-seizure powers at the U.S. border to probe the digital lives of travelers.

Under the “border search exception” of United States law, international travelers, including U.S. citizens, can be searched without a warrant as they enter the country. Under the Obama administration, law enforcement agents have aggressively used this power to search travelers’ laptops, sometimes copying the hard drive before returning the computer to its owner.

Decision is here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/03/30/09...

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/border-search