Risk
4/23/2008
02:39 PM
50%
50%

Border Agents Can Search Laptops Without Cause, Court Rules

The 3-0 decision is likely to extend to cell phones and other personal electronic devices.

U.S. border agents can search traveler's laptops without suspicion, according to a recent court ruling.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that computers are like luggage and therefore subject to searches at national borders and airports. The 3-0 decision is likely to extend to cell phones and other personal electronic devices. It overturns a previous ruling that sided with a defendant's arguments that laptop searches to constitute intrusions of the mind.

Timothy Arnold, a 43-year-old teacher from California, challenged the federal government's right to search laptops after border agents searched his computer nearly three years ago, reported finding child pornography, and arrested him on his way back from the Philippines.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled that agents must have reasonable suspicion to search electronic devices and said they did not meet that threshold in Arnold's case. The government appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court.

Federal laws allow border agents to search diaries and other personal material without cause. The U.S. Department of Justice claims that laptops are no different than other containers and agents must be able to search them in order to prevent crime and protect national security.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives disagrees. It filed an amicus brief siding with Arnold and pointing out that laptops contain personal information, which could be systematically collected, stored, and searched without justification or oversight. Laptops can also be confiscated and held indefinitely.

The ACTE has warned its members to be cautious about carrying proprietary information across U.S. borders because searches could compromise corporate privacy.

Arnold's lawyer plans to appeal the latest decision.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-3157
Published: 2015-07-02
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.

CVE-2015-3443
Published: 2015-07-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the basic dashboard in Thycotic Secret Server 8.6.x, 8.7.x, and 8.8.x before 8.8.000005 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a password entry, which is not properly handled when toggling the password mask.

CVE-2015-4228
Published: 2015-07-02
Cisco Digital Content Manager (DCM) 15.0.0 might allow remote ad servers to cause a denial of service (reboot) via malformed ad messages, aka Bug ID CSCur13999.

CVE-2015-4233
Published: 2015-07-02
SQL injection vulnerability in Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 8.6(1.2) allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via unspecified vectors, aka Bug ID CSCuu54037.

CVE-2015-4238
Published: 2015-07-02
The SNMP implementation in Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Software 8.4(7) and 8.6(1.2) allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (device reload) by sending many SNMP requests during a time of high network traffic, aka Bug ID CSCul02601.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marc Spitler, co-author of the Verizon DBIR will share some of the lesser-known but most intriguing tidbits from the massive report