Fourth Circuit Rules Suspicion is Needed to Search Electronic Devices Seized at the Border


Last year, the Committee for Justice joined Cause of Action Institute and Floor 64, Inc. in filing an amicus brief in support of the appellant in United States v. Kolsuz, arguing that that the Fourth Amendment's border search exception does not give U.S. Customs and Border Protection unlimited warrantless search authority for electronic devices.

“Nevertheless, customs agents purport to have unfettered access to the contents of electronic devices carried by such individuals, without any reasonable suspicion or probable cause of a crime, simply by the fact that the individual wishes to leave or enter the United States,” the brief states.

On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit ruled that individualized suspicion is needed before government officials can use forensic software to search an electronic device seized at the border.

View Fourth Circuit opinion as a PDF.


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