US Customs and Border Protection Able to Search Your Phone: New Bill Might Change That
RingPlus News Service Los Angeles April 11th, 2017: Customs and Border protection are allowed to search your personal electronics without the use of a warrant. A bill introduced on Tuesday by the US Senate, would make this illegal.
When crossing the border into the US, some of the common questions you are asked are “Where did you visit?” and “Do you have anything to declare?” Now US Customs and Border protection have included the search of personal electronics. Agents can search your phone, laptop and other electronic devices. If one refuses access to these items, the penalties range from detainment to deportation.
On Tuesday, the US House of Representative and Senate have put forth legislation that would protect any “US Persons” from this procedure. This includes US citizens, immigrants and permanent residents.
At the moment, Border agents do not need any court granted warrant to begin searching your device. Cell Phone searches at the border have jumped from a little under 5,000 in 2015 to 25,000 in 2016. Agents are reported to have searched 5,000 phones in February alone. Customs and border agents are also asking for social media passwords for websites such as Facebook and Twitter. This practice has been reported by The Wall Street Journal, which states that these types of requests might become part of the visa application process.
The bill introduced on Tuesday would require a warrant to be granted before any individual’s personal electronics can be looked at. The bill also makes sure that time and resources are best used fighting crime and terrorism. Not prying thru their citizen’s personal electronics. Both Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs enforcement have denied to comment on this.