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ACLU Lawsuit Aims To Protect Travelers' Electronic Devices When Returning To U.S.

Published: Saturday, September 16, 2017 - 5:05am

A new lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation aims to protect the electronic devices of travelers returning to the U.S.

Most of us travel with our phones and laptops, but an increasing number of those returning to the United States are finding that border patrol agents want access to those devices, without a search warrant.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU sued the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.

ACLU staff attorney Esha Bhandari said the current practice leaves the door wide open to racial and ethnic profiling.

"When the government is able to search electronic devices without any suspicion, there is a risk that individuals will be targeted for search based on their race or religion or association. A warrant based on probable cause can help protect against that," Bhandari said.

According to advocates, the lawsuit was filed to require the U.S. government to stop treating the border as a place where agents can end-run the Constitution.