A quick followup to Tuesdayâs post: While the courts have made it clear that US Customs agents have the right to browse your computer any time you bring it across the border, there is one very interesting dissenting opinion.
During a 2006 child pornography case, where the evidence relied on an airport search of the defendantâs computer as he returned from the Philippines, Federal District Judge Dean Pregerson argued that the evidence should be suppressed. Whatâs interesting is his reasoning.
âElectronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory,â he wrote. âThey are capable of storing our thoughts, ranging from the most whimsical to the most profound.â
He says that authorities should not be able to search computers, BlackBerries, or PDAs without probable cause, because, as The New York Times reports, they can store âdiaries, letters, medical information, financial records, trade secrets, attorney-client materials and â the clincher, of course â information about reportersâ âconfidential sources and story leads.â â
Judge Pregersonâs idea, however, is not the law. Most rulings agree that computers are simply lifeless gadgets and that anyone crossing the US border is liable to a full review of their belongs, digital or otherwise. Still, itâs a cool idea.
Border security â for your laptop