The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to try to learn more about searches of laptop computers and other devices carried by travelers crossing into the U.S.
A year ago CBP issued a policy that permits officials to search laptops and similar devices without suspicion of wrongdoing. The ACLU wants to know how the searches square with the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches, and other constitutional protections.

"These highly intrusive government searches into a traveler`s most private information, without any reasonable suspicion, are a threat to the most basic privacy rights guaranteed in the Constitution," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU First Amendment Working Group.

"Searching or retaining a traveler`s personal information – especially the vast stores of information contained in a laptop or other electronic storage device – could also have a chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas and beliefs."

Crump will be a speaker at the ACLU-VT’s June 29 conference in South Burlington on “Thought and Expression in a Changing World.”

Read more about the ACLU’s FOIA request .