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Border agents are copying travelers’ data, leaving it on USB drives


Are you one of the travelers to the US who’ve been stopped, questioned, and required to hand over your electronic devices for search?

Our apologies: there’s a good chance that we still have your data kicking around on a USB drive. Somewhere. Maybe. Unless we lost it, I guess.

The Office of Inspector General issued a report, published on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website earlier this week, that details how well US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have been following standard operating procedures for searching travelers’ electronic devices, as authorized by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA).

The findings: not so great.

CBP agents are allowed to carry out warrantless device searches at all 328 ports of entries in the US: they’re allowed to manually – i.e., visually – inspect travelers’ phones, laptops, tablets, thumb drives or other electronic devices as they look for content related to terrorism, child abuse imagery, or...(continued)

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