Accessibility links

USA

Civil Rights Group Sues US for Details on Searches of Travelers' Cellphones, Computers

  • Ken Schwartz

FILE - A passenger talks on the phone as American Airlines jets sit parked at their gates at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport, Jan. 25, 2016. A civil rights group is suing the Trump administration for details on how data found by immigration officials on travelers' electronic devices is kept or shared.

A civil rights group is suing the Trump administration for details on what happens when U.S. immigration officers search travelers' cellphones, computers and similar devices.

Specifically, the Knight First Amendment Institute in New York wants to know how such data found on these devices is kept or shared.

"People today store their most intimate information on their electronic devices, reflecting their thoughts, explorations, activities and associations," the lawsuit states. "Subjecting that information to unfettered government scrutiny invades the core of individual privacy and threatens free inquiry and expression."

The Knight Institute filed its lawsuit after the government failed to respond in a timely manner to a Freedom of Information Act request to address its concern.

Under Homeland Security Department guidelines, customs and border patrol officers do not always need a warrant or suspicion before searching an electronic device.

Homeland Security and Trump administration officials have not commented on the lawsuit.

XS
SM
MD
LG