The Electronic Frontier Foundation put forth a court filing asking warrants be required for all search and seizure procedures of digital devices at international airports and United States borders.
Currently, these searches are permitted under an exception to the Fourth Amendment for routine enforcement of immigration and customs. Under the exception, digital devices that are seized by United States Customs and Border Protection agents can only have the device’s local data searched, not the cloud storage, and this is regardless of where cloud storage servers are located.
The average digital device, however, will hold much more data than ever anticipated. From documents, videos, messages, and even photos to offline emails, up-coming appointments, and more.
The information gathered from a digital device is “light years beyond the minimal information generally contained in other kinds of personal items we might carry in our suitcases,” Sophia Cope, EFF staff attorney, told Tech Crunch. She continues declaring the examination of digital devices is “highly intrusive,” not to mention the fact that data stored in the cloud can easily seem to be a part of the device’s local storage.
In addition, the EFF has referred to the creation of the border search exception. The exception is to be used for the narrow purposes of enforcing customs and immigration laws. There are questions asking how the general search of digital devices could further the purposes of CBP in a way that can justify the neglect of suspicion or warrant needed.