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  • Henry Park

Crossing the border, your electronic devices can be searched

On February 9, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that (1) basic searches of electronic devices at the border are routine searches that may be performed without reasonable suspicion, and (2) advanced searches of electronic devices at the border do not require a warrant or probable cause (see Alasaad v. Alejandro Mayorkas, Appeal Nos 20-1077, 20-1081 (February 9, 2021, link hosted on

If you are crossing the border for work, you should consider the following suggestions (see ACLU link; ABA link): (1) travel with as little data and as few devices as possible, (2) encrypt devices with strong and unique passwords and shut them down when crossing the border, (3) store sensitive data in a secure cloud-storage account, (4) turn on airplane mode for all devices before crossing a border checkpoint, and (5) if you are an attorney, let the officers know if there is privileged matter on your devices .

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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