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Monday, 31st August 2009

Secretary Napolitano Announces New Directives on Border Searches of Electronic Media

Secretary Napolitano Announces New Directives on Border Searches of Electronic Media

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced new directives to enhance and clarify oversight for searches of computers and other electronic media at U.S. ports of entry—a critical step designed to bolster the Department’s efforts to combat transnational crime and terrorism while protecting privacy and civil liberties.
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The new directives address the circumstances under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can conduct border searches of electronic media—consistent with the Department’s Constitutional authority to search other sensitive non-electronic materials, such as briefcases, backpacks and notebooks, at U.S. borders.

The directives, available at DHS.gov, will enhance transparency, accountability and oversight of electronic media searches at U.S. ports of entry and includes new administrative procedures designed to reflect broad considerations of civil liberties and privacy protections—measures designed to ensure that officers and agents understand their responsibilities to protect individual private information and that individuals understand their rights.

Searches of electronic media, permitted by law and carried out at borders and ports of entry, are vital to detecting information that poses serious harm to the United States, including terrorist plans, or constitutes criminal activity—such as possession of child pornography and trademark or copyright infringement.

+ CBP Border Search of Electronic Devices Containing Information
(PDF, 10 pages - 4.87 MB)
+ ICE Border Searches of Electronic Media (PDF, 10 pages - 453 KB)
+ Privacy Impact Assessment: Border Searches of Electronic Information
(PDF, 51 pages - 6 MB)

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security


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