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US Customs says it can search devices but not data stored in the cloud at border

Ilya Ilyukhin/Unsplash

If you’re entering or exiting the US anytime soon, we have a bit of news for you. Border officials can search your devices with or without probable cause but, according to acting US Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McALeenan, they can’t touch information stored “solely” in the cloud. The quoted word is important here as that means border officials can still look at the information on your phone and check things on your email or social media accounts or even files from your cloud storage apps that are stored on the device itself.

McALeenan revealed these conditions in his reply to Senator Ron Wyden’s letter to Homeland Security about the sudden increase in searches of devices at US’s borders. In February alone, Wyden says, CPB looked through 5,000 devices of travelers, whereas that number was the total for the year 2015. McALeenan says they conduct searches to see if a gadget has things like child pornography or anything that can be considered a threat to the US’s national security. The commissioner has also mentioned that you can refuse to give the password to your personal devices but they also have the right to detain your device and if you aren’t a citizen, then this might mean you get denied entry into the country.

Source: The Verge

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