theftresizedThe Obama administration unveiled new rules on Aug. 27 for searching computers and other electronic devices when people enter the United States, aiming to address concerns about violating privacy and constitutional rights, Reuters reports. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security defended such searches as necessary to detect information about potential terrorism plots, as well as other crimes such as child pornography and copyright infringement. “The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers, while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. Privacy groups have pushed Congress to stop border officers from searching laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices without probable cause when people enter or return to the country. The new rules permit searches of such devices without a person’s consent, but the review is to be done in the presence of the owner, unless there are national security or law-enforcement reasons to conduct it elsewhere. Immigration and customs officers also can hold the devices or the data, which may be copied without the knowledge of the owner for further review. But the rules direct border officers to be careful when handling legal or business materials or other sensitive data…

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