Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

USA border agency searched 30200 phones and computers in 2017

USA border agency searched 30200 phones and computers in 2017

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, US border authorities searched a record number of cellphones and other devices at USA points of entry a year ago.

In secondary, further inspection and review of CBP and national law enforcement databases and verification of the subject's biometrics revealed her true identity, citizenship and a prior immigration violation. That search can involve copying the data to use in an investigation later.

The new rules make clear that agents are only allowed to inspect information physically present on a device - and not information stored remotely, such as on the cloud. Mr. Kelly suggested past year that border agents may even ask travelers for their social-media passwords and access to their internet browsers. If the agent is still not able to unlock the device, they may detain the device and seek technical assistance to search the contents.

You can read the full new directive here.

30,200 phones searched, 19,051 were leaving the U.S. More than 80% of the devices belonged to foreigners or legal permanent residents, with less than one in five owned by a U.S. citizen.

However, agents can detain a device for more than 15 days with the approval of the director of field operations, the chief patrol agent, the director of air operations, the director of marine operations, the special agent in charge or any other equivalent manager, all of whom can also re-approve the detention every seven days.

The agency said the new directive supersedes the previous, which was released in 2009, and is created to enhance transparency, accountability and oversight of electronic device border searches performed by CBP.

According to a new report from the Associated Press, 30,200 phones and other such devices were inspected in fiscal year 2017.

Customs and Border Patrol agents inspecting a vehicle at Port of Lukeville, Arizona, on September 24, 2014. CBP's authority for the border search of electronic devices is and will continue to be exercised judiciously, responsibly, and consistent with the public trust.

CBP officials credit the spike, in part, to the fact that people now carry more devices - often several at a time - along with growing traveler volume and risk assessments.

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