DHS Faces Lawsuit Over Phone, Laptop Searches

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are suing the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of 11 people who had their electronic devices searched without a warrant. Those searches occurred at the border and they sometimes led to the plaintiffs losing their devices for months.

Among the plaintiffs are 10 citizens and one permanent resident. One of the plaintiffs is a NASA engineer who had his phone taken by federal officials. Another was allegedly choked by officers for refusing to hand over their device.

US Customs and Border Patrol have drastically increased their device searches at the border, leading to widespread criticism.

his kind of arbitrary intrusion into people's lives isn't just outrageous, unnecessary, illogical, and wasteful. It's also unconstitutional, in violation of both the First and Fourth Amendments...We do not forfeit our constitutional rights when we return to the United States from abroad. If government agents want to search a person's electronic devices, they can ask a judge for a warrant. This is what the Constitution demands. Our clients understand this. They're standing up for all of us, and we're standing with them. - ACLU