1st Circ. OKs Broad Warrantless Border Phone Search Policy

Law360 (February 10, 2021, 1:48 PM EST) -- In a first-of-its-kind ruling Tuesday, the First Circuit found that searches of cellphones and other electronic devices at the U.S. border do not require a warrant or probable cause and can be used to search for contraband.

The panel afforded broad leeway to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, finding that the government's security interests are at their "zenith" when dealing with people crossing the border and outweigh privacy concerns.

"Given the volume of travelers passing through our nation's borders, warrantless electronic device searches are essential to the border search exception's purpose of ensuring that the...

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