9th Circ. Pioneers Laptop Search Limits In Border Case

By Allison Grande (March 11, 2013, 10:28 PM EDT) -- The Ninth Circuit on Friday narrowed the federal government's broad mandate to search laptops and other electronic devices for evidence of a crime at the U.S.' international borders, a move attorneys hope will encourage other courts to provide greater protection for data stored by companies and individuals.

In an 8-3 en banc decision, the Ninth Circuit held that forensic examinations of electronic devices seized at the border required a showing of reasonable suspicion, a standard the majority called "modest" in light of the Fourth Amendment's bar on unreasonable searches and seizures.

The federal government had used the border search exception to...

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