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Judge Sharply Questions Warrantless Electronics Searches at US Border

A lawsuit seeks to wipe out policies that allow agents of two agencies broad discretion to search the personal devices of anyone entering the U.S., such as cellphones and laptops

A federal judge will not dismiss a lawsuit challenging the government’s authority to search personal electronics like cell phones at the United States border without warrants, NBC News reported.

Judge Denise Casper of the U.S. District Court in Boston said searching electronic devices is "more intrusive than searches of one's person or effects."

The order, issued by the court last week, rejected the government’s argument that personal electronics can be searched without warrants under the same authority that allows luggage and other physical containers to be searched by the Department of Homeland Security.

The lawsuit, brought last year by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, seeks to wipe out policies that allow agents of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement broad discretion to search the personal devices of anyone entering the U.S., such as cellphones and laptops.

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