Miller dismissed Verma’s contention that the computer search at the airport had been non-routine or unduly intrusive.
“The court finds that reviewing the files of a computer does not rise to the level of “invasion of the privacy and dignity of the individual to make the search non-routine,” he wrote in a 14-page ruling. “Even had the search of the computer been as exhaustive as Verma claims, the court is not convinced it would be considered non-routine” and needing reasonable cause or particularized suspicion for it to be conducted, he wrote.
So held the Southern District of Texas, the federal court with jurisdiction over part of the Texas-Mexico border.
If you carry a laptop across the border — whether on a business trip or a personal one — you’d do well to ensure that you do not have sensitive client files.
For seriously sensitive files, the reality is that sophisticated forensics can detect even the magnetic shadows left behind after you delete a file, or fragments of that file that might have been written temporarily to disk by your operating system (or, of course, the magnetic shadows of those temporary files). Those documents demand a more robust solution. But anyone who values their privacy should be aware that U.S. border officials might decide to poke around in the personal files of anyone who wants to reenter the country.
Hat tip: IT Business Edge