- Oct 1, 2011
Judge deems personal property is subject to geographical suspicionless searches by police.
A US federal judge has reaffirmed an Obama administration policy granting officials the authority to search Americans' laptops, citing a controversial premise that makes citizens within 100 miles of the border eligible for a police check...
...The trouble is, the ACLU noted, that almost two-thirds of the population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US border. New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and dozens of other major metropolitan areas fall under the so-called “exemption” zone.
The civil-liberties advocacy group filed suit in 2010 on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a 29-year-old Islamic Studies student whose laptop computer was held for 11 days when he was traveling by Amtrak rail from Canada to his parents' home in New York.
Abidor was sitting in the train's cafe car when an officer forced him to take out his laptop then “ordered Mr. Abidor to enter his password,” the suit claimed. The computer contained images of Hamas and Hezbollah rallies and the agents, unmoved by Abidor's assertion the images were related to his studies, handcuffed the young man and kept him detained for three hours, questioning him numerous times.
Department of Homeland Security data indicates that 6,500 people had their devices search between 2008 and 2010 alone.