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EFF to Testify at Congressional Hearing on Electronic Searches at U.S. Borders

PRESS RELEASE
June 23, 2008
Wednesday Hearing on Laptop Searches and Other Privacy Violations

Washington, D.C. - On Wednesday, June 25, at 9 a.m., members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing will hold a public hearing on laptop searches and other privacy violations faced by Americans at the U.S. border.

Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation will appear at Wednesday's hearing to urge more congressional investigation and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security's border search practices and policies. While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that customs and border agents can perform "routine" searches at the border without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion, increasingly Americans are complaining about random and invasive searches of their laptops, cell phones, and other digital devices as they come home from overseas travel. In a typical search, U.S. border officials will turn on the device and then open and review files. If agents see something of interest, they may copy data or confiscate the device -- even if the traveler is not suspected of criminal activity.

"These ongoing baseless searches of electronic devices at America's borders are not 'routine,' they're unreasonable," said Tien. "It's hard to imagine something more invasive than a wholesale copying of private files from a personal computer. We need Congress and the courts to recognize a standard for digital searches and seizures at the border that protects the privacy, property, and free speech rights of Americans in the Information Age."

WHO:
Lee Tien
Senior Staff Attorney Electronic Frontier Foundation

WHAT:
"Laptop Searches and Other Violations of Privacy Faced by Americans Returning from Overseas Travel"
U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution

WHEN:
9 a.m.
Wednesday, June 25

WHERE:
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Room 226
Washington, D.C.

For more on the hearing:
http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=3420

Contacts:

Rebecca Jeschke
Media Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation
press@eff.org

Lee Tien
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
tien@eff.org

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