CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nelson on Requiring Reasonable Suspicion for Searches of Laptop Computers at the Border

John William Nelson  (Samford University - Cumberland School of Law and University of East Anglia - Norwich Law School) has posted Border Confidential: Why Searches of Laptop Computers at the Border Should Require Reasonable Suspicion (American Journal of Trial Advocacy, Vol. 31, 2007) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Our laptops are capable of containing large amounts of personal, private, intimate, and confidential information. At the same time, the power of the government to search us and our possessions is at its zenith during a border crossing. How should our laptops be treated during these border crossings? This Note examines the background of the border search exception and the privacy interests we each have in our laptop computers. This Note argues that searches of our laptop computers should be viewed as highly intrusive in nature because of the ability to quickly sort through vast amounts of intimate and private data. Further, this Note argues that a reasonable suspicion should be required before government can search our laptops during a border crossing.

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