Customs and Border Protection has issued new guidelines on searching phones, tablets, laptops and other devices at borders to address challenges surfacing in the age of encryption.
The new rules, which replace those last issued in 2009, allow Border Patrol agents to search devices for stored information as long as it is accessible through device software. Officers cannot use the device to access data stored beyond it, though, unless there is reasonable suspicion of an offense or a national security concern. Even then, officers must have supervisory approval to conduct a more advanced search.
Other updates to the regulations include permission to detain a device for further review, although not for longer than five days, and strict procedures about information protected by attorney-client privlege.