On 10th May, the ABA Journal from the American Bar Association reported that some form of individualised suspicion is needed before the government can use forensic software to search a cellphone seized at the border, a federal appeals court said in a decision involving a Turkish citizen challenging the forensic search of his iPhone (he did not benefit from the decision and is serving 30 months for export offences).  Officers had seized his phone after they found firearms parts that required an export licence in his checked luggage.  It was the third time weapons parts were found in his luggage.  The forensic search of the phone produced information that included personal contact lists, emails, messenger conversations, photographs, videos, calendar, web browsing history, call logs and GPS tracking history.  The federal government has contended that searches of electronic devices require no warrant or individualised suspicion under an exception that allows searches of suitcases at the border.  The article says that the decision is the first federal appellate ruling to require individualised suspicion in a border search of a cellphone since the US Supreme Court ruled in Riley v. California in 2014 that police generally cannot search the contents of a cellphone seized during an arrest, unless they get a warrant.  In this most recent case, the court says that the forensic search of the phone should be considered a non-routine border search that requires some measure of individualised suspicion.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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