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Laptop Searches By U.S. Customs

By Peter A. Quinter and Caleb W. Sullivan

Tel. 954.985.4101

Fax 954.985.4176

With increasing frequency, international business travelers are being confronted with the distinct possibility that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“U.S. Customs”) may seize and extensively examine the content of laptop devices routinely carried across international borders. Business travelers, concerned in large measure about the security and protection of proprietary and personal information stored on laptops and other electronic devices are complaining about the justification and intrusiveness of these searches. Not surprisingly, such developments have led to the filing of lawsuits in some jurisdictions as to whether or not U.S. Customs’ actions are constitutional and, if so, within the administrative authority of U.S. Customs.