Today, Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Paul (R-KY) and Representatives Polis (D-CO), Farenthold (R-TX), Smith (D-WA), and Beyer (D-VA) introduced the Protecting Data at the Border Act, which would require the government to obtain a warrant to search the data of U.S. persons. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) supports the bill and believes, as the bill’s sponsors say, that our “Constitutional rights shouldn’t disappear at the border.”
“A search of your cell phone or social media account is a direct look behind the curtain that covers the most intimate aspects of your life. A border stop shouldn’t be an excuse for extreme surveillance such as downloading the entire contents of your phone. This bill would ensure that the government demonstrates a good reason for searches at the border, and that a judge agrees,” said Greg Nojeim, CDT Director, Freedom, Security, and Technology Project.
CDT advocates for strong privacy and free expression rights at the border for both U.S. persons and visitors to the United States. We have been a vocal opponent of any proposal aimed at collecting passwords or social media identifiers at the border.