Call to support the Protecting Data at the Border Act!

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement needed a warrant to search your phone, even if you had been arrested. The opinion said, “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life’…The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant.”

It’s been 7 years since that decision and the courts still aren’t sure whether or not it applies at the border. This means that currently border patrol agents can search your phone when they stop you. And not just at the border. 100 miles inland from it as well. (Oh yes, the coast counts as a border too.) This means that millions of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights are being ignored on the daily.

We can’t wait on the courts to fix this. That’s why a bipartisan group of law makers, including Ron Wyden, Rand Paul, Ed Markey and Ted Leiu, have introduced legislation in both the House (H.R.5524) and Senate (S.2957) to make it crystal clear that law enforcement needs a warrant to search your phone—even at the border. The Protecting Data at the Border Act would:

  • Require border patrol to get a warrant based on probable cause before they can conduct a search of a person’s digital devices
  • Prohibit border patrol agents from delaying (for more than 4 hours) or denying entry into the United States if someone refuses to hand over passwords or PINs to an electronic device.
  • Require law enforcement get probable cause before seizing a device.
  • Require written consent for border agents to search a digital device, or provide access or info for online accounts.


Will you support our efforts to strengthen Fourth Amendment protections across the US? Please call your lawmakers now and urge them to cosponsor the Protecting Data at the Border Act.

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Belmont, MA