Can U.S. border guards search your phone?If you’re traveling into America, can U.S. border guards search your phone? The answer, in the wake of some new policy, is yes.

In a recent story posted to Yahoo, new rules as laid out by January 4 directive (called “Border Search of Electronic Devices”) are broken down into digestible pieces. It’s based on Senate testimony, insight from immigration lawyer Henry Chang, and details provided by United States Secretary of Homeland Security. Here are some of the biggest things to know, as taken from the story:

  • “Your passcode: Agents can demand a passcode to open your phone without probable cause.”
  • “Advanced search: An officer may judge it necessary for national security purposes, such as cases where the traveller is on a watch list, to connect a phone to a hard drive, to copy its contents for analysis. The directive says this requires the approval of a certain rank of supervisor.”
  • “Detention: If they can’t access a device, officers can detain it for a multi-day period. Detentions beyond five days must be approved by management. To detain a device, officers must fill out a form.”

There’s a bunch more that you’d be better served by knowing, so read the whole article. As for advice? Chang has three tips:

  • “Before crossing the border, delete private material or transfer it to the cloud”
  • “At the border, turn on airplane mode yourself”
  • “Be prepared, unless you have some really compelling privacy reason, to just turn over your phone”

Related: Enhanced Security on Inbound International Flights Starts This Week



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