On the BBC, Tara McKelvey explains what happens if authorities seize your laptop. Reportedly, border officials can take your computer to be searched for "evidence of criminal activity, foreign intelligence links, or terrorist ties" without citing a legal reason.
"Searches of electronic media, permitted by law and carried out at borders and ports of entry, are vital to detecting information that pose serious harm," says a US Department of Homeland Security official.
Paul Rosenzweig, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a think-tank in Washington, says this should not be surprising.
"We haven't had any privacy crossing into the US since the country was founded," he says.
"If the CBP agent is having a bad day," he says, using an acronym for the US Customs and Border Protection, "they can empty your suitcase on the ground. It's kind of the foundation of how we protect the borders of America."
Suitcases, laptops, thumb drives, PDAs - all are subject to inspection.
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