02.27.18

Daines, Leahy Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Americans’ Privacy at the Border

Requires Standards for Searches and Seizures of Electronic Devices

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation requiring the government to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search or seize Americans’ electronic devices at the border.

“Americans do not lose their Fourth Amendment rights at our borders,” said Daines. “This bipartisan bill better protects Americans’ civil liberties while also allowing border security to do their job and keep our country safe.” 

“No American should have to relinquish all of their privacy rights to their cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices, simply because they are coming home from a trip abroad,” said Leahy.  “This legislation is a vital step toward protecting our Fourth Amendment rights, while also ensuring that officers protecting our homeland have the lawful authorities they need to do their jobs.”

Currently at the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can search through a traveler’s electronic devices without any suspicion at all.  CBP officers can also request that a traveler provide their password or passcode, and seize the device if the traveler refuses. 

This bill includes provisions requiring reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search or seize Americans’ electronic devices at the border and forces the government to obtain a warrant before conducting forensic searches of such devices.  It also requires the Department of Homeland Security to collect statistics on these searches and seizures and report them to Congress.

Daines also filed the bill as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, which will be considered by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The full text of the legislation is available HERE.

Daines actions to protect Americans’ privacy:

On May 2, 2017, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation to require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remove personally identifiable information (PII) from vessel manifest sheets before making them available for public disclosure. 

Daines is a cosponsor of the USA RIGHTS Act of 2017, which reforms government surveillance programs to balance Americans’ privacy with effective national security.

On February 17, 2017, Daines introduced the Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act to protect millions of law-abiding Americans from government hacking.

On November 17, 2016, Daines introduced the Review the Rule Act to provide Congress the time necessary to seriously consider and debate the proposed changes to Rule 41 that would expand the government's ability to search computers and other digital devices.

On October 27, 2016, Daines stood up for Montanans’ right to privacy and pressed Attorney General Loretta Lynch to provide Congress with more information about a proposed expansion of government hacking and surveillance powers.

On May 19, 2016, Daines introduced the Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act to protect millions of law-abiding Americans from government hacking.

On April 28, 2015, Daines joined colleagues in introducing the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that ends the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

In the House, Daines was a vocal critic of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk meta-data collection and was an original cosponsor of the original USA FREEDOM Act that would have ended the NSA’s abuses and overreach.

Daines also supported an amendment to the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, introduced by Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), which called for the end of NSA’s blanket collection of Americans' telephone records by authorizing the FISA court to order the production of business records and other “tangible items” that pertain only to a person under an authorized counterterrorism investigation.

 

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