The mayor of Stockton,California was briefly detained and had two of his laptops and a cell phone confiscated by homeland security agents at the San Francisco International Airport earlier this week after returning from a trip to China.
“A few minutes later, DHS agents confiscated all my electronic devices including my personal cell phone. Unfortunately, they were not willing or able to produce a search warrant or any court documents suggesting they had a legal right to take my property. In addition, they were persistent about requiring my passwords for all devices,” Mayor Anthony Silva said.
Silva was not allowed to leave the airport until he gave his passwords to the agents, which the mayor’s personal attorney, Mark Reichel, claimed is illegal.
The mayor said the agents told him confiscating property from travelers at the airport was “in fact routine and not unusual,” and promised to return the items within a few days.
What’s the point of having a Bill of Rights if our government IGNORES it? Why even claim the Fourth Amendment still exists?
Appeals Courts in Massachusetts and Arizona claim police need a search warrant before they’re allowed to search your cellphones, laptops or tablets.
But, the Dept. of Justice claims a search warrant allows police to prosecute anyone for any computer crimes they find that are outside the scope of a search warrant.
“The Justice Department is set to argue Wednesday before a federal appeals court that it may prosecute people for crimes based on evidence obtained from their computers—evidence that was outside the scope of an original probable-cause search warrant.”
“Consistent with the Fourth Amendment, the government may obtain a search warrant for nearly any person, place, or thing if the government establishes probable cause for the search and did not engage in an illegal seizure of the item to be searched,” Assistant US Attorney Sandra Glover wrote in the government’s brief.