New US Customs guidelines limit copying files and searching cloud data

The US Customs and Border Protection agency has updated its guidelines for electronic border searches, clarifying what remain broad and potentially invasive procedures. The directive was published today, and it adds new detail to border search rules that were last officially updated in 2009.

Officers can still request that people unlock electronic devices for inspection when they’re entering the US, and they can still look through any files or apps on those devices. But consistent with a statement from acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan last summer, they’re explicitly banned from accessing cloud data — per these guidelines, that means anything that can’t be accessed while the phone’s data connection is disabled.

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