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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

File this under “When did we lose that right?”

Catching up...

-U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat who represents the Tacoma area, has introduced a bill to ban customs agents from summarily seizing the laptops or other devices of U.S. residents returning from overseas trips. There have been numerous reports of customs agents ordering people to turn over their computers, which are then kept, sometimes for weeks, and in some cases the agency copies data from the drives. With no explanation.

The bill is in response to a Department of Homeland Security policy, released in July, allowing customs agents to "review and analyze" your computer, cell phone, etc. for as long as it sees fit, without any particular "individualized suspicion."

Smith's "Travelers Privacy Protection Act" would require reasonable suspicion of illegal activity before such searches. It also requires a warrant or court order to seize the information.
A similar bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.