Border inspections of electronic devices hits record number

January 5, 2018

The government inspected a record number of international travelers' electronic devices in the last budget year.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Friday that it inspected 30,200 phones and other in fiscal year 2017—a nearly 60 percent spike from 2016.

The agency has also released an updated directive that clarifies how passwords and cloud data should be handled.

A senior CBP official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity credited the spike, in part, to the fact that people now carry more devices, and often several at a time.

The searches are aimed at combatting terrorism, child pornography and other crimes. But the practice has drawn fire from privacy advocates who argue the government shouldn't be able to search devices without warrants or probable cause.

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