Vol. 55_2014 E. Supp.

A Step in the Wrong Direction: The Ninth Circuit Requires Reasonable Suspicion for Forensic Examinations of Electronic Storage Devices During Border Searches in United States v. Cotterman

Abstract: On March 8, 2013, in United States v. Cotterman, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—sitting en banc—held that U.S. border agents must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before conducting a forensic search of an electronic storage device at the border. In reaching this conclusion, the court narrowed existing federal appeals court precedents, which held that manual searches of electronic storage devices do not require any suspicion. This Comment argues that a reasonable suspicion requirement is illogical, harmful to national security, and administratively impractical. Instead, strengthening existing federal regulations is a better method to protect personal privacy interests.

:: View PDF