A new bill sponsored by California congresswoman Loretta Sanchez will make life easier for travellers bringing technology over US borders.
The Border Search Accountability Act of 2008 is designed to provide a legal framework for government agents monitoring US borders in how they deal with technology.
"This legislation will ensure that, when an individual's property is seized at a US point of entry, there is a well-defined procedure in place that will protect their electronic data, especially information that does not pose a threat to homeland security," said Sanchez.
"My bill also requires the Department of Homeland Security to post information about individuals' rights related to border searches in visible areas near the search points, so that individuals will understand their rights if their property is seized. Finally, my bill establishes a clear-cut process for reporting abuses."
Under the current system border agents have the right to seize and examine any electronic equipment without evidence of a threat and to access all and any data contained on the devices.
This has led to some companies issuing staff with blank 'travel' laptops without corporate data included.
The new bill will include protection for personal corporate data under the existing Trade Secrets Act and the Privacy Act. Border officers will also have to give a receipt for equipment confiscated and return it promptly.
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