The Washington Post reported yesterday that TSA agents have been seizing and searching electronics in US airports, with some privacy implications for the travelers subject to their actions. They report that some companies have implemented policies to safeguard sensitive information by having laptop hard drives cleared before international travel. Other individuals have had to hand over passwords to TSA agents, who searched their histories of websites visited. Some travelers have had electronics seized and not returned for long periods of time.
In response to the TSA’s searches, EFF and the Asian Law Caucus filed suit (complaint available here), asking DHS to clarify its policies on – among other First Amendment issues – searching laptops and electronic devices. EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann explained, "Laptops, phones, and other gadgets include vast amounts of personal information. When will agents read your email? When do they copy data, where is it stored, and for how long? How will this information follow you throughout your life? The secrecy surrounding border search policies means that DHS has no accountability to America’s travelers."