ACLU: Government has been searching phones, laptops at bordersPosted: Updated:
Whether you frequent the border or not, what the ACLU said they've uncovered in their latest lawsuit, could have big implications for Arizonans.
"They have been conducting what we call suspicion-less searches of individuals and they've been seizing their property," said Alessandra Soler, the executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. She said the government's own records that they received through their lawsuit show 4,957 passengers have had their electronic devices searched between October of 2012 and August of 2013.
"We've had individuals who've had their computers seized, religious items seized," Soler said. She said many of the people flagged are not even accused of any wrongdoing. So what are the feds looking for?
"They say that they're using and exercising this authority to protect our nation's borders," Soler said. But she said they do not believe that is the entire reason. Their client, for example, claimed his devices were seized and kept for a long period of time while he was the subject of a state department investigation.
And while many people we spoke with were willing to sacrifice some privacy for national security, not everyone agrees.
"It's a horrible thing to sacrifice someone's personal privacy in order to make your job easier," said Chris Marrinan.
The ACLU said they plan on working with Congress to stop this alleged practice.