Praise Court Ruling Protecting Privacy Rights During Border Searches

Target: Members of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Goal: Praise Court members for enforcing new limits on the government’s ability to search electronic devices at the U.S. border

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made a ruling that would enforce more explicit limits on the U.S. government’s ability to search electronic devices at the border. The ruling was made in response to the controversial 2007 United States vs. Cotterman case in which Howard Cotterman, while trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico, was detained for 8 hours while border agents unlawfully confiscated his laptop and searched through it. Cotterman was later arrested when child pornography was discovered on his laptop but the Ninth Circuit Court has ruled that, despite his guilt, Cotterman’s fourth amendment rights were violated.

The new ruling passed by the Ninth Circuit Court aims to crack down on unlawful searches of people’s electronic devices when attempting to cross the border into the United States. In response to the Department of Homeland Security’s filing of a Civil Liberties/Civil Rights Impact Assessment that called for even more scrutinizing searches of electronic devices at the border, the Ninth Circuit Court released the following statement:

“A person’s digital life ought not be hijacked simply by crossing a border. It is as if a search of a person’s suitcase could reveal not only what the bag contained on the current trip, but everything it had ever carried.”

While the Ninth Circuit Court’s jurisdiction doesn’t cover every border checkpoint leading into the United States, it still marks a big step in the right direction towards protecting the electronic privacy rights of those attempting to enter the country. Help support the Court’s decision by signing this petition letter.


Dear Members of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,

While your decision regarding the 2007 case of United States vs. Cotterman couldn’t have been an easy one, I’m glad you opted to push forward in making sure the electronic privacy rights of all potential U.S. citizens are protected. While the physical and electronic security of our country is of utmost importance, it is equally important to make sure we don’t go above the law to enforce that security.

Hopefully, your new ruling is just the first in a series of steps that leads to more peace of mind for those hoping to enter the U.S. and keep their electronic privacy unmolested. By signing this petition, I am personally thanking you for standing up for individual electronic privacy rights.


[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
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