(China Plus) China's embassy in Washington has warned its citizens travelling to or from the United States to be mindful of regulations that allow American border agents to inspect electronic devices.|
A pair of travelers, at left, walk through a TSA Precheck security line, while other passengers wait in line to be screened, in Terminal 2 of San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, the United States, in this photo taken on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. [File photo: IC]
The embassy reported that it has heard of a number of cases this year where travelers from China had devices such as mobile phones and computers inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border.
Local American media has also reported that travelers found with electronic devices containing illegal data have been refused entry or prosecuted.
The embassy pointed to American border control legislation that allows border control officers to question travelers, including American citizens, about the purpose of their travel to the United States, and to inspect their luggage, electronic devices, and vehicles without a search warrant.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a directive "Border Search of Electronic Devices" in January that allows its officers to examine devices without a justification. If they have a reasonable suspicion that a law is being broken, they have the right to copy data from a device for analysis, or hold onto the device itself, for up to five days.