The Court of Federal Claims has once again upheld the right of U.S. Customs officials to seize and examine laptop computers without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion. (Kam-Almaz v. United States on January 7, 2011). To date, there have been no successful Fourth Amendment claims against this activity. U.S. Customs agents may also freely share the data from those computers — personal and business records, web-site visits, email – with other governmental entities. No compensation is provided for any losses suffered by the owner of the laptop as a result of the seizure even if the contents are destroyed by government. The laptop can be held for over 30 days and the owner may not be allowed to get a copy of the contents of their hard drive.
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