California  |  Immigration Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 3/23/06, 4:49 am

Customs agents can search my laptop OR seperate computer hard drives?

Upon arriving to a US airport such as SFO (San Francisco), can customs agents take my laptop and turn it on and look through my windows folders and all other data storage (personally burned cds, dvds). Likewise, not a laptop but instead for hard drives for a standard desktop computer, can customs personnel take my standard hard drives, hook them up to their computers, and search them for anything they wish? Can this be done simply ''upon arrival'' without any flagrant provocation, such as ''spooky looking male'' or eradic behavior? Can this be done without my consent, or used as a way of keeping me detained until I allow them to?

I am a white male, normal US citizen, zero criminal past (really), working as an english teacher in some parts of Asia. Nothing controversial about me, but a similar english teacher recently told me this happened to him. Was he likely fibbing?

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