April 21, 2008 / 7:43 PM / 10 years ago

Court says search of laptop with porn is legal

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. Customs inspection of a laptop computer that found child pornography does not constitute an unreasonable search and seizure, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Monday.

Michael Arnold argued the U.S. Constitution’s protections against searches without reasonable suspicion should have barred a 2005 search of his laptop at Los Angeles International Airport upon returning from the Philippines. He was later charged with child pornography and related crimes.

A lower court agreed with Arnold, but on Monday the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, saying reasonable suspicion is not necessary to check laptops or other electronic devices coming over border checkpoints.

“Arnold has failed to distinguish how the search of his laptop and its electronic contents is logically any different from the suspicion-less border searches of travelers’ luggage that the Supreme Court and we have allowed,” Diarmuid O‘Scannlain wrote for a three-judge panel.

Reporting by Adam Tanner; editing by Philip Barbara

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