House bill would restrict laptop searches
DHS would have to perform rule-making to continue searches
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jul 22, 2009
A bill pending before a House subcommittee would require the Homeland Security Department to
provide official notice and conduct a rule-making if that department
wants to continue its laptop searches and data seizures that affect
U.S. citizens at all the nation's borders.
Under the bill (H.R. 1726) sponsored by Rep. Loretta Sanchez
(D-Calif.), DHS officials would be required to perform an open
rule-making process with public comment to continue their policy of
searching computer laptops belonging to U.S. citizens at the borders.
The bill is scheduled for mark-up today by the House Homeland
Security Committee’s Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism
Subcommittee, which is chaired by Sanchez, according to a news release.
It is intended to bolster privacy protections for U.S. citizens whose
electronic data is seized in such searches, she said.
“This bill preserves the Department of Homeland Security’s broad
authority to search individuals and their belongings at our borders,
while setting standards to protect travelers’ privacy,” Sanchez said.
“In short, the bill strikes the right balance between security and
civil liberties by requiring DHS to engage the American public and
undertake an open rule-making process.”
The National Business Travel Association supports the bill.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.