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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that border searches of laptop computers do not require reasonable suspicion. The decision, in United States v. Arnold, reflects the continued intent of the Ninth Circuit—along with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals—to continue analyzing laptop computer searches under the traditional border search doctrine. This article will examine recent laptop computer search cases in light of the border search doctrine and will consider the implications for lawyers and business professionals who travel abroad with confidential information on laptops and other electronic-storage devices. The article will also consider the implications of such searches on the ethical duty of confidentiality, the attorney-client privilege, and trade secrets law.

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