Threat Management

U.S. Customs urged to curb indiscriminate data collection practices

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been urged by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to prioritize the collection of personal information on suspected criminals and security threats, rather than indiscriminately gathering data from those not suspected of any criminal activity, ZDNET reports. "Such changes will better protect national security and respect the rights of Americans who travel overseas for business and leisure," said Wyden in a letter to the CBP, which revealed that travelers have been pressured by the agency to unlock their electronic devices to download content then stored to a database that nearly 2,700 of the Department of Homeland Security's employees could access. However, such searches have been prevented by U.S. travelers by encrypting their device data or refusing to surrender their credentials to the CBP, Wyden noted. "CBP has never attempted to issue a fine against anyone for refusing to disclose their password or to unlock their phone or laptop," the senator wrote. "Indeed, the agency has not even issued a written policy or procedure guidance related to the assessment of fines in this situation," Wyden added.

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