A federal court has ruled that the search of a traveling businessman’s laptop in 2013 was unreasonable and violated his privacy.
Jae Shik Kim, a South Korean man, was traveling through California when law enforcement seized his computer at the border and gathered evidence in an attempt to prove that he allegedly conspired to sell aircraft technology illegally to Iran, the Associated Press reported.
A U.S. district court judge said that federal law enforcement improperly used the border crossing to gather its evidence and was unreasonable because there was “so little suspicion of ongoing or imminent criminal activity,” the opinion stated.
This ruling hampers President Obama’s treatment of laptops as containers that can be searched without a warrant and without time limits in the name of national security. It’s been argued that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect people crossing into the U.S. against unreasonable search and seizures.