By Andrea deLorimier

In United States v. Kolsuz, the court held that a forensic examination of a cell phone at the airport must be categorized as a nonroutine border search and can only be conducted upon a showing of reasonable suspicion. The court did not reach the question of whether the search required more than reasonable suspicion, such as a warrant based on probable cause, because the officers were acting in reasonable reliance on established law. This casenote argues that the Fourth Circuit’s classification of a forensic border search as nonroutine was a step in the right direction. However, given the serious privacy interests at stake, the court should have taken the opportunity to resolve the question of whether a forensic border search requires customs officers to have more than reasonable suspicion. The answer to this question is “accordingly simple—get a warrant.”

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Recommended Citation
Andrea deLorimier, Note, Flying in the Face of Suspicionless Cell Phone Searches: Fourth Circuit Grants Airline Passengers Heightened Protection from Searches by Customs Officers, 84 J. Air L. & Com. 127 (2019).