The new bipartisan bill is the result of a coalition involving four lawmakers, including Representatives #Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO), and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY). The bill would make it more difficult for agents to demand access to citizens’ smartphones and computers and hand over social media passwords. These are some of the current practices of Border Patrol agents, who need no warrant to do so.

Protecting Data at the Border Act

The proposed #Data Protection act prohibits #law enforcement officers from denying entry or exit based on whether or not a person was cooperating by providing their Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), passwords to social media accounts, biometric authentication, and other information of a similar nature.

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Except in situations that are considered emergencies, Customs and Border Protection agents would not have access to U.S. citizens’ digital devices. The bill, introduced Tuesday, is sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold and Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado.

Farenthold said that just because you cross the border, that doesn’t mean that the government has a right to everything on your computer. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and privacy rights groups are among those challenging the federal government’s claim that Fourth Amendment protections do not apply at the borders. EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is also working hard to make sure that border agents adopt the limits for border searches of digital devices, which now holds “the privacies of life” for many Americans.

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Will the bill pass?

President Donald Trump’s administration has made it more difficult for travelers to enter the country. In addition, the current government has made comments that appear to be in support of Border Patrol agents’ current treatments of travelers. Senator Wyden made a formal request in February that Homeland Security head John Kelley make public how often border patrol personnel have demanded access to devices or account passwords. A coalition of organizations and individuals, including experts in security, technology and legal matters, wrote a letter addressed to John Kelley on Tuesday condemning the DHS proposal to make social media passwords a requirement to enter the country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not written back.