There have been a number of reports related to searching and seizing the smartphones as well as social media accounts of foreigners and Americans at the international border crossings. Ron Wyden who is the Oregon Democrat sought replies from the Head of DHS (Department of Homeland Security.) He has written to the Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, saying that on Monday the agents of the US CBP (Customs and Border Protection) allegedly pressurized the citizens of America to surrender their access to smartphones.

Mr. Wyden intends to introduce new legislation

Referring to the testimony of Mr. Kelly which he had given to Congress a few weeks ago, Mr. Wyden wrote that it was deeply troubling to know the kind of comments given by Mr. Kelly on the issue of CBP agents demanding passwords of social media accounts from the travelers to the US. He further added that he would soon introduce a legislation, to guarantee the respect of Fourth Amendment at the international border. This would mean that the law enforcement agencies would have to obtain a warrant before trying to search devices and also which would prohibit enforcing the travelers to reveal their social media account passwords.

Two instances of Americans being enforced to unlock phones

Though Mr. Wyden did not give reference to any specific report in his letter, there were two related instances that involved American Citizens being asked by the agents to unlock their cellphones. The first incident involved the US-born NASA engineer Sidd Bikkannavar, who was detained by the CBP agents last month when he reached Houston.

He was ordered by the agents to hand over his phone and to reveal its PIN number.

Another similar incident involved a 34-year-old citizen of America, Haisam Elsharkawi, who was instructed by the agents to unlock his phone so that they could view its contents. The incident was at the Los Angeles International Airport last week.

Regarding this, Mr. Kelly commented that foreign visitors should surrender their access to social media accounts in order to get entry into the US. Mr. Wyden, who had been addressing the concerns related to Fourth Amendment in the digital age, has now asked Mr. Kelly to respond to this issue of American citizens being enforced to reveal the passwords of their phones and social media accounts.