A Federal Court has just upheld warrantless border searches conducted at or near our nation’s borders. These searches may include an examination of the contents including photographs contained in your camera, smart phone or digital device. If you are a photojournalist returning from a stint in say the Middle East, be prepared to be detained and questioned.
Here on Fox news is a precise and sobering two plus minutes on this. And here is an in depth article on this in the New York Times. It is nothing less than required viewing and reading for photojournalists and anybody else who takes pictures for that matter:
In the days of film, many of our photojournalist friends would routinely ship rolls (processed or otherwise) out of certain countries via mail, motorcycle courier or other rather clever means, so as not to have their film confiscated at some foreign border and/or face arrest. We have always suggested to those brave enough to go to hot zones, that they transmit all of their digital images from remote locations back home so as to have a “clean” device at foreign exit and domestic entry points.
There is simply no reason to keep any “sensitive” imagery on hand for customs or immigration officials to examine while you sit in detention at an airport, rail terminal or check point. Whether the current ruling will be reversed sometime in the future by a higher court is unknown. Having a private cloud to upload to doesn’t look so bad now.
As for now, we invoke our favorite cliche’, “Better safe than sorry”.