Obama follows Bush's footsteps by upholding a controversial law that allows the government to examine the contents of digital devices travelers carry, crossing the US border.
According to the law that was first devised by the former US president George W. Bush, government authorities can search and even seize travelers' laptops, iPods, cameras and other digital devices, something that civil liberty advocates oppose.
"Under the policy begun by Bush and now continued by [President Barack] Obama, the government can open your laptop and read your medical records, financial records, e-mails, work product and personal correspondence -- all without any suspicion of illegal activity," said Elizabeth Goitein, who leads the liberty and national security project at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice, read a Washington Post report on Friday.
The US Department of Homeland Security disclosed the directives on Thursday and claimed that compared to the Bush-era law, the new law is more complete.
The civil liberty advocates, however, dismiss such claims saying that they see no substantial difference between the new law and Bush's policy.
"It's a disappointing ratification of the suspicionless search policy put in place by the Bush administration," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
"It provides a lot of procedural safeguards, but it doesn't deal with the fundamental problem, which is that under the policy, government officials are free to search people's laptops and cell phones for any reason whatsoever."
The government however thinks differently with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano saying, "The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders
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