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Can someone double check my logic here because the math I’m doing is freaking me out and I need someone to tell me I’m reading something wrong. This is where I’m at:

A. Yesterday a Federal court ruled that no suspicion is needed to search electronics at the US border. According to the ACLU press release, this“allows the government to conduct intrusive searches of Americans’ laptops and other electronics at the border without any suspicion that those devices contain evidence of wrongdoing”

This is of course in relation to the Border Search Exception which “allows searches and seizures at international borders and their functional equivalent without a warrant or probable cause” – The ACLU hard argued this violated the Fourth Amendment which guards against unreasonable search and seizures. The court decided that it did not.

So there’s that, but what are we talking about when we say “border” exactly?

B. According to this piece from 2008, the Government considers a 100 mile zone from any international border or coastline to be “the border” even if that coastline isn’t butting up against another country. Drawing a border like this designates the entirety of the states of Florida and Hawaii as “border” as well as most major cities in the US – All of NYC, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, etc.. all considered to be “border.”

Which leads me to think about A + B, do the combination of these rulings suggest that the government can decide my house, located in Los Angeles and within 100 miles of the coastline, is on the border, and thus available to be searched without probable cause? Can govt agents show up at my doorstep and demand I hand over my computers for them to inspect? The piece seems to talk about checkpoints rather than door to door searches, but is one so far from the other? But even if it’s checkpoints, could these be set up all over Los Angeles and all laptops carried by people be subject to seizure? I think that’s what this means – that it would be legal at least.

Wired wrote a piece about the newest ruling and causally mentions the 100 mile zone issue but glosses past it – seems to me like this should be THE major issue at hand.

Someone please tell me I’m misunderstanding this…

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