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J’cans Recount Ordeal Of US Immigration Officials Seizing Phones, Rifling Through Private Info

While travellers passing through United States airports will breathe easier after a federal court ruled warrantless searches of phones, tablets and laptops unconstitutional, several Jamaicans have recounted tales of trauma about what they deemed an invasion of privacy.

While Washington has vigorously defended the searches as a critical tool to protect America, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has described the actions as “fishing expeditions” that violate the Fourth Amendment.

Border officers must now demonstrate individualised suspicion of contraband before they can search a traveller’s device.

A Jamaican woman who routinely vacations in the US to visit family recalled a harrowing experience earlier this year at the JFK International Airport in New York.

Thirty-year-old Shanna Thompson (real name withheld) says that she was the victim of an aggressive interrogation that involved her cell phone being searched by an immigration officer for undeclared reasons.

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