Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on Aug. 27 new directives to enhance and clarify oversight for searches of computers and other electronic media at U.S. ports of entry – a critical step designed to bolster the Department’s efforts to combat transnational crime and terrorism while protecting privacy and civil liberties. The new directives address the circumstances under which CBP and ICE can conduct border searches of electronic media – consistent with the Department’s Constitutional authority to search other sensitive non-electronic materials, such as briefcases, backpacks and notebooks, at U.S. borders. The directives, available at, will enhance transparency, accountability and oversight of electronic media searches at U.S. ports of entry and include new administrative procedures designed to reflect broad considerations of civil liberties and privacy protections. These measures are designed to ensure that officers and agents understand their responsibilities to protect individual private information and that individuals understand their rights. Click here for more information.