On July 16, 2008, CBP published a policy statement regarding how its officers are to conduct themselves when dealing with searches of laptops, PDAs and other electronic devices. See
www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/travel/admissability/search_authority.ctt/search_authority.pdf. It calls for officers to respect the confidential and proprietary nature of business and commercial information which may come into their hands, invoking the Trade Secrets and Privacy Acts, and mentions other laws may apply. To its credit, CBP has informed officers that if the attorney-client privilege is invoked, they must first consult with Associate/Assistant Chief Counsel or the U.S. Attorney’s Office before searching such documentation. Regretfully there is no similar consideration given to documentation which may be subject to other privileges, such as doctor-patient or clergy-penitent. However, this policy is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of making clear what is to be done and the time frame within which a decision is expected. Finally, it also articulates what is expected from other agencies which might be asked to assist in a particular situation.