The amount of personal papers and effects that we travel around with used to be cabined by the size of our cars or luggage.
Today, our phones, tablets, and laptops are veritable supercomputers capable of storing more information than an entire warehouse of documents. What’s more, they often hold confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information, including the most intimate details of our lives.
So what about searches at the border or airport? Those are exempt from the general rule that authorities must obtain a warrant supported by probable cause before they search or seize. The rationale is, well, to protect the border, but in the digital age, the exception can threaten the rule.