# 011156Legal Ethics Technology Showdown: Protecting Client Confidences against Homeland Security Searches of Laptop Contents When Traveling across Borders
In the last two years, more than 6,600 travelers, including 3,000 American citizens, were subjected to content searches of their laptops by federal agents with no warrant or probable cause required. Today, attorneys traveling abroad are likely to take their laptops and smart phones with them, each full of confidential client information.
This program focuses on the ethical obligations of attorneys under such circumstances and the steps they can and/or should take when traveling to ensure client confidences. The program includes a review of current law regarding laptop content searches, along with a pending case brought by the ACLU on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, to prevent such warrantless searches. The program will also feature a technology expert who will discuss what will and will not provide practical protection for client and other information.
Peter Eliasberg, Managing Attorney & Manheim Family Attorney for First Amendment Rights, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, will discuss current law allowing content searches of laptops and the pending ACLU case of Abidor vs. Napolitano filed on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, among others, challenging Department of Homeland Security policies regarding warrantless searches of laptops during US border searches.
Evan A. Jenness, Chair of LACBA's Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee and criminal defense attorney will discuss lawyers' ethical obligations to protect client confidences when traveling with a laptop or other electronic devices containing confidential information, and the likely consequences to lawyers and clients who refuse to provide passwords upon request.
Dale Hersowitz, President of Executive Technology Services will discuss from a technology standpoint, the possible risks and protective strategies regarding Homeland Security searches.