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CBP's Searches of Electronic Devices at Ports of Entry

Executive Summary

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to establish standard operating procedures (SOP) for searching, reviewing, retaining, and sharing information in communication, electronic, or digital devices at U.S. ports of entry. We determined that CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) did not always conduct the searches at U.S. ports of entry according to its SOPs. Specifically, because of inadequate supervision to ensure OFO officers properly documented searches, OFO cannot maintain accurate quantitative data or identify and address performance problems related to these searches. These deficiencies in supervision, guidance, and equipment management, combined with a lack of performance measures, limit OFO’s ability to detect and deter illegal activities related to terrorism; national security; human, drug, and bulk cash smuggling; and child pornography.

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