Press Fotogs Sue DHS Over Laptop, Camera Seizures

July 13, 2011

Should a press photographer's cameras and digital images be seized and scrutinized by federal agents every time the photographer crosses a U.S border? How about every time he or she checks through domestic airport security? If so, would the same seizure apply to a reporter's notebooks, confidential documents, and voice recorder?

Those questions are being decided in a federal lawsuit brought by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. NPPA, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is suing the Department of Homeland Security over the seizure of the laptop of Pascal Abidor in 2010.

The judge U.S. District Judge Edward Korman heard oral arguments July 8, 2011 on a DHS motion to dismiss.