One of my go-to sites for information on travelling, surveillance, and dealing with Customs & Border Patrol or TSA issues is Papers, Please! I wish to heck they had posted some good news for us, but it sounds like things have continued to get worse instead of better:
As the new PIA correctly notes, “The 2009 policy was silent regarding CBP’s handling of passcode-protected or encrypted information.”
CBP now says as follows, without citing any basis for this assertion:
Travelers are obligated to present electronic devices and the information contained therein in a condiiton that allows inspection of the device and its contents… Passcodes or other means of entry may be requested and retained as needed to facilitate the examination of an electronic device or information contained on an electronic device, including information on the device that is accessible through software applications present on the device. If an Officer is unable to complate an inspection of an electronic device because it is protected by a passcode or encryption, the Officer may… detain the device pending a determination as to its admissibility, exclusion, or other disposition.
In other words, CBP is now claiming the authority to confiscate your cellphones, laptops, memory cards, and any other electronic devices if you won’t tell CBP your passwords, and to retain the passwords you give them as well as the contents of those devices.
Read their advice as to what to do if you get caught up in a demand like this.