Portland: Watchdog groups that keep tabs on digital privacy rights are concerned that US Customs and Border Patrol agents are searching the phones and other digital devices of international travelers at border checkpoints in US airports.

The issue gained attention recently after at least three travelers, including a Canadian journalist, spoke out publicly about their experiences.

The episodes have gained notice amid an outcry over President Donald Trump’s travel ban and complaints of mistreatment of foreign travelers, but the government insists there has been no policy change in the new administration.

The Border Patrol says searches increased fivefold in the final fiscal year of the Obama presidency, but still amounted to less than one-hundredth of 1 per cent of all international arrivals. (AP)

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