The guidelines instruct CBP officers to seek assistance from other Federal agencies or entities in Translation and Decryption matters. This may take to mean that the individual subject to search is not obligated to provide translation and decryption assistance to CBP. Therefore, if a CBP officer requests you to provide a password in order to log in and inspect you PC, that person may advise the officer to follow the instructions in the guidelines and request decryption services from other Federal agencies or entities. The guidelines do not require CBP officer to have “individualized suspicion” in order to seek translation or decryption. The guidelines instruct the completion of the search in the “reasonable time” and “as expeditiously as possible.” The time is capped at 15 days with possible 7 day extensions if necessary.
The guidance provides exemptions for “sealed letter class mail” (must be in the postal system, and the warrant is required), and attorney-client privileged material. In order to invoke the privilege, an individual must assert that claim. Although guidance states that legal materials are “not necessarily exempt,” it nevertheless instructs CBP officer to seek advice from the Associate / Assistant Chief Counsel or the appropriate U.S. Attorney’s office before conducting a search of the document.