By ACLU. May 13, 2011
On May 13, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the suspicionless search and seizure of electronics and personal data belonging to David House, a computer programmer and U.S. citizen who lives in Cambridge, Mass. The lawsuit charges that the government targeted Mr. House solely on the basis of his lawful association with the Bradley Manning Support Network when it seized Mr. House’s laptop, USB drive and camera, and proceeded to copy and possibly disseminate their contents.
On November 3, 2010, Department of Homeland Security agents at O’Hare International Airport detained Mr. House for questioning upon his return from a trip to Mexico. While detaining Mr. House, agents asked him about his involvement with the Support Network, and confiscated his property. The detention and search of these electronic devices were not authorized by law and violated the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The ACLU of Massachusetts sent a letter on December 21, 2010 to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeking the return of Mr. House’s property. The government returned Mr. House’s electronics on December 22, 2010.