you don't live in a laptop
I'm a big fan of privacy, but... If it's ok to search papers in a briefcase, it ought to be ok to search a laptop, and for the same reason. Sure, a laptop is getting to equal a fatter and fatter briefcase, but that's not the point. The point is, you are travelling. You aren't at home. You knew you were subject to search. You chose what things to take with you, and what things to leave in a secure place when you left.
If you chose to take a baggie of dope, that wasn't very clever of you. If you chose to take 10,000 child porn images, that wasn't very smart, and it doesn't matter if you printed them out or put 'em on your laptop. If you took trade secrets or sensitive documents, shame on you for exposing them to high risk of theft or loss, because you were *travelling* with them. They weren't secure. Duh.
What kind of excuse is, "uh, um, I forgot to take the dope out of my briefcase, so you uh, um, shouldn't be able to bust me when you noticed my hash pipe on the x-ray. Like, bummer man!" Isn't the argument pretty much the same with the kiddie porn images?
Now, I wonder what the outcome would look like if every file was encrypted, and you said, "Well, duh! It's a laptop. I'm travelling. It might get stolen or lost. Of course everything's encrypted." Reasonable search would not extend to the password, which was *in your mind*. I suppose the NSA could pwn you if it wanted you bad enough, but suspicion of possible stuff is probably not enough unless you're already on a list.
Of course, you'd be the only computer user anywhere and throughout all time ever to not have been stupid with the contents of their laptop, so maybe this constitutes probable cause. Or export of sensitive encryption technology. Or something for which there is a jail-time penalty if they want you.
Paris, because she'd try this argument.