RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court has been urged to require the government to get a warrant before agents can search electronic devices at airports.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday in the case of a Turkish national who was convicted of trying to illegally smuggle weapons parts to Turkey. Evidence from a forensic search of his cellphone was used at his trial.

The Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to obtain warrants before searches. Courts have made an exception for searches at airports and U.S. ports of entry, finding that the government can do warrantless border searches to protect national security.

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union said major privacy interests are at stake because of the amount of personal information stored on electronic devices.