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View Full Version : General Politics Without suspicion, HomeSec can now confiscate your laptop at airports.


Direckshun
08-02-2008, 01:15 AM
Threats to civil liberties come one dime at a time. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080103030.html?hpid=topnews)

Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border
No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 1, 2008; Page A01

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.

DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies -- which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens -- are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials said such procedures have long been in place but were disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter.

Civil liberties and business travel groups have pressed the government to disclose its procedures as an increasing number of international travelers have reported that their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices had been taken -- for months, in at least one case -- and their contents examined.

The policies state that officers may "detain" laptops "for a reasonable period of time" to "review and analyze information." This may take place "absent individualized suspicion."

The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.' "

Reasonable measures must be taken to protect business information and attorney-client privileged material, the policies say, but there is no specific mention of the handling of personal data such as medical and financial records.

When a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information, any copies of the data must be destroyed. Copies sent to non-federal entities must be returned to DHS. But the documents specify that there is no limitation on authorities keeping written notes or reports about the materials.

"They're saying they can rifle through all the information in a traveler's laptop without having a smidgen of evidence that the traveler is breaking the law," said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Notably, he said, the policies "don't establish any criteria for whose computer can be searched."

Customs Deputy Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern said the efforts "do not infringe on Americans' privacy." In a statement submitted to Feingold for a June hearing on the issue, he noted that the executive branch has long had "plenary authority to conduct routine searches and seizures at the border without probable cause or a warrant" to prevent drugs and other contraband from entering the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.

With about 400 million travelers entering the country each year, "as a practical matter, travelers only go to secondary [for a more thorough examination] when there is some level of suspicion," Chertoff wrote. "Yet legislation locking in a particular standard for searches would have a dangerous, chilling effect as officers' often split-second assessments are second-guessed."

In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco upheld the government's power to conduct searches of an international traveler's laptop without suspicion of wrongdoing. The Customs policy can be viewed at: http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/travel/admissability/search_authority.ctt/search_authority.pdf.

alanm
08-02-2008, 01:37 AM
I think the argument was lost at the last paragraph when it said it was upheld by the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. ROFL

Ultra Peanut
08-02-2008, 01:43 AM
They can take my midget porn from my cold, dead fingers.

SNR
08-02-2008, 01:52 AM
I'll be sure to load my desktop up with goatse before I go on trips.

Random search THIS!

alanm
08-02-2008, 02:12 AM
I'll be sure to load my desktop up with goatse before I go on trips.

Random search THIS!
Make sure you have Grandma carry it if you're taking her with you. :D

'Hamas' Jenkins
08-02-2008, 02:15 AM
So it's ok for the government to take your personal property without suspicion, but if they tax the profits of corporations at a higher rate, that is a reprehensible indiscretion.

Am I getting this right?

alanm
08-02-2008, 02:19 AM
So it's ok for the government to take your personal property without suspicion, but if they tax the profits of corporations at a higher rate, that is a reprehensible indiscretion.

Am I getting this right?
Pretty much.

Direckshun
08-02-2008, 11:13 AM
So it's ok for the government to take your personal property without suspicion, but if they tax the profits of corporations at a higher rate, that is a reprehensible indiscretion.

Am I getting this right?
By the way, even with suspicion, you are not allowed to submit a subpoena to anybody in the Executive Branch.

Donger
08-02-2008, 11:16 AM
1) This is for international travel only, yes?

2) I may be wrong, but when you purchase an airline ticket, you agree to be searched at random.

wazu
08-02-2008, 11:19 AM
1) This is for international travel only, yes?

2) I may be wrong, but when you purchase an airline ticket, you agree to be searched at random.

Not seeing your point. Being searched at random is a little different than having your laptop confiscated indefinitely without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

Direckshun
08-02-2008, 11:19 AM
1) This is for international travel only, yes?

2) I may be wrong, but when you purchase an airline ticket, you agree to be searched at random.
1) I believe so. But I'm not sure how that makes any difference.

2) The only way to travel internationally in a remotely expedient way is by airplane. What do you suggest? Take a ferry across the Pacific?

Donger
08-02-2008, 11:28 AM
Not seeing your point. Being searched at random is a little different than having your laptop confiscated indefinitely without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

Why is it different? It's part of the random search.

Donger
08-02-2008, 11:29 AM
1) I believe so. But I'm not sure how that makes any difference.

2) The only way to travel internationally in a remotely expedient way is by airplane. What do you suggest? Take a ferry across the Pacific?

Because it doesn't have any bearing on domestic travel.

If this policy bothers you that much, yes. You have a choice.

Direckshun
08-02-2008, 11:35 AM
Because it doesn't have any bearing on domestic travel.

If this policy bothers you that much, yes. You have a choice.
I do, yes, because I've never traveled across the ocean and never need to.

But if you're any member of an international business or (more troubling) a member of the media, you have no choice.

wazu
08-02-2008, 11:39 AM
Why is it different? It's part of the random search.

Since when is having basic property confiscated without any suspicion considered part of a random search outside of third world countries and the Peoples Republic of China?

Donger
08-02-2008, 11:43 AM
I do, yes, because I've never traveled across the ocean and never need to.

But if you're any member of an international business or (more troubling) a member of the media, you have no choice.

I agree. I don't have to travel internationally very often, but this would certainly be on my mind if/when I do next time.

Donger
08-02-2008, 11:45 AM
Since when is having basic property confiscated without any suspicion considered part of a random search outside of third world countries and the Peoples Republic of China?

Now, it would seem. I would like to get more information on what this "confiscation" actually means. How long does it take them to search a laptop?

I assume that you aren't opposed to random searches of passengers?

wazu
08-02-2008, 11:50 AM
Now, it would seem. I would like to get more information on what this "confiscation" actually means. How long does it take them to search a laptop?

I assume that you aren't opposed to random searches of passengers?

No, but the "undisclosed" time period that they say they can take your laptop away without suspicion is far beyond reasonable.

markk
08-02-2008, 12:05 PM
I assume that BO endorses this, since he endorses other forms of domestic spying vis-a-vis his support of FISA.

HonestChieffan
08-02-2008, 12:20 PM
he may endorse it for a few days but stay tuned, that can change pretty fast.

'Hamas' Jenkins
08-02-2008, 04:00 PM
1) This is for international travel only, yes?

2) I may be wrong, but when you purchase an airline ticket, you agree to be searched at random.

And behold, Donger saw the power quo, and he was awed. And he annointed its feet with oil, and masturbated like a female orangutan in hope that it would bring him oranges, but alas, he ate nothing, and he was happy.

jAZ
08-02-2008, 04:22 PM
If this policy bothers you that much, yes. You have a choice.
Where does the article say you have a choice? The thread title says airport, but the article doesn't mention it that I saw.

HonestChieffan
08-02-2008, 04:35 PM
They wont take them on busses, cabs, you can carry in your backpack on your bike, and you can ship it to yourself UPS. No one will require or force you to go overseas and carry your laptop.

vailpass
08-02-2008, 04:43 PM
So it's ok for the government to take your personal property without suspicion, but if they tax the profits of corporations at a higher rate, that is a reprehensible indiscretion.

Am I getting this right?

Ever notice how the people who don't mind the government taking away money are the people who don't have any money to take away?
It sure is funny how that works.

Pitt Gorilla
08-02-2008, 04:49 PM
Can "unspecified period of time" mean for good?

vailpass
08-02-2008, 04:52 PM
Can "unspecified period of time" mean for good?

Ask the detainees at Gitmo.

Just kidding, just kidding. I'm in favor of whatever it takes to edge out the hateful jihadists bent on killing innocents, up to and including all-out carpet bombing.

Donger
08-02-2008, 04:58 PM
Where does the article say you have a choice? The thread title says airport, but the article doesn't mention it that I saw.

Now that you mention it, I don't see that either. Nice catch.

However, next time I go overseas, I'll probably ship all my stuff including my laptop.

KILLER_CLOWN
08-02-2008, 05:44 PM
Ask the detainees at Gitmo.

Just kidding, just kidding. I'm in favor of whatever it takes to edge out the hateful jihadists bent on killing innocents, up to and including all-out carpet bombing.

Hey take it ez on our government in your 2nd sentence, prison sentences would do just fine.

penchief
08-02-2008, 07:11 PM
Seems like a clear violation of the fourth amendment (The right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures...).

Information on a computer would at least qualify as a person's "papers."

As long as your computer isn't a bomb, it seems like your personal information should stay personal.

Ari Chi3fs
08-03-2008, 09:27 AM
America **** Yeah!

alanm
08-03-2008, 02:09 PM
I do, yes, because I've never traveled across the ocean and never need to.

But if you're any member of an international business or (more troubling) a member of the media, you have no choice.
You can still go by boat. :D

HolmeZz
08-03-2008, 02:27 PM
I assume that BO endorses this, since he endorses other forms of domestic spying vis-a-vis his support of FISA.

:spock:

Your own f*cking candidate supports FISA.

Bowser
08-03-2008, 02:31 PM
And behold, Donger saw the power quo, and he was awed. And he annointed its feet with oil, and masturbated like a female orangutan in hope that it would bring him oranges, but alas, he ate nothing, and he was happy.

LMAO

StcChief
08-03-2008, 06:12 PM
Encrypted hard drive?