American Citizen Detained At Border Due To Drawing Of An SUV

from the think-how-much-worse-it-could-be dept

If you want to understand why we're so troubled by the ACTA treaty that many nations are working on in secret, we just need to look at a story highlighted recently at Boing Boing about an American woman who was detained for a while at the US-Canadian border because she had a drawing of an SUV. The customs officials accused her of being an industrial spy and copyright infringer. In actuality, she's a professor and artist, who was doing an art project involving an SUV.

Of course, what the ACTA treaty would do is give customs officials and border guards even broader authority and a mandate to try to "stop copyright infringement" at the border. It would open people up to inspections for all sorts of things, from computers to personal devices -- and if you thought a random drawing could get someone detained before, just imagine what happens after ACTA is put in place.

The most ridiculous part, of course, is that this really has nothing to do with what the border patrol should be focused on: which is keeping dangerous people or things out of the country. Copyright infringement is meaningless at the border. Infringement happens across borders all the time online. Stopping it physically at the border makes no sense. If someone wants infringement to cross the border, they'll just send it online, rather than carry it on their body. And, until customs and border patrol starts scanning every IP packet at the border, it's a total waste of time and effort to ask border patrol officials to search for copyright infringement. It takes their energy and attention away from the real task at hand of keeping dangerous people out.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    It's amazing they cant see through that. They must be looking for something else and using the copyrite infringement search as a smoke screen. Total waste of time and money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 9:22am

    It's amazing they cant see through that. They must be looking for something else and using the copyrite infringement search as a smoke screen. Total waste of time and money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    It's amazing they cant see through that. They must be looking for something else and using the copyrite infringement search as a smoke screen. Total waste of time and money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    It's amazing they cant see through that. They must be looking for something else and using the copyrite infringement search as a smoke screen. Total waste of time and money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 9:50am

    It's amazing they cant see through that. They must be looking for something else and using the copyrite infringement search as a smoke screen. Total waste of time and money.

    Hey, is my submit button working?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Re:

    "Hey, is my submit button working?"

    Sadly, yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:06am

    Re: Submit Button

    What's amazing is we still can't keep stupid people from using computers in the first place.

    What's an Internet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:08am

    "until customs and border patrol starts scanning every IP packet at the border"

    Don't go giving them any ideas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Submit Button

    What's amazing is we still can't keep stupid people from using computers in the first place.

    What's an Internet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Submit Button

    What's amazing is we still can't keep stupid people from using computers in the first place.

    What's an Internet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Submit Button

    What's amazing is we still can't keep stupid people from using computers in the first place.

    What's an Internet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Shane C, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:13am

    Next on the docket

    until customs and border patrol starts scanning every IP packet at the border, it's a total waste of time and effort


    Can't you hear it already? Somewhere, some politician is getting ready to say "we already have a precedence to view all evidence crossing our borders, inspecting every packet in the tube is just an extension of that precedence."

    Sorry, had to throw the "tube" comment in there to make it sound like it really came from a politician. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    Hmm

    looks like my submit button works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    Whats Canada?

    Samething them dirty Cann00k bastards tried to pull on me. Talking about how they where going to scrape the sides of my credit cards looking for cocaine.. "Sir, are we going to find any drugs on the edges of your drivers license?".

    "Your the customs dude.. You tell be bro and please don't taser me!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    These are cops who probably failed the FBI test, not rocket surgons. They should have studied more instead of taking football.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Re: Whats Canada?

    um...it was the U.S. customs officials that did this.

    (they were probably looking for credit being smuggled in from Canada)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Palin Biden 2016, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    15 comments before me and sadly me saying "Thhppt!" ranks as one of the most intelligible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    Genius!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:37am

    First, I have no doubt that this has nothing to do with the picture or copyrights and everything to do with her being of middle eastern descent.

    Second, it shows once again how completely ignorant people are about copyright, trademark, and patents. Can you imagine how screwed up the world would be if cars could be copyrighted?! How could anyone even suggest something so completely ludicrous. But yet, here's a branch of government claiming it.

    And third, my submit button does work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    NeoConBushSupporter, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    Re:

    "It's amazing they cant see through that. They must be looking for something else and using the copyrite infringement search as a smoke screen. Total waste of time and money."

    Protecting the property rights of the capital class is why we have government. I would think the current market turmoil would be enough to scare you hippies back into your laval lit cubbie holes . . . . look I dont have time to school you commies on how the real world works, but when you upset your betters, you get the current economy.


    VOTE McCain 2008 - He knows better then to bite the hand that feeds him!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    TW Burger, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    The thought process of border guards

    The problem is most probably with the border guard training and management or with the person crossing the border rather than individual guard. While it is true that border guards are generally not PhD candidates they are also mainly not knuckle dragging morons - unless they decide to be. This person with the drawing probably did something to provoke the guard into caveman mode, or the guard's supervisor made a big deal about industrial espionage after ready something in “News Week”, or the guard is new and has no clue what to ignore as a waste of time due to poor training and is a walking talking 90 minute border line up waiting to happen.

    Border guards are ordinary people with almost unlimited powers of search, seizure, and detainment. If you provoke them, crap will happen. Mind your manners, have your receipts ready, don’t start telling them how important you are and how long will this take, and you will not have to explain to your analyst your feelings regarding the anal cavity search conducted by a 340 pound border guard the others refer to as “The Reamer”.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Jerry, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    what custom's officers do . . .

    FYI-
    Customs Officers work at Ports of Entry.
    Customs encompasses many jobs
    -looking for fruit/vegitables
    -looking for counterfeit products
    -verifying that items claimed are what were stated in paperwork or verbally
    -looking for smuggled items of any kind (animals, drugs, people, merchandise not claimed)
    -verifying citizenship
    -verifying visa are acurate and that persons entering are entering for the reason stated in their visa.

    And I am sure many other things that I am not aware of, as I am not involved with customs.

    FYI-Border Patrol works between the Ports of Entry at:
    checkpoints,
    on foot,
    on horseback,
    on ATVs,
    in vehicles,
    on snowmobiles,
    and also do many other things that again I am sure that I am not aware of.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    WarOtter (profile), Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    Your submit button works fine, your brain does not.
    You turn south and run head first into a metal spike. You die.

    -1 Intarwebs

    (R)etry, (A)bort, (F)ail

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    MY SUBMIT BUTTON DOESN'T WORK

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anti-Nazi Partisan, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:04am

    Re: The thought process of border guards

    So you're excusing their idiocy? Looks that way to me, and probably because it parallels yours. As far as your comment about "The Reamer" goes, it would seem you have some unspoken desires here. Now get back to lapping up Fox News and listening to Rush, with all the other slack-jawed inbreeds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    MY SUBMIT BUTTON DOESN'T WORK

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    oops

    oh wait there we go

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    oops

    oh wait there we go

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    earl, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    oops

    oh wait there we go

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Re: The thought process of border guards

    I'm wondering if this harrassment isn't a case of TWA (travelling while attractive) to be compared to the slightly older accusation of DWB (driving while black). I would not be suprised if there was a certain amount of profiling going on to search more attractive people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    A. L. Shaw, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:12am

    Border Security

    Until we secure our borders and remove all the aliens from this country who are not legal the US will not be same from terrorism.

    One should notice, NEITHER of the presidential candidates have made a comment on this problem.... shame.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    VMD, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:15am

    I can only imagine what would happen to the poor guy if he was from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan or whatever current westerners' "axis of evil" country is..

    [dark-skinned bearded dude] - Ohficer, Ih was just tryin' to draw a pikcha of eh S-U-V.. This is no problem, sir ohfficer?
    [officer] - FACE ON THE GROUND WITH YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD! NOW! 10-4 positive id on suspect. Send backup with K9 unit asap.
    [during press conference] - We collected irrefutable evidence of a terrorist plan involving hijacking of an SUV. Here's what the terrorists have gathered about their potential target so far. [holds up the drawing] As you can see these dangerous people from that evil country hate all about us, and our cars. We must conduct preemptive strikes against their oil/uranium-rich country now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:22am

    Good to see we are being protected against possible illegal drawings of SUV's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Zak, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:29am

    Re: Border Security

    Once you remove all the aliens from this country only a handful of American Indians will remain. Oh, did I tell you you're an idiot?

    Z.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:37am

    Re: Earl

    "Hey, is my submit button working?"

    Yes, in fact I'd say that it's five times better than average.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:44am

    Re: Border Security

    "One should notice, NEITHER of the presidential candidates have made a comment on this problem.... shame."

    Its because NO ONE CARES, the terrorism, immigration {xenophobia}, boogey man stuff isnt working this time. The Republicans have so devastated the economy that NOTHING else matters. The United States is like a really sick person who can’t breathe. While we have lots of issues that need attention, when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters . . . nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Duane, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    Up until now I've loved every comment I've read of yours. Just enough neocon rhetoric to seem plausible but if read another way, perfect snark.

    This one is not quite up to your usual standard. Please keep trying though, you are providing better writing than half of what I see on TV.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    my wife..

    my wife knits so I'm getting a kick out of these replies...ooops...wrong forum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    come one "lava lit cubbies" is pretty good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    anymouse, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    She was HOT... get over it

    She was obviously a 'hotty' and the border patrol wanted a little strip search action....

    Gotta give allow the minimum wage flunkies a little fun every once in a while (until it's your wife anyway).

    USA the best government money can buy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Jerk, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    Is everyone overlooking...

    the fact that a micro SD card will make it through a metal detector in my pocket? There's simply not enough metal to set it off. I have more metal in my teeth! You could fit hundreds, even thousands, of images or documents onto that thing and carry it in your pocket, or heck, stuff it in the belly button, jeez, duct tape it to a butt cheek! Instant copyright infringement...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Points Out Idiots, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Border Security

    > From A.L. Shaw
    >
    > Until we secure our borders and remove all the aliens
    > from this country who are not legal the US will not be
    > same from terrorism.

    Obviously brilliant stellar analysis from A.L. Shaw. Of course a terrorist will always be a brown skinned person from a foreign land with some funny name. They would never have a good Christian name, like Timothy McVeigh, and be lily white and natural born corn fed 100& USDA stock. No, couldn't happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    bikey (profile), Oct 10th, 2008 @ 12:56am

    border searches

    Does it begin to become apparent that IP searches will be used, often more successfully, for ends other than protecting IP? Research ACTA now. Tell your friends. This one is really under the radar (granted, the radar is particularly heavy these days).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    PixelPusher220, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:19am

    Re:

    First, she's a blonde, highly unlikely to be of mid-Eastern descent.
    Second, the article said she her passport shows she *visited* a number of countries in the last year.

    hey maybe that's their strategy? if you've visited a foreign country you must be suspicious...and since *everybody* coming in through customs has just visited a foreign country it's foolproof! Brilliant!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Maniacal, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Don't like it? Too bad. Cross at the Mexican border next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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