by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 8th 2008 12:53am
We first discussed this a while back, but it appears that more US courts are agreeing that customs agents have every right to snoop through your computer before letting you into the country. This issue is getting some people concerned, as they point to the vast difference between bringing tangible goods into the country (which, reasonably, can be searched) and all of the information you contain on your laptop (which, increasingly, is like a backup brain). Of course, since most of the cases testing this theory involve people who were found with child porn on their laptop, it's no surprise that there hasn't been as much discussion of the cases. People generally don't want to be seen as siding with child porn. However, it is a much larger issue, especially considering how much personal and private information most folks have on their laptops these days. If these searches are allowed (as it appears they will be), how long until the process is abused? How long until some confidential or embarrassing information is leaked just because a customs official snoops through someone's laptop?
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