EFF Asks Congress To Look Into Border Searches Of Laptops

from the some-rules-would-be-nice dept

Last month yet another court ruled that border patrol guards could search the data on mobile phones and laptops without any probable cause. This was troubling for a variety of reasons, since it basically gives them access to all sorts of things that one would have a normal expectation of privacy over. It's quite different than, say, a stack of papers you have brought with you while traveling overseas. In those cases, you made the proactive decision to take those files with you. Yet, since your computer stores everything, you're exposing much more, and doing it without making the proactive decision to bring those files with you. It's also not clear how this applies to network drives. For example, I store some files on a network drive that appears as just another drive off of my laptop, even though it's not in the laptop itself. Can a customs agent start searching that drive as well? This raises some serious concerns, and the EFF is now demanding some Congressional oversight concerning how these laptop and mobile device searches take place, even suggesting that laws be put in place to prevent the abuse of power by customs agents.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Steve, May 1st, 2008 @ 2:58pm

    How can they search a network drive that isn't attached?

     

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    Hank, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:12pm

    well..........

    I see the whole privacy issue involved, but if you don't have anything illegal on the laptop.......who cares. Civil rights, civil shmights, we give up civil rights every day. It all comes down to what's important to us at the time. Drug runners don't want cops to be able to search their cars, but I don't care if they search mine. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No.
    Go ahead, search my phone, what are they going to do, call my wife while I'm out of town?

    Of course you give them an inch and they take what ever the hell they want.

    Realistically, it doesn't matter, because most of them wouldn't know what they were looking at when they find it anyway. Do you know how many times I've taken stuff on planes that was restricted in the last 6 years? Unless something is obvious, they won't find it. It's not like they're going to sit there for hours reading all your files. As long as you don't have a folder named "bomb making" or "anthrax" you should be fine.

     

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    me, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:26pm

    grammar

    probably cause? that's improbable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:34pm

    Re:

    offline files. Never under estimate stupidity.

     

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    joe, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:36pm

    well....?

    I love Hank's outlook, don't rock the boat and just let us search anything of yours anytime we want. It's folks like Hank that will keep bending over backward thinking it's no big deal because A:they're being patriotic and helping fight terror,and B:I have nothing to hide,so search away!

    Listen,law enforcement professionals have tough jobs, and I wish them well. I have nothing to hide but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give them access to everything I have,no questions asked.

    The idea of personal privacy may be inflated, but to quote Hank "who cares?" We have grown used to certain levels of privacy in this country and (except for folks like Hank)also keeping close tabs on the WHY of intrusions in our lives.

    Hank can rollover,I won't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:47pm

    Re: well..........

    And if I'm a game developer working on a FPS & I do have folders named "Bomb making" & "Nuclear Device" & "Bio Warfare" I should still be fine. But that doesn't give them a right to have access to my source code.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:55pm

    To Hank

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn't a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    -- Martin Niemöller

    We all must guard ours and everyones liberty. What if they copy my hard drive and get an inventory of my firearms. A decade later personal firearms are banned, the 2nd amendment is ignored, and a swat team breaks down my front door.

    Hank, you are a direct threat to everyone else freedom

     

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  8.  
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    Griper, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:58pm

    With more and more things the government can search through, even if they find anything will they be able to put 2 and 2 together to actually stop an act of terrorism in time. Instead of adding more stuff to search, maybe they should refine their search techniques or even narrow down the suspected list before they search.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 3:59pm

    Re: well..........

    That's exactly what they want you to think. Be a good, well-behaved sheep citizen. To hell with privacy, to hell with civil rights, they're keeping us safe, right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Re:

    Or, even better, they should stop giving the world reasons to become terrorists.
    Freedom and democracy are sweet, healthy stuff, but if you ram it down people's throats, they're gonna choke and spit it back at you.

     

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    Ron (profile), May 1st, 2008 @ 4:11pm

    Anyone Know ...

    ... how often these searches and seizures occur? I mean, all ya ever hear on the news is the bad stuff. Are we hearing only 2 instances repeated over and over again until it sounds epidemic? I'm not willing to roll over but I do want to know what my realistic risk is. I also want to know what happens if I contest a search or demand that I be present while my machine or phone is being searched.

     

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    DM, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:19pm

    Protect yourself

    Every operating system around has the capability of protecting your personal information. Activate multiple users on your computer, and don't show that there are multiple users at the login screen. One of the users should be a dummy user with a bunch of "safe" looking files within that user's home directory. This should be enough to fool the For your real user, encrypt the home folder so it can't be gotten into easily.

     

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    The International, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:27pm

    Stand

    This is yet another example of the TSA's usual ego-maniacal "Bufford Pusser" tactics meant primarily to inflate the egos of border patrol agents while humiliating and insulting the fair citizenry who pay their wages. Honestly, how the *expletive* could these idiots really think they are going to be able to thoroughly and accurately scan each and every laptop that goes through every single airport, defeating all encryption and stealth technology, and glean any meaningful information to help fight terrorism? It would take days for one flight to get out of the airport. When militant autism is in play, nobody wins. For the innocent passengers who suffer delays, embarrassment and stress, the TSA agents are the terrorists.

    Today Bush's approval rating is down to like 28%, a historical record for any president (it might be have been lower still if literacy were higher in this country.) But try getting any kind of statistically significant approval rating for the DOHS or the TSA.

     

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    Stand, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:34pm

    Re: To Hank

    If only the problem were so easily digestible as the philosophical parable you quote here, one of my favorites btw. I think that the real problem stems from the increasing numbers of dumb people in positions of unchecked, or self-checked, influence and authority. There are too many stupid people per capita in this country.

     

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    Hank, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:38pm

    Re: well....?

    Well, I'm glad to see people are pissed off about this.

    Let me refine my point.

    I do not have a problem with them searching my laptop.
    I do, however think I should be present, they shouldn't be able to copy anything, and if they find something questionable they should explain in full detail why before they walk off with my stuff.

    Look at it this way; you don't have a problem with them searching your luggage before you get on a plane, right?

    More often nowadays people are turning everything they have to electronic media. For example, I don't carry an address book with me because I have everything in my iPhone.

    Do I think they should be able to copy the code for the new game you are creating, NO. Do I thing they should be able to take a quick look inside your electronic storage devices, YES.

    All the people bitching about this search right now are the ones that will be screaming the loudest when a terrorist does something that could have been prevented by one of these searches.

    There is a HUGE gray area here people. We need to find a happy medium. Remember, every single law out there infringes on our civil rights in some way, but we accept them because they keep us safer as a society.
    A simple example, why do you stop at a stop sign? Isn't it infringing on your rights to impede your progress to your destination? Yes, but it keeps us from slamming huge metal cages into each other and killing each other, so we accept it.

    I'm not rolling over, and I don't expect anyone else to either. However, if we all give up a little bit, we will gain much in the end.

     

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    CVPunk, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:51pm

    actually...

    I am by no means defending these border searches. But, I believe the court also ruled that if your HDD is encrypted that they cannot try to break it or force you to supply the encryption code.

    oh yeah, BRAVO to #7
    "Hank, you are a direct threat to everyone else freedom"

    I second that.

     

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    CVPunk, May 1st, 2008 @ 4:56pm

    ummm... no

    "There is a HUGE gray area here people. We need to find a happy medium. Remember, every single law out there infringes on our civil rights in some way, but we accept them because they keep us safer as a society.
    A simple example, why do you stop at a stop sign? Isn't it infringing on your rights to impede your progress to your destination? Yes, but it keeps us from slamming huge metal cages into each other and killing each other, so we accept it"

    There is a big difference between common sense laws and laws that impede on your privacy. (such as this law)

     

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    SimpleMind, May 1st, 2008 @ 5:00pm

    could there be a bomb in it?

    There can be a bomb in someone's luggage. Thus I allow them to search my luggage so that they can find the bomb in someone else's.

    There cannot be a bomb in someone's data on their laptop. Thus it should not be allowed to search it. No grey area here at all. Why should I have to give up everything to get nothing, Hank?

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 1st, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    Re: well....?

    Hank wrote:

    However, if we all give up a little bit, we will gain much in the end.

    Why do you have a Fourth Amendment, then?

     

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  20.  
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    Hank, May 1st, 2008 @ 5:32pm

    Re: could there be a bomb in it?

    True, you probably don't have a bomb in your laptop. However, you may have plans to place a bomb on the steps of congress. Or maybe you just have the plans to make the bomb.

    Either way, you all are running around screaming, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Do you honestly think they have the time to check every laptop that comes through? Do you think they will spend more than a couple minutes checking your laptop? Not really enough time for an in deapth search. What are you afraid of, that they will find your kiddie porn collection?

    This to me is like the wire tap issue. They can't wire tap everyone, it's no practical or realistic. This just cuts a crap load of red tape out of their way when they find a laptop they want to search.

    Believe me, none of us are important enough to search our laptops. Are they tapping your phone? No. Are they tapping my phone? No. Do you really think that you are important enough to stop you specifically and check your laptop? No.
    Check your egos people, the gov't doesn't give a damn about what 99% of us are doing.

    This is so they can freely search the laptop of a person they already suspect has something incriminating on it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 5:50pm

    blah blah blah.

    It's not the gov. you have to be concerned about, it's the idiot border guard making 12 bucks an hour that's has every "right" to pillage information off of your laptop and sell it to a competitor for millions of dollars which in turn makes your company lose 10 times that.

     

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    Eric the Grey, May 1st, 2008 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: well....?

    I'd be willing to bet money that you have nothing in your home that would constitute a crime, and that if the police searched your home, they'd find nothing to arrest you on.

    However, would you be willing to allow them to come in and perform just such a search without some form of necessity? According to the law, they have to not only have probable cause, but be able to convince a Judge that that probable cause is sufficient to warrant such a search. If the Judge agrees, then they can perform their search.

    This is all we're asking from the boarder patrol. Just saying there might be something on a laptop or phone that might be illegal or threatening is not good enough reason.


    EtG

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 6:16pm

    Re:

    If the guard did that and made a ton of cash from it, they're not an idiot are they?

     

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    Rose M. Welch, May 1st, 2008 @ 6:46pm

    Thats right, nobody cares what you're doing...

    Just like nobody cared what people were doing in Germany or Russia during their times of crisis? Friends and neighbors didn't snitch on each other for things that shouldn't matter? Things that Hank thinks no one cares about?

    They care, buddy. There is always someone who cares. And this country really seems to need a 'nigger' class of people. First, it's black people. Then it was gay people. It's heading toward Muslim people. Who knows who it'll be after that? These groups of people have only been safe so far because ours laws are geared to protect the minority.

    If you make search-and-seizure so easy, then it won't be long before our politicians are making whatever new nigger class we come up with illegal and seizing them. When Senators can stand up and urge 'separate but equal' measures for gays and Muslims AND BE CHEERED ON BY AMERICANS then you know that someone cares about what you do.

    Anyone else nervous yet?

     

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    Jim, May 1st, 2008 @ 7:40pm

    O

     

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  26.  
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    JimW, May 1st, 2008 @ 7:44pm

    Our future is in our past

    If you are curious as to where America is headed, you just need to read up on the history of the Roman Empire. Why can't we ever learn from the mistakes of our ancestors? Is the Human Race that insane they we have to keep doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results?

     

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  27.  
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    Brad Eleven, May 1st, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Every single law?

    Hank asserts:
    Remember, every single law out there infringes on our civil rights in some way, but we accept them because they keep us safer as a society.
    This is a particularly troubling perspective. The basis of Common Law is that each of us has rights. Previously, only the authorities--in many cases, people with weapons--had rights. I presume you've heard of the barbaric maxim "might makes right."

    The very term "common law" comes from a book written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. From the first page:
    The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.
    Reflect on that for a moment, if you will. Consider that the mess we find ourselves in is the result of logic, e.g., predictions about "another attack on American soil." For example, the Patriot Act is based on imagined threats, however logically derived they may be. On the other hand, this article is about experience: At least two very basic human rights--the right to privacy and the right of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures--are being violated. Possibly at the very moment that you're reading this.

    It doesn't matter at all whether or not you mind if agents of the state search your belongings without probable cause. That makes about as much sense as claiming that you don't mind if other people see you naked. The point is that we don't want for our belongings to be pawed through by a presumably authorized agent of the state. This is not a personal preference: It's the basis for a free society, and everything that comes with it, and is impossible without freedom: Self expression. Innovation. Personal fulfillment.

    Yes, it's risky. There are no risk-free rewards. People way smarter and far more courageous than we are here in this forum figured this out, and the world admires our society for it. Consider that "freedom isn't free" doesn't necessarily mean that you have to kill other people, or take away their rights so that you can have rights. Perhaps the cost of freedom is the assumption of risk--and the responsibility of vigilance over those rights.

    We don't accept laws that infringe on our civil rights because they make us safer as a society. We accept and are responsible for the risks that come with civil rights for all because that's what makes us safer as a society. If for no other reason, more laws to enforce cost too much money and simply aren't possible. Look carefully: Do your local law enforcement authorities prevent crime? In my experience, they make token moves to justify their continued authority--and hopefully to deter criminals.

    That is, every laptop can't possibly be searched, and those that do will only get the most cursory of inspections. People with something to hide will hide their laptops--or store their dangerous information in some other undetectable medium. It's nothing more than a show put on for our benefit, so that we can feel safer, when at best we're inconvenienced, and at worst, we're exposed to prosecution by the state. You may be thinking that waiting for your belongings to be searched is no worse than having to take off your shoes at the airport, but I'm certain that you'd mind being arrested by mistake. What if you're detained for a few hours or days? Do you think you'll get a phone call or a lawyer if a few people say that you're a terrorist? What if you were taken to a remote location where torture isn't against the law?

    I'm citing the experiences of innocent people, whom the state has imprisoned for years based on hearsay in return for a bounty for anyone that seemed suspicious. And now the state is keeping them locked up because it believes that it isn't safe to release them. It's probably not safe to release them--I know I'd be angry enough to seek revenge on an entity that had imprisoned me without a trial and treated me poorly. I'd like to think that I'd pursue restitution through legal channels, but who's to say what my state of mind would be after having been cut off from the world for months or years?

    Rights may be inalienable, but they must not be taken for granted. It simply doesn't work to shrug one's shoulders and say, "Oh well, my rights are being violated all over the place, what's one more?" I find it patently absurd that these United States resemble the now-defunct Soviet Union that we used to make fun of.

    Your claiming that you're okay with having your rights violated doesn't constitute an argument. You'll have to do better than that.

    What good does it do society to allow the authorities to search any of us whenever they wish? Further, what is the experience of societies that allow this?

    If you're serious about your claims, I think you'll find after careful examination that it simply doesn't work for We the People to give up essential liberty for temporary security.

    That group includes you.

     

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    Griper, May 1st, 2008 @ 7:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Your preaching to the choir on that one, I don't know why we think we can spread democracy by getting in everyones business. You can win more people over by building schools and hospitals than blowing up houses and bunkers. It's kind of hard to recriut people to blow themselves up if they are attacking the only country that is helping them.

     

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    Ryan, May 1st, 2008 @ 8:44pm

    Re: To Hank

    No, you are a direct threat to our freedom. What if they had searched the hijackers during 9/11 and saved those thousands of lives, wouldnt that have been better than your "patriotic" ass just not having to take your shoes off. The other posts are right, unless you have an inventory of firearms, youll be fine. its radicals like yourself that allow terrorist attacks to happen in the first place

     

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    joe, May 1st, 2008 @ 8:54pm

    Hank misses the point

    " . . . if you don't have anything illegal on the laptop.......who cares. Civil rights, civil shmights, we give up civil rights every day. It all comes down to what's important to us at the time. Drug runners don't want cops to be able to search their cars, but I don't care if they search mine. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No."

    You are making a very dangerous and naive assumption that what's legal today will always be legal. I have lived long enough (75+) to see law enforcement in this and other countries nibble away at civil rights, while at the same time legislators make things that used to legal, into illegal, in one city, county or state or another.

    Unrestrained searches will not "inconvenience" you until the day that you have a copy of a book or pamphlet written by some writer who is declared subversive or you have to show a photo ID and give your Social Security number in order to buy a ticket to see some movie or play that later is claimed is an insult to the one true God - and now they have had you fired from a public job. That's the day you will rue having given up MY rights because you thought would never need yours.

    One of the most shameful things that has been happening in the past 50 years life is the loss of understanding the meaning of Liberty. What our government is doing in Guan6tanamo to the rights of those prisoners will be the legal basis for putting a third or forth generation down the line in prison without the right to a speedy trial or habeus corpous or the right an attorney or the right to see the evidence or the right to crossexamine witnesses.

    Those rights are now up for grabs.

    If none has quoted it so far in this thread, I suggest you consider the wisdom of Ben Franklyn, "Those who would give up liberty to win security soon will have neither."

     

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    Nathan, May 1st, 2008 @ 8:58pm

    Re:

    its possible to map ftp sites and http locations as a networked drive. Some software may be needed, i can't remember

     

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    Mike, May 1st, 2008 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: To Hank

    Uh, the hijackers used boxcutters that would have made it past a search at the time... and while were on the subject they had been warned of the planned hijackings and still did nothing... also so called "patriots" are STILL blindly following an obviously out of control administration... the patriots are the ones fight for privacy and personal freedoms, not the one trying to take them away from you. Its too bad its already too late to stop them from selling out the country to the corporations.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 10:05pm

    Yeah, the guards would still be idiots. That's called luck.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:35pm

    Re: well..........

    see the whole privacy issue involved, but if you don't have anything illegal on the laptop.......who cares. Civil rights, civil shmights, we give up civil rights every day.
    Wow, just wow. This is the most anti-American statement I have read. Here's how it works Hank. Mr. Border Guard takes your laptop. On it they find some "suspicious file." You are arrested, put in jail. You have no right to an attorney. You have no right to a public trial. You have no right to know what charges have been brought against you. You have no right to tell your family you are in a jail. You have no right to be treated humanely in this jail. You might spend years in jail, just because. These are "civil rights, civil shmights" Hank. These are the things our forefathers fought for and sometimes gave their lives to protect, and you just simply take that all for granted. You are neither a patriot nor are you a proud defender of our democracy.

     

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    Rekrul, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:37pm

    Drug runners don't want cops to be able to search their cars, but I don't care if they search mine. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No.

    Perhaps you should do some research on "asset seizure and forfeiture" in the US. For quite a few years now, the police have had the authority to seize and then keep or auction off any type of personal property that is involved in the commission of a drug crime. "No problem, I don't do drugs" you say. Here's the thing; Since the police departments get to keep the things they seize, there's a high incentive for them to find a connection to drugs, even if none exists.

    For example, let's say that you have a relatively large amount of cash in the car. Since something like 90% of all paper money in the US has come into contact with drugs at some point (yes, that's true, look it up), a drug-sniffing dog will identify some of your cash as having come in contact with drugs. So, drug tainted money, a guy carrying a large amount of cash, you must be a drug dealer. "No problem, I can prove I'm not a drug dealer" you say. Oh, but it's not that simple!

    You see, back when these laws went into effect, it was decided that too many drug dealers could hire lawyers and get themselves off, so rather than require a conviction, the police merely have to say that they truly believe that the property was involved in a drug related drime and bingo, they get to keep it. No conviction required. They don't even have to charge you with a crime. In order to get your property back, you have to go to court and prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the property in question was not involved in a drug crime and since it's almost impossible to prove a negative, most people never get their property back.

    "No problem, I'm sure the honest police would never suspect me of doing anything illegal" you say. Think again, police departments now get a sizable portion of their budgets from seized property. That's a huge incentive to seize expensive property, especially cash on the flimsiest of excuses.

    Oh, if the money was found in your car, they'd take the car too.

    Don't believe me, read here;

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=959869

    All the people bitching about this search right now are the ones that will be screaming the loudest when a terrorist does something that could have been prevented by one of these searches.

    Except that these searhes won't prevent a terrorist act. Read the reports; The first thing the TSAs do when looking at a laptop is head straight for the pictures directory. They're not looking for bomb plans, they're looking for child pornography.

    "No problem, I don't have any child porn" you say. Well do you have any porn on your laptop? If so, you better hope that none of the girls are young looking or you'll be arrested for CP regardless of the actual ages of the girls in question. Do a search for "Melissa Ashley", she's an adult "adult" performer who looks like a teenager. There are dosumented cases where pictures of her have been mistaken for CP. In one case, the FBI swore that the girl in the picture was no older than 13, even though they had come across pictures of her before and she'd been proven to be an adult.

    "No problem, once they know that the pictures aren't CP, they'll drop the charges" you say. Think again. There are documented cases where even after the FBI verified that none of the pictures featured real children, they still refused to drop the charges. They argued that the suspect thought she was underage, therefore he should be locked up.

    However, if we all give up a little bit, we will gain much in the end.

    Have you ever read up on the actions of the federal agencies leading up to 9/11? Documents show that the various agencies had all the evidence they needed to alert them that something strange was going on. They just never bothered to share the information with each other or follow up on it. If they had, they would have seen a pattern of Middle Eastern men taking piloting lessons, but only being interested in how to fly a plane once it was in the air, but no interest in learning how to take off or land.

    So if they had all the evidence they needed to prevent 9/11 but were too incompetent to prevent it, how is passing draconian new laws going to work any better?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:45pm

    Re: Re: well....?

    Do I thing they should be able to take a quick look inside your electronic storage devices, YES.


    The issue here is oversight and probable cause. According to you, you would have no problem with the police coming into your house, without a warrant and without probable cause, and looking through all your things.

    Are you even an American? Do you even understand the term "probable cause?" Do you even understand why the police go to a court to get a search warrant?

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    One of biggest issues, May 2nd, 2008 @ 5:48am

    You are missing

    One aspect many of you are overlooking is your private data on another person's laptop. What if your lawyer crosses the border with your case file and correspondence stored on your laptop? Your legal right of attorney client privilege could be breached. That's not just a privacy issue, it's a constitutionally guaranteed right that could be violated.

    How about your medical records on you doctor's PC? Your tax records on your accountant's PC? You investment portfolio on your broker's PC? You company's financial statements on your underwriter's PC?

    Not only do you have to worry about securing your own data but you also have to worry whether anyone who is a steward of your personal information is exposing it to governmental scrutiny by simply walking across the border.

    Even more frightening is the fact no policies are in place for controlling how the Government copies, stores, transmits or retains private data seized at border crossings.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Alimas, May 2nd, 2008 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: well..........

    Simply beautiful.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Alimas, May 2nd, 2008 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: To Hank

    The fact that the hijackings were successfully pulled off with BOXCUTTERS of all things, just goes to show how pathetically sheep like our citizens are.

    The reaction to that should have been training in self-defence and trained guards on planes.

    Not damn random cavity searches.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2008 @ 6:43am

    Re: well..........

    When others have said it better than you can, simply say what they have said.

    "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." -Edward R Murrow

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Hank, May 2nd, 2008 @ 7:18am

    Re: Every single law?

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Hank, May 2nd, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Re: Every single law?

    Brad,

    That was a very well written, intelligent, comment on this subject. Honestly, I don't even want to play devil's advocate to your comments. I agree with everything you have to say. I never intend to offend anyone, it's just that without people like me to stir the pot, debates like this wouldn't get started. Thank you for making your point so eloquently.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, May 2nd, 2008 @ 7:50am

    Re: well..........

    > but if you don't have anything illegal on
    > the laptop.......who cares

    I'm a cop and I can't count the number of times this very idea has come up in conversations with my fellow cops over the years-- if you don't have anything to hide, why would you care?

    I always paint them a little scenario in response: what if you pulled someone over on the side of the road, asked to search their car, and when they refused you gave them your standard, "If you don't have anything to hide" line, and they replied, "Okay, officer, you can search my car but only if when we're done, we can go to your home and you let me search your house, where I can look through your most private places: your business files, tax returns, your internet browsing history, even your wife's panty drawer. Would that be okay with you? I mean, after all, if you're not doing anything illegal-- if you have nothing to hide-- you shouldn't mind a total stranger going through all your personal things, right?"

    I haven't met a cop yet who can refute that point. They usually just look away and mumble something like, "Well, that's different."

    But we all know it's not different at all. People don't have to be criminals in order to have sense of privacy in their personal belongings and to not want some total stranger rifling through them, even if that stranger is wearing a uniform and badge.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    barren waste, May 2nd, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Unethical Laws

    Do not forget, that just because something is legal or illegal does not mean that the laws concerning it are ethical. New laws are made and old laws are repealed all the time for this very reason. So, you may indeed have something to hide, and today it may be illegal, but tomorrow that very same thing you are hiding may be legal. My family has hid many things, run-a-way slaves before and during the civil war, liquer during prohibition, and even an immigrant or two who later became productive citizens. What they did was against the law, but was it wrong? And should the government have the right to search, seize, and prosecute you for things that the populace believe should be legal? Quite simply put, the government is being granted to much power to control our lives. I've said it before, I'll say it again, the land of the free has become the land of the freely prosecuted.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: well..........

    Printing , Saving & memorizing this.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2008 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: could there be a bomb in it?

    Moron.
    If someone is going to keep there plans for a bomb, there
    1) going to be encrypted
    2) more than likely not even on the laptop, but stored on a web server in a Jpeg with stenography protection.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Nasch, May 2nd, 2008 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: could there be a bomb in it?

    This just cuts a crap load of red tape out of their way when they find a laptop they want to search.

    That is a bad thing.

    That stuff you call red tape is referred to by some of us as due process. Border patrol should have to jump through some hoops before they're allowed to search for anything not immediately dangerous or illegal, and no I don't mean information. I mean weapons or smuggled goods. If it's painful and difficult for them to get approval to search your laptop, that makes it less likely they'll do it just to harass and intimidate you, because they don't like the way you look/smell/drive/etc. No, we are not worried about them finding our kiddie porn collection because A) we don't have any and B) we're not idiots and we encrypt anything we don't want others to find. Yes, we are concerned about specious invasions of our privacy, even if you are not.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Nasch, May 2nd, 2008 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Unethical Laws

    ...old laws are repealed all the time...

    I don't believe you!

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Suckers, May 2nd, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    Thank you Hank!

    I love this new war on privacy. Please let these lowly paid soldiers of freedom have even more access to your personal and business files. This makes it so easy for guys like me to buy gold nugget business intelligence at lead slug prices. I used to have to work for it, but now gov't agents collect it for me!

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    another mike, May 2nd, 2008 @ 5:03pm

    border agents do have a sense of humor

    So I was coming back from Baja last weekend and driving back across the border, the agent wanted to see what was on my laptop.
    I said, "If you can log into it, the data is yours." Fair enough, right?
    So he types 'administrator' with a blank password to log in. Since that works on like 3 out of 4 computers, it's a good assumption, and one I was prepared for. Don't get ahead of me.
    I had set the startup sound to a medley of Monty Python quotes. And turned the volume knob to 11.
    "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...I'm not dead yet...He's not dead, he's pining for the fjords...We are the Knights who say Ni!...And now for something completely different...Spam Spam Spam Spam..."
    This weekend? Rick-roll.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Triatomic Tortoise, May 3rd, 2008 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Network Drive

    Offline files can be helpful in a lot of scenario and the technology was developed for that reason. It is not stupidity!

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Triatomic Tortoise, May 3rd, 2008 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: well....?

    This is how Bush ruled for 8 years. This is the reason America lost much of it's good name throughout the world. These are the thoughts that are helping to destroy the very fundamental flavour of our constitution (we the people...). This type of narrow vision leads to destroy the separation of church and state, instigate racism and hate crimes. This is the hypocracy that makes America to think that democracy is it's greatest export.

    I can go on to no end. Who loves to pay tax that send our troops to get killed overseas fighting an unethical war because of the religious/racial hatred of our republicans?

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    barren waste, May 4th, 2008 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: well....?

    Ok, Triatomic, that last paragraph has got to be the dumbest and most ironic thing I've heard in about 15 years. The AMERICANS are fighting over seas because of RELIGIOUS/RACIAL hatred? Now, I might have given you a few points if you had said the war was motivated by money, as in the oil, but to pin it on religious bigotry on our part is hysterical.

    Well, this just goes to show that just because everybody has the right to free speach doesn't mean that everybody should exercise it.

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    known coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    this is not a probable cause issue

    If I understand this correctly, this is about searches at the international border crossings only. At a border crossing, you have NO rights. You never had any rights, If customs wants to do a full cavity search because you are passenger # 12, it is legal. By crossing an international border you are consenting to a full search, if you do not like it, do not travel internationally.

    My main point is, this is nothing new. It has always been this way, the only way to get through customs without the possibility of a search is a diplomatic pouch.

    At a local stop and search, yes make them get a warrant, at an international crossing, stop whining and open up the laptops.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:05pm

    This is how Bush ruled for 8 years. This is the reason America lost much of it's good name throughout the world. These are the thoughts that are helping to destroy the very fundamental flavour of our constitution (we the people...).


    “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” - George W. Bush 2005

    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7779.shtml

     

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


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