by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 1st 2008 2:42pm
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.
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