Will DHS Border Search Logic Be Used To Allow Gov't Screening Of All Internet Traffic?

from the bad-potential-precedent dept

We've already explained how ridiculous it is for DHS to say that border patrol agents need to search laptops to prevent dangerous information from getting into the country. Obviously, if that was the intent of the individual, they'd just send the info electronically and not have to deal with any customs agents. Slashdot points us to a blog post by Steven M. Bellovin where he takes that same thought and flips it on its head, noting that, based on the DHS's statements, DHS may believe that it also has the right to scan any data entering or leaving the country. On top of that, he points out that this could potentially mean that if you encrypt that data you send over a border (say, via a VPN), you could potentially be violating laws that bans "hiding" goods that you send over the border. While the courts have not at all ruled in this way, you could pretty easily see the government making this sort of case.
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Filed Under: border searches, customs, data transfer, laptops


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  1. identicon
    BP_Man, 7 Aug 2008 @ 7:31am

    DHS is doing the right thing and the USA is safer post 9/11.

    For everyone who wants to bash Bush or DHS, you have no clue what you are talking about. I am on the frontline, everyday, protecting this country. The ability to search all electronic devices for data is very important. It allows us to find child pornographers, industry secrets that have been stolen, economic damaging data, as well as possible terrorist related plans and YES we have seized all of those types of data. Please understand, this is not a law that President Bush created. This is a law that SCOTUS upheld. We have had this right since the beginning of Customs. It is called a border search and anything entering this country and at an established port of entry can be searched, period. You have limited rights at a port of entry. It has been this way since the early 1900's. As for not being safer since post 9/11, I clearly beg to differ. Manpower for the Border Patrol, Customs, Coast Guard, and other agencies has more than doubled. That means at least twice as many people are patrolling our borders. Additionally, more infrastructure is available: fencing, cameras, electronic detection devices, etc. I have seen substantial growth in this area. Having been in the service prior to 9/11 and post, I can 100% tell you we are safer. I remember when we would come to work and not have trucks because they were broken down. Now we have the pick of the lot.

    Finally, for most of those here complaining and stating that things are no different or that you know how to enforce border strategy without impeding peoples liberties, I ask you to come to the border and demonstrate it. When you are here, it is much much more difficult to accomplish the mission than you think. Please give credit to all of the men and women of DHS, my agency CBP, and all of the others for the work we tirelessly do day in and day out without appreciation of our fellow citizens. I work to protect you and your family so that you may never have to experience another 9/11 in all of your life and your children's children's lif.

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