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
    Paul Chang, 7 Aug 2008 @ 8:53am

    Totally agree on this one

    I totally agree with the post. While I'm taking a wait and see position, we have been inching closer and closer to a time when everything we see, read, and hear will be monitor.

    I also like to add the prevalence of tracking systems like cell towers and GPS on mobile devices make it easier for just about anyone to track us. I'm not just saying the government.

    I'll be keeping an eye on this myself. It'll be cool if Techdirt can keep bring this up once in a while and update us. I did some searches and while they're following the Hilton and McCain squabble, they're letting this one drop.

    I applaud the folks who are on the frontline protecting the United States. I think no one is questioning your dedication, sacrifice, and bravery so we can go on living with our lives.

    I just believe this is an issue like no other that has confront us in a while. As for reading data, we know the Patriot Act provides cover for telecom companies on calls. does it already extend to data as well?

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