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
    Mark Regan, 28 Sep 2008 @ 3:36pm

    What do you think NSA has been doing for YEARS?

    With all due respect you need to stop worrying about the DHS. NSA has been conducting "warrantless" searches of all internet and other digital and radiotelephone traffic for many years.

    Do you actually think that when they come across unlawful domestic activity that they DO NOT notify the DEA or FBI or ATF?

    Have you noticed unmarked cars sitting alongside the Interstate Highway System? When they pull over a vehicle "randomly" and find a million dollars in cash, or an equivalent amount in drugs, do you think that is a coincidence? What a "lucky" day those Narcotics Interdiction Team officers are having?

    Or when a "confidential informant" snitches out a US fugitive hiding in another country and an special FBI team goes there and "snatches" him and returns back to the US on a jet that does not have to go through customs of any country, do you think the "informant" is really a human being?

    Wake up. Our Big Brother is already hard at work. That is why it is important for us to elect officials we can actually trust NOT to LIE to us.

    If they LIE about Iraq, and LIE about torture, and LIE about the health of our economy, and intercept our telephone and internet traffic, what makes you think they will not one day turn against US?

    Who do you think Big Brother works for, the little guy or the millionaires wanting to become billionaires? Do you think former CIA Director George H.W. Bush did NOT use CIA assets and resources to help him acquire information useful to him in building his fortune?

    Do you actually think that his son, our esteemed President, does NOT use intelligence gathered from the internet to ENRICH his friends?

    Why do you think there is a law prohibiting monitoring of cell phone conversations? To keep US from using information gathered thereby for commercial purposes. Well, do you think the Bush Buddies who have access to ALL telephone and internet and radio traffic do not already profit from use of that information? Remember, the Bush Billionaires are NOT bound by the same rules of law that bind us lowlife citizens.

    Encrypted communications are NO problem to the NSA's many supercomputers. They are NOT restricted (in practice) to looking only for threats to national security, but under THIS President, have used these supercomputers for political and commercial purposes.

    To believe otherwise is to deceive yourself. You probably would also contend that it has not been the policy of this administration to kidnap civilian non-combatants from their own country and hide them in a box in another country and give them NO trial or right to a lawyer, then to torture them.

    Why would such an administration give one whit about the confidentiality of YOUR internet communications? And if in the course of their decryption of YOUR personal communications with your friends overseas on national security grounds, they find out that you have a good idea/concept/product/etc. that can be patented/put to use against you or sold, that they would be too moral and law abiding to steal your idea from you?

    Oh, if you only knew the half of it. So you therefore would think that NSA and CIA clerks who have access to survey satellite information on the location of every undeveloped oil field, do NOT provide that information to their buddies in the oil industry?

    That is like saying that when the Interstate Highway System was being designed in the 1950s, that certain US Senators did NOT use their "inside" information and power to buy certain tracts of land that the highways were later routed through, and suddenly land they bought for $500 an acre was worth $60,000. How do you think some government employees got so filthy rich on fixed salaries?

    Oversight? Yeah, Buddy. That's why most of the members of our Intelligence Committee did not know about the Bush/Cheney invasion plans, and why most members of the Banking Committee found out about the need for a Trillion Dollars to bail out Bush's Buddies until it was too late.

    Intercept and Decrypt internet traffic? You must still be living in the 1950s if you think that is not done around the clock by the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NSA EMPLOYEES AROUND THE WORLD ALREADY.

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