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
    moe, 7 Aug 2008 @ 4:27am

    Re: Oh, man. There are still naive people out there

    Seems you may be the one that is naive, or maybe just uninformed.

    Someone's already covered why it's impossible. The preposterous part has to do with suggesting it was possible in the first place.

    To reiterate, any decent encryptioni algorithim/schema is impossible to crack. And to those suggesting a "back door" in -- there is no requirement to build in back doors for encryption. There will always be an option available to you if one or more of them become compromised in this way. Further, it's counter-productive to build a back door into the encryption used by the government -- if a back door exists, anyone can use it once it's found.

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