DHS: Laptop Border Searches Are Bad... Except When We Do It

from the that-may-change-soon dept

The Department of Homeland Security has been actively (though with really weak arguments) defending its policy of searching laptops at the border, even without probable cause. Yet, at the very same time that it was staunchly defending the policy and refusing to testify in front of Congress over it, it was also issuing a report warning international travelers not to take laptops, since foreign governments often search them. You see, when foreign governments do it, it's evil espionage. But when we do it, it's for our own security:
"Foreign governments routinely target the computers and other electronic devices and media carried by U.S. corporate and government personnel traveling abroad to gather economic, military, and political information."
Either way, it looks like DHS's own freedom to search laptops without probable cause may soon get curtailed. The Senate has been making noise for a while about introducing a bill to reign in the laptop searches, and Rep. Loretta Sanchez introduced some legislation in the House last week that would establish clear rules, compared to the anything goes policy currently in existence. Kind of sad that we need special legislation to make it clear that the 4th Amendment should apply at the border, but such is life these days.

Filed Under: 4th amendment, border, laptop searches, privacy, probable cause


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  1. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, 18 Sep 2008 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Border Search Exception essential

    Vote for Dosquatch 2008 - He actually gets it, unlike the clowns you keep posting to Washington

    It's the blatant hypocrisy in the manner that the US applies it's 'values' to the rest of the world that has them disliking you at the moment

    Treating other nationals like actual people at your gateway would be a good start, then you could try stopping removing democratically elected leaders from foreign countries, finally you might want to stop torturing people who disagree

    All this might go some way to making your nation popular again (and popular nations get attacked less - it's true we had a survey and everything)

    A vast majority of Americans I've met are intelligent, decent people, how the hell did you end up with a choice between Obama and McCain?

    Anyhow - getting rid of the DHS would be a good first step

    Full disclosure: I'm British and I fully accept that my own government is a neocon lapdog at the moment - no i'm not chuffed about that either

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