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


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    patriotson, 18 Sep 2008 @ 6:38am

    As long as we're talking about the Founding Fathers...

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

    Freedom is not, and never has been free,and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The USA as a nation long ago passed the point where we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We are in a fast moving downward spiral of individual rights, hastened to that end by fear mongering that some evil outsiders will come to our home and kill us if we do not surrender gladly our individual freedoms and rights. We will be protected by our great leaders and armies of federal agents that are tromping through our possessions for our own good. All we have to do is go to work, pay 35% of our income to the government, and keep our mouths shut, or just live off the government dole. Either way, we are losing our individual rights and freedoms faster than you can say "No warrant wiretap." This is just my humble opinion and I THINK I may still have the right to express it.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.