Bills Introduced To Protect Laptops At Border Searches

from the restoring-the-4th-amendment dept

As was widely expected following earlier statements from politicians such as Russ Feingold, legislation has now been introduced that would curb Homeland Security's ability to randomly search laptops at the border, instead, requiring them to have a "reasonable suspicion" of illegal activity before they can search or copy a hard drive. This would be a huge step forward in terms of reasonable levels of privacy at the border. While defenders of the random search program claim that it's necessary, they give little proof. You can tell because their arguments could equally be applied to searching a random person on the street as well, as they just give vague platitudes about protecting the country from harm. Yet our country has privacy rights and probable cause for a very good reason. It's nice to actually see some politicians standing up to make sure that Homeland Security live up to those ideals.

Filed Under: border, customs, homeland security, laptops, russ feingold, searches

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2008 @ 11:09am


    First the 4th amendment has been held by the Supreme Court not to apply to border crossing.
    And they were wrong in doing so.
    The 4th amendment applies to search and seizure when we are in the country and the border is not considered in the country as such.
    That depends upon who you ask.
    So nothing is added to the debate by preaching about searches of one's home.
    It seems that you would really like for people stop discussing this issue. Why's that? What's your stake in it?
    Second the standards of reasonable cause also don't apply to the border.
    You already said that. You're basically just repeating your first point in a misleading attempt to make it look like an additional point.
    You have tacitly "signed up for that" when you leave the country and cross the border coming back in.
    No, I didn't (as much as you and your apparent buddies would like to pretend otherwise).
    So let's not get preachy about this.
    Then quit preaching.
    There are plenty of reasons why our border patrols can search whatever they want when something comes into the country.
    Sorry, didn't fly for freedom lovers 200 years ago and still doesn't today. The founders of country knew that government agents would try to use them those kinds of arguments to destroy our liberty, hence the 4th amendment.
    That has been the state of constitutional law for decades--and no that is not a neocom invention.
    The law used to condone slavery too before it was finally changed. That still didn't make it right.

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
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

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