Saturday, August 2, 2008

My computer, locked up

I know this is a serious subject, but my sense of the absurd kicked in when I got the Washington Post article Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border in an email. I had immediate visions of renditions, or trips to Gitmo.

Seriously then. We all know, or should, that privacy in the United States pretty much ends at our front door. As long as we stay in the Homeland (A grand Newspeak concept), we're still protected by conceits like probable cause.

All bets are off when we travel internationally. Your laptop, your cellphone, even your ipod with Ludacris rapping Politics as usual may be 'detained' for 'a reasonable period of time' by the Department of Homeland Security.

That's "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form" in addition to "all papers and other written documentation." Oh, and that can all be shared with other agencies and private entities. More from the Post:
"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.

"In April, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the government's power to conduct searches of an international traveler's laptop without suspicion of wrongdoing", the Post adds. If the Ninth Circuit signs off on it, no other court is going to oppose.

The policies are dated July 16, according to the Post, though they've been around for a lot longer.

For more information,see if you can get http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/travel/admissability/
search_authority.ctt/search_authority.pdf
to work. It's giving me problems when I try to load it.

5 comments:

bigsoxfan said...

We're on the same page here. Most of my favorites link to obscure military sites and I'm looking at a trip home after three years away. I'm sure to be on the list and I don't want to lose my stuff for even a week, let alone a reasonable period of time.

As I'm a middle-aged white dude, I'm all in favor of racial profiling, but look at where letting of our rights has got us.

Homeland Security as a title always struck me a jingoistic term, Come back Teddy R.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

I caught this today on fox. Hard to believe this is happening. It's wrong. I'm glad they ran the story.. the exposure was needed. Don't think that policy is going to continue for too long.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Just another link in the chain that binds. A traffic blocade without probable cause? Why sure no problem...it's for the kids sake. Confiscate your property without due process under the RICCO statutes? No problem, you have to give up some rights to get rid of those nasty pot smokers. Your papers as you travel? Soon to cross state lines? Next? See 1933.

Homeland Security may be wearing white shirts now but they are becoming browner.

Bruce A. Bateman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yobro said...

I suppose you don't see the humor in this: "your home is safe"...

as long as you don't type anything of interest, 'thought crime', and
bring it to the attention of authority. here in the states the tsa gestapo is recruiting garbage haulers to report suspicious behavior.

just reading this comment may make you a person of interest.

the 'pattern' of your associations makes you a person of interest. the 'pattern' of web page visits...

just living in the vicinity of a supply ship weights your personal factor set.