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Privacy United States Your Rights Online

DHS Allowed To Take Laptops Indefinitely 1123

andy1307 writes with a Washington Post story giving details of Department of Homeland Security policies for border searches of laptops and other electronic devices (as well as papers). (We have been discussing border searches for a while now.) DHS says such procedures have long been in place but were "disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter," according to the article. Here is a link to the policy (PDF, 5 pages). "Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption, or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement... DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including US citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism... The policies cover 'any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form,' including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover 'all papers and other written documentation,' including books, pamphlets and 'written materials commonly referred to as "pocket trash..."'"
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DHS Allowed To Take Laptops Indefinitely

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  • by infalliable (1239578) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:10AM (#24430891)
    Worst part is despite the searches and seizures, they accomplish very little. You inconvenience and step all over the rights of average, law-abiding citizens to give the impression of safety.
  • The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:11AM (#24430905) Homepage Journal

    What is even worse is that if you try to use encryption to maintain a level of privacy and security, that will just mean they'll keep it longer while they try to crack it.

  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:15AM (#24430939)

    Just because their little law says they can do it doesn't mean it doesn't run afoul of the Contitutional protections. Were this to be challenged, it would be killed pretty quickly: one cannot instigate such as this in the name of "terrorism" and not expect at least one challenge on "unreasonable search and seizure." You cannot fight global terrorism by turning the USA into a police-state. All that accomplishes is angering the populace....and you remember the last time Americans became angry with their government?...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:16AM (#24430947)

    Seriously, is this the kind of country we want to live in ?
    "Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing"
    Warrantless wiretapping, and this ? what's next ? the right for the government to install Video cameras inside of our homes to fight terrorism ?
    where does this ends ?

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:16AM (#24430953)

    Don't pity us. This is for coming into the country. Pity you foreigners who have to come here on business (I assume you're no longer interested in pleasure travel here)

  • by Swizec (978239) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:16AM (#24430959) Homepage
    Right America? RIGHT?!

    And you attack dictatorships to spread freedom ... *eyeroll*
  • by LoadWB (592248) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:17AM (#24430975) Journal

    Normally I would put together a verbose, and perhaps even eloquent, response to such information. But I can only think of two words.

    Bull shit.

    We are losing, people. We are losing our rights and there will be more to come. That our own personal property can be seized "to fight terrorism" on the terms presented is absolute, unadulterated, pure and uncut bull shit.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:19AM (#24431005)

    "Yeah, you'll get your stuff back in, uh, fourty years. Sorry, rules are rules. And only if it doesn't get lost or misplaced until then."

    And when are they going to start confiscating pacemakers and hearing aids ? Last I've heard, these things can also store information in digital form.

  • by CrazedWalrus (901897) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:19AM (#24431017) Journal

    You have to be *in* the US for your rights to be in effect. Once you're at border security, you're not in the US anymore, so your rights don't apply. At least that's the argument, however dubious.

  • by Jaysyn (203771) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#24431019) Homepage Journal

    Well, they've found a way to expand & mutate the "War on Drugs" mentality to cover everyone. Not so fun when it affects you, is it?

  • by Oh no, it's Dixie (1332795) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#24431023)
    I agree that this runs directly counter to the Constitution. Two problems with trying to assert your Constitutional rights through the courts, though: would you be able to find a court that wouldn't immediately dismiss it, and could you build a good enough case if all your evidence is stolen from you by the government?
  • Land of the Free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yeti.SSM (869826) <yeti.ssm@atlasCOBOL.cz minus language> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#24431029) Homepage
    "Welcome to the Land of the Free. We're now going to free you of your laptop, cellphone, ..."
  • by Erie Ed (1254426) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#24431031)
    I bet over 2/3 of americans either a. don't know that this is going on or b. don't care. Even if people actually gave a damn we tend to not take any action.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#24431043)

    and you remember the last time Americans became angry with their government?...

    They were beaten with clubs, battons and shot with riot rounds?

     

  • by Shinary (971947) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:21AM (#24431051)
    You know, as an American I can say that I would gladly give up my "right" to security for this crap to just go away. Let the people protect themselves from the invisible enemy and force the government to focus on problems that really matter. Like the country's growing illiteracy rate, or the growing rate of obesity, or hey... how about the economy going to shit. Oh I forgot, we need those fat and stupid people working for the DHS at airports and other "high security" areas. They need jobs too. Homeland Security was just another huge mistake by the Bush administration that I hope will be corrected at some point in the near future. I love my country and all, but if the United States keeps following down this road, I am gone.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:21AM (#24431057) Journal
    Well, you're being nice. The two words that popped into my mind were:

    FASCIST PIGFUCKERS.

    Run while you can. If you think Obama's gonna make it all better, you're nuts. The whole imperial mess is rolling into a death spiral. Run while you can.

    RS

  • by niiler (716140) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:23AM (#24431085) Journal
    One would think that this goes against unreasonable search and seizure. The problem is that if you object to it, you need to have your device seized to have standing to bring it to trial. Then you need beaucoup bucks in order to see it through. If you consider the motivations that led to the unreasonable search and seizure protections vis-a-vis one's home, it seems that some of them may have been to protect one's personal papers and property. This rule is a blatant end-run around such Constitutional protections in letter and spirit. Because almost everyone now carries a large part of their life with them via cell-phone, laptop, or PDA, I would argue that taking such items is akin to the sort of disruption (financially and otherwise) that people would experience from home invasion by authorities. In many ways this can be even worse.
  • by Loibisch (964797) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:23AM (#24431087)

    Instant access to Guantanamo v2 :D

  • by SirShmoopie (1333857) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:23AM (#24431091)

    This will pretty much kill conferences from organisations with members outside of the US, especially ones where proprietary information is carried around.

    Not to mention damage international business.
    Seriously, what on earth is going on ? Are these people divorced from reality?

  • by TomRK1089 (1270906) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:23AM (#24431093)
    What if your laptop contains trade secrets or the like? Wouldn't that constitute industrial espionage to decrypt said information? What if a DHS employee has a relative who competes in that field? I can only imagine the potential messes there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:24AM (#24431101)
    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "Searches have uncovered violent jihadist materials as well as images of child pornography."
    Ah, the magic words!

    I reckon you could even implement gun control in the US, if you reported that peados were using guns!

  • Anonymous Coward. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:25AM (#24431115)

    These policies are playing into the hand of terrorists, they want to disrupt your economy, and that's what DHS are doing.

    If America is so paranoid about this why don't they just close their borders to everyone.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:26AM (#24431135)
    What if your laptop contains trade secrets or the like?

    Too bad.

    Wouldn't that constitute industrial espionage to decrypt said information?

    It's only illegal if you're not the government.

    What if a DHS employee has a relative who competes in that field?

    Good for him !

    I can only imagine the potential messes there.

    You misspelled "opportunities".

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:27AM (#24431163)
    FTA: "When a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information, any copies of the data must be destroyed." If there is no probable cause in the first place, then how can they collect the information in the first place?
  • by rasmack (808487) <rasmus AT mackeprang DOT com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:28AM (#24431179)

    I cannot think of a single example where I would want to move sensitive data on a laptop. I may live in a sheltered world but in that world we live in the era of the Internet. If for some reason I wanted to transfer sensitive data across any border, I would think ssh would provide superior security.

    Actually I can in a few minutes push quite a lot of encrypted data to four different countries. If I were physically where I wanted the data it would be even easier.

    I guess this is just another example of reductions in privacy that solve no problems what so ever...

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:29AM (#24431197)

    Sounds like a good way for DHS officials to get laptops, iPods, etc real cheap.

    Step 1: Find someone with a laptop, iPod, etc that you'd like to have.
    Step 2: Take it in the name of National Security.
    Step 3: Item "gets lost" and you have a new gadget.

    This is especially useful during the holidays. DHS officials can shop on the job. "Hey Frank, didn't you say your kid wanted one of those new iPods? Well look at this guy walking up now."

    I wonder what, if any, protections are in place to keep this from being abused. (Any more than giving someone the power to confiscate any item of yours for little to no reason and keep it indefinitely is an abuse of power from the start.)

  • Back in Europe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:31AM (#24431211)

    Back in Europe when strikingly similar measures were in place we used to call the implementers ``fucking Nazis``, then ``fucking Communists`` and we would often risk our life to escape and be able to live at the land of freedom, in the USA.
    Then we thought the Nazis were gone and then the Communists lost too... But have they?
       

  • by andy1307 (656570) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:31AM (#24431215)

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.

    Isn't violent jihadists material more likely to be transmitted over the internets?

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by link-error (143838) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:31AM (#24431219)

        Strong encryption with internet storage is the only way to go now I'm afraid.

  • yes, except (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:32AM (#24431229) Journal

    The fact that this kind of rule may be unconstitutional means exactly nothing unless you can convince the judicial branch to rule it so, the executive branch to respect that ruling, and the legislative branch to bitchslap the executive if/when it refuses to behave.

    There's at least two items in the list that I won't be holding my breath for.

  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:33AM (#24431239) Journal

    You inconvenience and step all over the rights of average, law-abiding citizens to give the impression of safety.

    Well...Chaaa! What are you getting at? Look who's on the ballot. Listen what they talk about on the TV. Think anybody gives a damn? Okay, so play their silly game and don't take anything of value across the border. You think I wear my Rolex when I go to get some rock on 63rd and Halsted? Like the corrupt cop, get a throwaway.

  • by soast (690658) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:33AM (#24431255)
    The problem is the government has brainwashed the people. They want you to fear them by intimidating you with time in prison or financially. Most people think in the way 'if i goto prison i will lose my job and cant get another because i have a blemish on my record' that reason alone will stop 99% of the people for standing up to it. The other reason is who has the resources to fight it, rich people do but rich people have no worries.
  • by Splab (574204) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:41AM (#24431373)

    Actually this probably wont go over too well with the WTO, when they confiscate some company secret data and it later surfaces in some US company...

  • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:41AM (#24431375) Journal

    Worst part is despite the searches and seizures, they accomplish very little. You inconvenience and step all over the rights of average, law-abiding citizens to give the impression of safety.

    It's not for nothing. They are not stupid, there's a very good reason for this: power. Information is power, and if they know about your data (it doesn't matter if it's something legal or not), they have power over you.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:42AM (#24431379) Journal

    The constitution doesn't apply until you get past the customs officer. And even then only to US citizens.

    Do you have a citation for the Constitution not applying to non-Americans on American soil or are you just talking out of your ass?

  • Re:Toilet paper... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:42AM (#24431391)

    Then you end up with a lot of uniformed men busting down your door.
    In theory government authority comes from the people.
    In practice the authority comes from having a lot of big men with guns who do what they tell them.

  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@@@xmsnet...nl> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:43AM (#24431397)

    In the past, I haven't thought twice about taking electronics (laptop, mp3-player, palmtop) abroad. These regulations mean you basically can't count on crossing the border into the US with any of those, and would have to treat them as disposable. Instead of approaching Customs confident I've nothing to hide and won't be hassled beyond a cursory inspection, I'd have to have a backup plan for any data I want to use while in the US.

    One more reason not to travel to the US, I suppose.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:43AM (#24431409) Journal

    The privacy violations are ridiculous, but at least we know about them and can take steps to avoid them - businesses providing 'clean' laptops and accessing data remotely over an encrypted connection, for instance. I don't for a second condone them looking through our data, but the fact is it's happening and that means we have to do our best to negate the effects.

    The fact that they can basically steal your laptop, phone and any other nice electronics you happen to carry, on the other hand, could potentially be rather costly. I'm not even sure how likely an insurance company is to pay out for a claim of "it was confiscated and held indefinitely by the US government".

  • by Exanon (1277926) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:47AM (#24431449)
    A few other problems: I was going to go to this years DEFCON but because of the laptop checks and the registration requirement (notifying the government 3 weeks before coming to the country) I have canceled the trip. (No, I really don't have anything I am secretive about on my laptop).

    My story can be seen as a pitiful example. But I heard rumors from former colleagues at a company I used to work for that they have changed their security measures on corporate laptops when traveling to the US.
    It includes taking the laptop down to the IT department and having them make an image of the HDD, then it is replaced by a new one, the image is downloaded when on US soil. Probably through VPN or similar.

    The question that raises is the same that was raised in Sweden over the FRA-legislation: The possiblity of industrial espionage. So when both private and corporate trips might be canceled or postponed, doesn't that hurt the US economy?
  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:47AM (#24431451)

    Run while you can.

    In other words: Vote with your feet. While Europe and Canada certainly aren't free form this kind of bullshit, the USA proudly take the lead (and a pretty big one at that). If the conditions inside the USA are becoming unbearable, emigrate to a more friendly country. If enough of you do it you might form a noticable minority in your new country and get enough media attention to discourage local politicians from playing the control state card as well.

    If you consider leaving, now is a good time. Yes, the rest of the world is expensive because the Dollar is on its way to becoming toy money. That makes your leave an especially strong statement: "I'll start with much less money in my new country but I don't care as long as I get out of here."

    Just about the only thing that'd make most of the people consider something being amiss would be an emigration wave of people who are vocal about why they leave and who'd gladly choose a lower standard of living (if only temporary) over being subject to DHS and the like.

  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:48AM (#24431467) Homepage Journal

    Vietnam didn't. I travelled there several times with my laptop and never had any issues.

    Can somebody give me a good reason why I should not continue my personal boycott against travel to the US?

    I would have to leave all my gadgetry behind at home. Absolutely appalling. It is not the fact that a seizure can happen, but that nonchalantly the authorities have the power to keep your stuff for as long as they please. Nice way to nick an iPod.

    I used to go to old U.S. of A. once a year, spending a reasonable amount of money each time (hotel, plain tickets, etc.) and a few times I took stop overs in the US in my way home when visiting my family, for which uncle Sam surely derived some money as well.

    I know nobody cares, but more and more people are *actively* avoiding the US when travelling.

    I went to Canada instead earlier this year, and the difference could have not been starker: I was granted a visa on arrival (I am Mexican, no bloody way that would ever happen in the US, even if I was coming from Europe, as I normally do), the people are friendly and although are losing soldiers to the Taliban more than what would be reasonable to expect, they are not idiotically paranoid.

    USians: when are you going to recover the essence of the goodness that your country promised when it was founded?

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:50AM (#24431487)

    Which is fine until you you get someone inspecting your bags who's in a bad mood and you look a little like the guy his wife just ran off with. then he gets to fuck you up badly without breaking the law in any way.

    If you want an idea of what authority does to people read "The Lucifer Effect"
    All they did was give one group the title "guards" and the other "prisioners" and within days they were animals. They didn't give any actual authority only titles.

    now the question is, what would have happened if they'd called one group "guards" and the other group "citizens/suspects"

  • by Firehed (942385) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:50AM (#24431493) Homepage

    That "Fire!" example comes up all the freaking time. Has it ever been tested? At least pre-9/11, I think the worst that would get you is a punch in the face for being a douche bag.

    Though by all means, feel free to correct me.

    Having said that, the first amendment was created to ensure that US citizens could question and challenge the government, not to ruin movies.

  • "Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption, or other reasons"

    Thats the wording that got me. This means the US can take any foreign businessmans computer and turn its contents over to his most fierce competitor without mentioning it and without any wrongdoing being done by the business he represents.

    Is it just me or doesnt this kind of makes it pretty risky to do business in the US? Any information the US intelligence gets their hand on can be used in business related areas, now without even a suspicion of any wrongdoings but just because they can.

    This sure wont help the US economy thats for sure. If its one thing that can tank an economy its holding stale/inefficient/non innovative business up by artificial means until the bubble bursts.

  • by JavaBear (9872) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:54AM (#24431543)

    Somehow this doesn't make me feel any safer, quite the opposite actually.

    I don't know who I fear the most, Al-Queda, or the US government, It's pretty much a toss-up at the moment, and I'm not so sure that the needle won't end on the latter.

  • by AusIV (950840) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:56AM (#24431575)
    I've wondered about doctors and lawyers, who have federal laws that prohibit them from disclosing data about their clients. It appears that as soon as they try to cross the border with a laptop containing this information, the government only gives them the option of which law to break.

    When the government puts people in a position where there is no way to avoid breaking the law, we have a serious problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:56AM (#24431585)

    I know there are already companies which forbid employees to travel with their laptop to the U.S.

    Meetings? They'll hold them in Europe instead.

    Great way to hurt the economy even further!

    I'm now recommend to my company not to travel to the U.S. anymore. Sorry guys n gals, but it ain't worth it. You're welcome on our side though!

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:58AM (#24431627) Journal

    I don't know who I fear the most, Al-Queda, or the US government

    That's easy. Al-Queda can't take away your freedom. All they can take away is your life. The US Government can do both.....

  • by korbin_dallas (783372) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:59AM (#24431655) Journal

    "You cannot fight global terrorism by turning the USA into a police-state."
    No actually you hand the terrorists a "WIN" on a silver platter...terrorist goal accomplished.

    "All that accomplishes is angering the populace....and you remember the last time Americans became angry with their government?..."

    Not sure, I don't remember anyone getting angry but me. The Civil War, the War of Independance?
    Anyway, its far too gone for a revolution, the majority are sucking at the federal teat...theres no way they are going to anger that sow. Actually, the poor are going to be forced to attack the middle class just to eat and get gasoline.

  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:01AM (#24431685)
    Yup. The terrorists have already won. It's not yet clear to which extent, but they certainly did have their way with the USA. The economy is badly damaged and will not recover as fast as before as people are becoming wary of doing business with American companies, especially when that involves sending reps over. Tourism has probably taken a hit as well; I certainly don't want to be treated like a criminal when vacationing. Much of the rest of the world agrees that the USA have become a bunch of paranoid dickheads and America's own intellectual elite is wondering whether the government is still legitimate.

    Let's face it, three and a half airplanes were enough to kick the USA from "#1 Superpower and Most Important Country in the World" to "uncomfortably well-armed paranoid hegemony in decline". The terrorists have won and it's unsettling to see how much indirect damage they've done so far.
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:04AM (#24431729)
    Last time I checked, we have a Democrat-controlled Senate and Congress. Surely Reid and Pelosi wouldn't let such a thing happen on their watch . . .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:06AM (#24431779)

    It's been said on /. a million times before: that argument is fallacious.

    The United States Constitution isn't a charter of what rights the populace can and can't have, it's a set of rules for what the United States Government can and can't do. Questions of jurisdiction, territory or creed are inapplicable.

    If the government directly, or by proxy, cause anything contrary to those rules to come into effect, then they are in violation of the constitution.

  • by SpiderClan (1195655) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:06AM (#24431783) Journal

    Taking everyone's laptop is the common good? I suppose if it keeps the bastards from downloading music.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The place to be searched: All airports and borders

    The persons: Everybody!

    The things to be seized: Everything!

    Probable cause: They have stuff. I want it.

    See? No violations at all. They have a warrant.

  • by rcastro0 (241450) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:08AM (#24431821) Homepage

    Because there are 10,000 ways of sending confidential, encrypted data across national borders using little known tools such as... the internet!

    Not to mention thumb-drives that are becoming pinky-drives.
    Not to mention relatively strong and free data encryption.

    My greatest gripe with this kind of decision, though, is not its inefficiency -- but rather, the precedent it opens. Coincidentally, my homepage yesterday had the following "thought of the day":

    "The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
      - HL Mencken

    Think about that.

  • by nettamere (672641) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:09AM (#24431835)
    Unfortunately, there is a direct correlation between the sentiment that the Government should take care of everything and trying to find where to draw the line. Most Americans are in favor of safety and security if it only impedes "the other guy". Most are willing to give up their rights because they feel that the chance of it impacting them is very low- so why not error on the side of caution and just give in?

    I still contend that this is a simple case of an inch equaling a mile. Now they can take your electronics/personal effects and keep them as long as they want. The next reasonable step is to search your house and take your computers from your mother's basement to investigate as long as they want. After all, what is really the difference here?

    Oh- it's only for those people coming into the country! How long do you think it will be before they expand it to include anyone regardless of their activity? Doesn't it make (government) sense that if people flying into the country are possibly transporting harmful data- people in the general population are as well?

    We step closer to 1984 inch by inch- mile by mile.

    They could require everyone to submit all backups of all data to a government clearinghouse in the name of "national security" and you would be surprised at how many people would willingly support it- because people will do anything in the name of safety.

    I doubt that it makes us safer- but it does make us more like sheep.

  • unconstitutional! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lophophore (4087) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:14AM (#24431919) Homepage

    Hmmm.

    This little tidbit seems to explicitly prohibit this:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

    Of course, the current administration seems to like to use the Constitution for toilet paper, anyway.

    But I would expect a challenge to this ruling on the basis that it violates the spirit and the letter of the 4th amendment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:21AM (#24432049)

    Well, in the long run Al-Qaida wants to install the sharia [wikipedia.org], which would take away a lot of freedom

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:22AM (#24432061)

    when you can't give REAL safety, you give a fake form of it.

    we have been calling this 'security theater'.

    the government FULLY KNOWS THIS. their immoral fuckwads but they aren't idiots.

    everyone up and down the food chain with anything over 100 as an iq knows that its 'all for show'. ALL OF IT.

    empty gestures impress little old ladies. little old ladies vote. the system self-continues.

    QED

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:27AM (#24432139) Journal

    Well, in the long run Al-Qaida wants to install the sharia [wikipedia.org], which would take away a lot of freedom

    When Al-Qaida has the wherewithal to invade and conquer the United States I'll start to worry about their long term plans. We aren't talking about a powerful nation-state here. We are talking about a bunch of bandits living in caves. I'm not real worried about them pouring across the border and conquering our country.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:28AM (#24432149)

    And the Homeland Security officer says, "Who cares about your keys? Look at the neat notebook computer I just got!"

  • by johannesg (664142) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:28AM (#24432159)

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.

    But that's excellent news! The most dangerous contraband in your country is not drugs, firearms, poisons, nuclear materials, deadly diseases, or anything of the kind - it is just words!

    If you think about it, that happens to be absolutely true. The most dangerous thing out there today is "ideas". If you are an out of control fascist government, that is...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:32AM (#24432211)

    Not privacy, but the permanent seizure of private property that's the biggest issue here. US government has the right to inspect your property coming into the country, but they don't have the right to seize it unless there is evidence of some violation of the law. Seizing your private property without due process is a constitutional violation.

    Fuckin' authoritarian apologists, why don't you emigrate to Saudi Arabia, North Korea, or some other shithole totalitarian country if you wanna be a subjugated twit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:33AM (#24432229)

    This is NOTHING new.

    When did property theft become a part of it?

  • Inspect yes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:35AM (#24432251) Journal

    This isn't about inspection. If some DHS guy wants to give my laptop the once-over, well enough. If he wants to take away for an "indefinite" time, hell no!

  • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:36AM (#24432297) Homepage
    I'll be crossing it one last time -- and I won't be coming back. America has fucked itself, and I'm going to make like Atlas and shrug.
  • by a_resnikoff (875468) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:37AM (#24432301)
    Only a miniscle percentage of US Citizens even have passports. That vocal minority won't be enough to effect changes in DHS policy.
  • by RodgerDodger (575834) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:41AM (#24432399)

    This isn't search, it's seizure; the right to search doesn't allow the border guards to take your property away from you to conduct the search.

  • by Simon (S2) (600188) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:44AM (#24432439) Homepage

    America is more and more becoming like China. I hope I am wrong, but since September 11 all the news I read is pointing towards it.
    My 2c. Good luck Americans.

  • by Rastl (955935) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:50AM (#24432539) Journal

    If they're allowed to take valuable and necessary equipment for no particular reason can we invoice the US Government for a daily fee to cover the cost of rental replacement of the equipment in question?

    "Oh, you want to take that notebook? Well it's going to cost you $150 per day. Sign this invoice and I'll turn it over."

    Yeah, that's going to happen.

    And how much of this stuff is going to get 'lost' while in government custody? Will there be weekly reports on the status and exact location so that the true owner can track and potentially retrieve their investment once the government is done ham-fistedly pounding the keys?

    Send letters to your Congresscritters!

    And speaking of Congresscritters, does this apply to them as well? Will they have the prospect of having their personal equipment confiscated and searched? If not, then neither should we.

  • Re:Toilet paper... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jrister (922621) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:50AM (#24432549)

    The US Civil war was about a lot of things. One of the things it was about was whether or not an independent society within the USA has the right to peaceably secede. Good luck with your plan.

    Its not any "plan". It's just an observation/musing. Anarchy isn't the way to go, but certainly the course we're on isn't either.

    There are ways to fix things without rash actions like secession and violence. Unfortunately, it takes an informed and intelligent populace (that we lack, IMO) to speak together with one voice, that it wont accept government actions that violate it's basic freedoms. Problem is we have a populace that will agree with anything as long as you include the words "protect" and "children" or "terrorism". They could care less about the how or why, as long as they feel they can continue to watch Survivor and make fools of themselves on MySpace , they think its all copacetic.

    If we want change, we have to make a real effort to educate the people around us, open their eyes to the truth of whats happening. Maybe find a way to put things into perspective for them (may involve starting MySpace/Facebook groups, or the like). Until the bulk of our population gives a damn, it won't improve.

  • by mubes (115026) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:52AM (#24432591) Homepage

    I find all of this very frustrating. Not because I have anything in particular to protect (indeed, I can think of very little that is that important that I would object to a reasonable law enforcement official taking a look at it), but because of whats happened to us in just under seven years.

    The agenda of the terrorist is -not- particularly to kill people, it's to get their agenda into the front of your mind and to encourage you to bend to their point of view in order to stop the pain. Now, it so happens that killing people does that quite well, but just how many times in the past seven years were -you- affected directly by a terrorist, and how many times were you affected by the window-shopping measures put in place to "protect us from terrorism"? Every time we lose another liberty, the terrorists get another point....not to mention the number of very dubious practices that we accept now in our day to day lives because they allegedly make us safer.

    I'm tired of this. Security and protection of the populace is done in back rooms with a low profile, not by folks with machine guns stomping around in airports for PR purposes while punters shuffle, barefoot and half naked, through some electronic gizmo that is then monitored by a human being with a statistically proven error rate in the order of 5% while wondering if they're going to be allowed to keep their own property when they get to the other end.

    I feel a dammed sight safer flying through a European aiport than any US one, that's for sure although europeans are starting to succumb to the 'visible security' mantra now....I saw a great case of this yesterday - one lane in three through security at the airport had an electronic explosives sniffer, the other two had conventional scanners....trouble is, you get to chose which queue you join!!!

    We seem to have lost the understanding that you don't have to knacker peoples rights to have a good level of protection. We need to stop helping people with abhorrent agendas keeping them in the front of our minds, and the best way to do that is to stop eroding hard earned freedoms in the name of terrorism protection.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FictionPimp (712802) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:53AM (#24432607) Homepage

    To them I am sure it is reasonable to keep it until they have access to your data. So if you encrypt it, and do not give the key, they are probably going to hold you in jail until you do, and if not then they are going to hold the notebook until they can crack it (aka, you never get it back)

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:56AM (#24432655) Homepage

    From their perspective, all searches are reasonable. WE'RE AT WAR AGAINST A TACTIC, you know.

  • by kalirion (728907) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:00AM (#24432721)

    That's easy. Al-Queda can't take away your freedom.

    Tell that to those they've kidnapped.

    But I agree, the chances of terrorism negatively impacting your life are infinitesimal compared to the chances of the government doing the same.

  • by xalorous (883991) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:03AM (#24432781) Journal

    You can transfer any amount of data you want, over the 'net. The only "terrorists" this is going to catch are very stupid ones. The rest of the people caught by this will be the 'child porn' loving business guy, and the teenager rebelling by studying the Koran. Primarily what you will see will be profiling.

    Bottom line, this is search and seizure with no probable cause.

    Customs Deputy Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern said the efforts "do not infringe on Americans' privacy."

    Bullshit

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.

    Uh Huh.

    I propose a test. We can start in Europe. Give me a terabyte of data. I will carry no electronics on the flight into the states. Within days back in the U.S. I will produce the terabyte of data.

    My point is that with the ability to transfer data over the 'net, trying to prevent 'sneakernet' type information transfers, while worthwhile, are not worth trashing all the laws and standards for search and seizure.

    If my electronic device functions as it should, you have no probable cause to be looking at what I have inside. This worries me very much.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PReDiToR (687141) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:04AM (#24432821) Homepage Journal
    I like your tone, does that get you a long way in life?
    Come over here sir, we just need to check your bags.

    No, I was relating my own experiences with the TSA as a /. reader who was fully aware of how shitty the experience could be.
    I'm saying that being helpful and smiling and not criticising the process *while you're in it* can get you through it a lot faster, and with less pain. Your tone would suggest that you're one of these people that have a permanent look of disdain on their face over the whole thing, rather than a "How can I help, officer?" look that will have them happy to wave you through because you're not making their lives hard.
  • by fredrated (639554) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:06AM (#24432859) Journal

    "the UK, where a judge has upheld the notion that a Muslim family dispute ought to be covered by Sharia"

    You say it right there in your post, it was the UK judge that granted this, it was not taken by force by the Muslims. This is exactly what the poster is saying, al Qaida did not seize this, it was given up by us.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:08AM (#24432889) Journal

    I'm not saying that TSA shouldn't have these powers, but even when you tell them that you're carrying spent pistol/rifle casings, they don't always give you a hard time.

    Ummm... when I remove those first two negatives, your statement reads "I'm [removed] saying that TSA should [removed] have these powers".

    I would imagine that they are like any other police officer: Give them a hard time and they will make your life hard, because they can. Treat them like they are doing a necessary job and help them if at all possible and they will appreciate your "cooperation" and not waste your time and theirs.

    YMMV.

    Your commentary basically boils down to 'keep your head down and cooperate, then hope things go well'.

    And honestly, that's retarded. I understand that, as an alien, you don't want to make waves, but as I citizen, I firmly believe that the way they're going about things is complete and utter bullshit. We can argue about whether the measures the TSA is taking are good or bad, but IMO, there's really no discussion that the way they're going about it is completely unreasonable.

    Given these powers exist, and as an alien travelling through the TSA "interested" lane, I can say that they don't always use them.

    Would you really be writing such a nice post if the GSR had caused you to get pulled into a side room to cool your heels for several hours while they run your name through [computer system] and then question you while your connecting flight takes off? What if they had turned you around and put you back on the next flight to wherever you came from?

    Those powers exist, and as an alien traveling through the TSA "interested" lane, I can say that they sometimes use them on people like you.

    Try watching 30 Days Season 1 Episode 3 (S01E03) [wikipedia.org]. His trip through the airport is +1 Interesting.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:1, Insightful)

    by GNT (319794) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:10AM (#24432941)

    But THEY aren't doing a necessary job. What's worse it's not about finding terrorists but controlling US. They are jack-boot thugs and jack-boot thugs in training with the stench of the death camp about them. The fact that people don't understand this is utterly amazing to me. Agreeing with them as opposed to properly ostracizing them and I dare say, when we should be one step away from shooting them, is utterly selling the future security of US citizens from their own criminal government. The transaction costs associated with this security theatre (as in joke security) go into the tens of billions of dollars for having found a handful of terrorists to date of any significance.

  • by cliffski (65094) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:11AM (#24432957) Homepage

    No it accomplishes a lot. It decimates USAs international tourism. Nobody I know has flown to holiday in the USA since 9/11. Your security bullshit makes the trip unenjoyable.
    Meanwhile Canadian hotel companies are doing well.

  • by kaaona (252061) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:16AM (#24433067)

    The last time I checked it was the PEOPLE who were sovereign, not the Gestapo.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:17AM (#24433089) Journal

    Have you not heard about the UK, where a judge has upheld the notion that a Muslim family dispute ought to be covered by Sharia, in addition to the normal UK legal system?

    How is that any different from the Jewish Beth din courts that have operated in New York City (and other parts of the US?) for decades and done much the same thing? I really don't see a problem with this as long as these "courts" don't have the rule of law and as long as nobody can be compelled against their will to resolve a dispute in them.

    Whether they do it by force or by subterfuge, "invading" is their goal, and they're already doing it

    You sound like someone warning of the yellow peril in the early 20th century. Somehow I doubt that most Muslims have the goal of "invading" the Western World. Europe has their own problems with Muslim immigration that they will need to contend with but I seriously question the notion that it's anything more sinister than people looking for work.

    See also the publicly funded Muslim-based elementary schools in Detroit

    Citation? I don't have an issue with Muslim-based schools (how many Catholic-based schools exist in this country?) but I would take issue with public funds going to them.

    Or how about the special exceptions made at an American university for school-funded foot baths for the Muslim facility?

    How is that any different from an employer that gives Jewish employees a day off for Yum Kippur or arranges for alternative meals for Hindu staff when the cafeteria is serving beef?

    I'm sorry but I just don't buy this alarmist argument. We've heard the exact same things said about every single culture that has ever immigrated into this country -- even "white" ones like the Irish or Polish. Somehow none of them have ever managed to subvert the United States. I'm not real worried about the Muslims doing so either. To listen to your post one would think that there is some sort of master plan that all Muslims are aware of to sneak into the West and subvert us from the inside out.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:19AM (#24433133)

    Who decides what is "reasonable"? The equipment is returned when the investigation is "complete", but I saw nothing in the article saying how long they could take over that investigation. And if you try to sue for return of your property, what could you offer as evidence that the time they are taking is unreasonable, if they claim that more time is still needed (particularly as there's no requirement even of suspicion)?

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:20AM (#24433139) Journal
    You shouldn't even have to resort to countermeasures in the first place. It is like saying "I guess I'll wear a face fask to protect myself from being sucker punched by the TSA." You're accepting an unacceptable situtation. The only acceptable response to this policy (aka abuse) is to ban it legally and remove its supporters from the government. Unreasonable search and seizure shouldn't even be allowed now anyway [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bjorniac (836863) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:21AM (#24433169)

    No one is found innocent. They are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The only findings are guilty and not guilty. Sure, it may sound like semantics but it's pretty important as a distinction - you don't have to prove your innocence.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpicyLemon (803639) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:24AM (#24433257)

    Amendment IV -
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    We all know, though, that the government has a very strange way of interpreting the constitution sometimes. They'll use some argument along the lines of, "Well, since we're not getting a warrent, the 4th amendment doesn't apply."

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teilo (91279) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:30AM (#24433375) Homepage

    I agree that that sucks, but, dude, that keyboard does look like a bomb. I mean, home-made - stretchy looking material with embedded electrical contacts - battery - circuit board - no case or shell. I have a feeling you would have had the same problem before there was a TSA.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kencurry (471519) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:33AM (#24433427)

    problems with your logic:

    1. Don't you think your avg. terr'st would have some training, and fein co-operation vs. act like a pissed off asshole? And don't you think DHS knows this and would then disregard the attitude of the person in question?

    2. You miss the larger picture, which is that we taxpayers in the US (facing an '08 deficit of 500 billion USD) are not simply annoyed at the process, we are annoyed that our tax dollars pay for such poorly thought out and even more poorly executed acts of our federal government.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PReDiToR (687141) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:35AM (#24433477) Homepage Journal
    I agree with your assessment of my post.

    I was fully expecting to be pulled into a side room to cool my heels. I asked my travel desk to check with TSA that I was OK to fly with the materials I had on me for just that reason. I kept receipts for the shooting sessions to prove that on two occasions I had been in a room full of people using explosives. I didn't put the clothes that I was wearing, nor the casings into my luggage until after I had a reasonable expectation of passing security.

    My experience with officialdom (police, security, borders, etc) is exactly as you describe. Keep your head down, be less of a perceived threat than the next guy and hope for the best. If you don't do that you might as well not put yourself in their hands to start with and avoid all border crossings.

    I agree also that this procedure is unreasonable. The detention of people who refuse to hand over encryption keys, the retention of electronics, the whole Visa programme that takes weeks to complete and can significantly delay your vacation/trip. As another two posters (at least) have said, how is anyone supposed to look forward to travelling to the US for either business or pleasure with these measures hanging over them?
    As a fairly well informed traveller I took precautions against loss, but what of those people who are blind to these perils? I had on my person the flight details, passport images, dates and times of stays, the wedding booking and arrangements of all 5 people that were travelling to the US for the same reason I was. I bent over so far that most of it was totally unnecessary. But I was prepared for the worst. If I had turned up with this laptop, rather than the other one, I would have links in the history to posts like this which would have made my life very hard. The word "PReDiToR" did not accompany me to the US. I left my political leanings and opinions outside the airports so they didn't cause me trouble in there.

    Once you waive your rights by entering the secured area, you cannot behave the same way as you would if you were holding a placard outside the airport terminal.

    Had I the time, patience, good credit history, clean social and criminal history, anal leeway and balls I could have made a scene and asked WTF they thought they were doing molesting me, but what would be the point?
    Hours of doing their jobs, to me personally, wouldn't take away their right (under law) to do it. It wouldn't hit the news, it wouldn't raise public awareness, it wouldn't make it all go away because I was standing up to them, it wouldn't have made them think twice about what they were doing, either to their citizens or their economy.

    Basically, yeah. Bend over and take it, you agreed to it by entering their secured area. Retarded or not, the secured area isn't the place to make that stand.
  • by Roskolnikov (68772) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:36AM (#24433509)

    Laptops and drives still fit in diplomatic pouches and are not subject to steerage class searches, I've come to the conclusion that all of my data should be network accessible and my laptop is very nearly a 'fresh' build when travelling; my employers rules are very specific, I am not to share/reveal/disclose, I am responsible for keeping the drive encrypted and I am subject to termination if I reveal the decryption mechanism/keys to unauthorized individuals. Strangely enough these rules are all at the insistance of the same government now doing these searches..... Papers please indeed.

    Also very odd, if I place the data on a drive and ship it in advance both ways its subject to customs but not DHS; customs can play the same tricks (somewhat) but you are more likely not to encounter some 4.25 an hour disgruntled lets have some fun with the guy with the laptop by taking his precious away if you ship your gear separately.

  • by IDtheTarget (1055608) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:37AM (#24433527)
    I've been in the military for 21 years now, partly because I love our Constitution and believe that somebody has to be willing to sacrifice for its defense. I've also been a Republican for my adult voting life. However, it's events like this that make me question both situations. The Right will let me keep my firearms, but will steal my computer. The Left will let me keep my computer, but will steal my firearms. What is a reasonable person to do these days????
  • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:44AM (#24433647) Homepage Journal

    I'm not saying that TSA shouldn't have these powers, but even when you tell them that you're carrying spent pistol/rifle casings, they don't always give you a hard time.

    I haven't even been given a hard time the various times I've flown with firearms and LIVE ammunition.

    Some suggestions:
    1. Don't fly to/from some of the more gun-phobic areas. NYC, Chicago, and Washington DC are the biggest ones I've heard. I've even flown into NY with a rifle no problem(went hunting with my dad and grandfather). Note: this was outside NYC, during hunting season, with a scoped lever-action 30-30.
    2. Ammunition should be in origional packaging. The actual rule is more or less that ammunition shall not be loose or loaded into a magazine. Still, I've heard of problems with the aftermarket plastic ones reloaders are fond of. Reloaders - I'm sure you have some commercial boxes around. Stuff your custom rounds in there.
    3. Case must be hardsided, and in a departure from normal TSA rules, must be LOCKABLE. NOTE: TSA doesn't make a deal out of this, but TSA locks are actually illegal/violate policy. The law predates 9/11 and the TSA, and the OWNER is the only one supposed to know the combo or possess a key to the case. TSA locks have the overide - so it'd violate the policy.
    4. Shouldn't have to mention this, but the gun must be unloaded. I normally either pull the bolt/remove the slide. Or have the slide pulled back with the chamber up. Ammunition should be in a different bag.
    5. On check in declare to the agent 'I need to declare a firearm'. I personally want to get the declare out first so they don't think I'm threatening them or anything. There's a form you sign and stuff in the case that says the firearm is unloaded. Then you take it to the TSAs, they should recognize a gun case and inspect it right there, then you lock it up, and it goes on.

    I have flown with:
    CZ75BD - 9mm semiautomatic handgun, multiple times.
    Marlin .30-30 - lever action rifle
    Remington 7mm - bolt action rifle
    M1 Garand - WWII Battle rifle, semi-automatic internal magazine
    Colt M16A2 - assault rifle, with 'da switch'. Government owned.

    Given these powers exist, and as an alien travelling through the TSA "interested" lane, I can say that they don't always use them. I would imagine that they are like any other police officer: Give them a hard time and they will make your life hard, because they can. Treat them like they are doing a necessary job and help them if at all possible and they will appreciate your "cooperation" and not waste your time and theirs.

    I call this the 'good neighbor policy'. You don't be a dick unnessesarily and you'll find life much smoother. Applies with pretty much anybody, not just TSA and police.

    I frequently fly with a full size laptop, portable HD, and memory stick. Never been hassled beyond the standard 'put computer in bin, take shoes off, put in bin, run everything through the machine'. Been in the blow machine a few times. Have been surprised that I didn't set it off(very active shooter).

    I still think that the TSA needs to be dialed back a few notches - I might consider flying a bit more often then. As is, I'll only fly for emergencies(like my grandmother dying), or work.

  • by DaveyJJ (1198633) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:58AM (#24433897) Homepage
    Don't you find it a tad hypocritical to be chastising a judge for allowing Islamic tenets to be used to settle disputes, and yet your sig quotes another mythology/religious text which is just as silly? I do. If you claim Islam and/or all of the other 4,200 recognized religions in the world is not a valid process of thinking, please make sure to add yours to the pile to. But then again ... Rational arguments don't tend to have an impact on religious people. If they did, there wouldn't be any religious people, would there?
  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geobeck (924637) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:04AM (#24433997) Homepage

    ...you don't have to prove your innocence.

    You must be new to Amerika.

  • by easyTree (1042254) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:09AM (#24434083)

    Looks to me like the 'terrorists' (if they actually exist) have acheived their goal.

    The quality of life of every American (and now anyone even visiting your stupid country or living in a country whose government is capable of being worried by the USA's overreactions) has been changed beyond recognition. Good effort.

  • Re:Bull (Score:2, Insightful)

    by easyTree (1042254) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:13AM (#24434149)

    That's the way this shit always works. Look at the measures taken to deter PC-game piracy. Only people who've purchased the game are troubled by the need to keep inserting the disc to play. Those who download it for free have had this featurette removed for them. Looks like blatant encouragement to break the rules to me..

  • Simple Answer... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LVSlushdat (854194) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:16AM (#24434221)

    Since it appears we now live in a police state, don't take any laptops across any border.. Now when they start doing this elsewhere, then they can pry my laptop from my cold dead fingers...

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:25AM (#24434357) Journal

    And they'll take a fucking parsec. There's long been an understanding that searches (without warrant or probable cause) at the border are legitimate and do not violate the Fourth Amendment. However, I don't think any court has ruled that the border search power is unlimited, and certainly doesn't extend to indefinite seizure of anything which might hold information.

    Of course, DHS isn't totally dumb. They are going to be very careful to use this only on people who are unable to put up a fight (which probably includes you and me), allowing them to maintain their policy without court issues. The courts will likely help by denying standing for various excuses.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:32AM (#24434481)

    There's really very little reason to fear Al-Qaeda at all. You're more likely to die crossing the street, or taking a shower. Maybe that burger you ate last night will be the one to push your cholesterol over the edge. To any rational person, terrorism in the US is simply not on the radar.

    I highly agree. Al-Qaeda has killed about 3,000 people on US soil in the past 10 years. That's an average of 300 people a year. Doing some Google research, I found that 300 people a year nationwide die of flight-related blood clots. ( http://www.aviation-health.com/news/browse.php?action=shownews&category=&id=23&topicid=258 [aviation-health.com] ) So you have an equal chance of being killed by a terrorist or by sitting too much on a plane. Yet we don't see a "War on Airplane Blood Clots" complete with mandatory cholesterol screening at airports and confiscation of cheeseburgers by airport security.

    Car accidents kill over 42,800 people a year. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_accident#Trends_in_collision_statistics [wikipedia.org] ) That's more than one 9-11 per month every year. Do we have a "War on Car Accidents" complete with mandatory breathalyzer testing required every time anyone starts their car and the ability to confiscate a person's car if an officer thinks that the person is being even the slightest bit reckless? Of course not!

    Right after 9-11 happened, we had a good reason to be fearful of terrorists above anything else. We were attacked and didn't know the whole story. We didn't know if there would be more attacks and if so who would be next. The only reason people are fearful of terrorists today is because the government has found it to be a useful tool to expand their powers. If the government wants to do something that it knows people will object to, it just cries "Terrorism!" (or "Child Porn!") and it finds the path to additional power smoothed out. Sure, there are still people who oppose them, but it's a lot easier to attack them ("Why do you love the terrorists/child pornographers?") and distract everyone from the real issue of ever expanding government powers and ever shrinking citizen's rights.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pleappleappleap (1182301) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:34AM (#24434495) Homepage

    Then all a terrorist would have to do is to make life easier for the screeners. This is garbage. All of it.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moxley (895517) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:45AM (#24434673)

    SO wait...Now we have to "be found innocent?"

    Isn't that the opposite of how things are supposed to work in this country?

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:53AM (#24434831) Journal

    You'll be thrown in jail as soon as they see encrypted files

    Do you have an example of anyone who has ever been "thrown into jail" in the United States merely for having possession of encrypted files or are you just fear-mongering?

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SiChemist (575005) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:56AM (#24434875) Homepage

    You'd better not update mplayer, then! :-)

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:58AM (#24434917)
    Y'know, this might be an interesting idea... Imagine if the passphrase to your key was the contents of a large binary on your system.

    Well, now you've published that idea, it would take them a couple of minutes at most to check all the binaries on any machine. Why not just use your wife's name + her birthday? They'd NEVER think of that.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:58AM (#24434923)

    Or, you know, they could just blow up an airport security checkpoint and kill a bunch of people that way. TSA has made it super easy for the bad guys.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by backslash_forward (1227622) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:04PM (#24435031)

    If your goal is to generate a lawsuit, like Mr. Hellar, then go ahead and be an ass - just be aware that you're going to suffer pain for your goal.

    And that is how they win -- if they haven't already. What is it, specifically, about standing up for ones rights that makes him/her an ass? Perception is a very powerful tool. If people perceive tyranny the norm then it makes the tyrants jobs a whole lot easier.

  • Ron Paul? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:06PM (#24435085) Homepage Journal

    Is it embarrassing enough to make Ron Paul look good yet?

  • by twasserman (878174) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:11PM (#24435179)
    "I'm not the one you're looking for." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Privacy and freedom: get over it. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights: bad prognosis, but trying to survive in hiding until January 20, 2009.

    If you want to understand how leaders like Stalin and Hitler got so many millions of people to follow them and built up such powerful "security" forces, you don't have to look outside the borders of the US. Just picture Dick Cheney in an SS uniform.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by penguinbrat (711309) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:30PM (#24435531)

    Give them a hard time and they will make your life hard, because they can.

    That is the one over all major problem, and the only one really, that have with all this - regardless of whether or not something f'd up happens. Seriously, what is the over all difference between street thugs and the government anymore - you need to kiss both over their respective asses, the former to come out alive and the later to come out with the same life style (IE: confiscating someones cell phone and/or laptop could have a serious impact on anyones life anymore these days, whether it is social, business or financial).

    There actually used to be valid reasoning behind being innocent before proven guilty rather than guilty before proven not-guilty, and it's all on them whim of how you treat the respective agent? Come on...

  • Re:The worst part (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:40PM (#24435755) Journal
  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by memorycardfull (1187485) on Friday August 01, 2008 @01:12PM (#24436379)
    Dear Sir, Those who politely sacrifice liberty for security especially deserve neither. Cheers!
  • Re:The worst part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by number11 (129686) on Friday August 01, 2008 @01:13PM (#24436385)

    a court order directing the appropriate law enforcement agencies to seal all records of the arrest and destroy any copies of my fingerprints and/or photograph that they obtained from said arrest. The order also directed any agencies that may have received a copy of said items from the original police agency (i.e: the Feds) to do the same.

    And how do you suppose the court ensures that everyone that has had access to that data receives a copy of the order? How does the court know if it has been obeyed? (Of course, the court will be pissed if it finds out, but the agency will claim that it was a clerical error, and no one will be punished.) And how in the world does a state court enforce an order like that against DHS, even making the unlikely assumption that it can ever find out the order has been violated?

    The answer, of course, is "it doesn't".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @01:55PM (#24437137)

    Welcome to Amerikastan

    Isn't it time for a revolution?

  • Re:The worst part (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:05PM (#24439797)
    You, sir, would be an ideal citizen in any dictatorship.
  • Re:The worst part (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gregour (891193) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:12PM (#24439943)

    They had to be destroyed.

    Because well know no government official would ever ignore a court order.

  • Re:The worst part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:17PM (#24440035) Journal

    Don't forget, you could have written things in invisible ink on your clothes, so they'll have to also keep all of them as well.

    So, you get to come out of customs with absolutely nothing [as there COULD be some writing on anything]. And you'll have to be exposed to massive doses of x-rays just to check if you've swallowed anything.

    And yet, all the "terrorists" have to do is go to a BestBuy and purchase a new laptop, or even just go to a public Internet terminal and download whatever information they need via any number of protocols, with no problem at all, in a manner that should be virtually untraceable as to who sent or received the information.

    So, more inconvenience with zero benefit [at least, no benefits for the stated purpose, which is to hinder terrorism somehow].

    Now, this is an ideal program for economic espionage by the US government, as they basically state that all your information will be put up on a server and made available to pretty much any gov't agency to access if they want. And it will be less likely that all businessmen will take the time to protect their information that all but the most stupid terrorists would...

  • by nedwidek (98930) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @01:17AM (#24445063)

    Except the constitution does not place limits on actions of the government in a place. It places limits on the government's actions period.

    Now if you'd like to quote a border exception or some part of the constitution that says it no longer is in effect at certain locations or that by stepping outside of the country that our rights with respect to the government disappear.

    Good luck. I'll check in time to time to see if you've found it. Now as far as it goes, the federal government has decided to pay less and less respect to the constitution over the past 150 years. This move really isn't surprising. It's more amazing that they bother paying lip service to the constitution anymore.

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