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DHS Can Seize Your Electronics Within 100 Mi.of US Border, Says DHS 597

Posted by timothy
from the dhs-confirms-it-must-be-true dept.
dreamstateseven writes "In a not-so-unexpected move, the Department of Homeland Security has concluded that travelers along the nation's borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security. According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. The memo highlights the friction between today's reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government's stated quest for national security. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation's actual border."
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DHS Can Seize Your Electronics Within 100 Mi.of US Border, Says DHS

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  • Bullshit. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:31PM (#42839827) Journal

    According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border.

    The failure of the court to enforce the fourth amendment against government usurpation does not change what it says. There is no "border exception" in the bill of rights.

    -jcr

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail. c o m> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:33PM (#42839853) Homepage

    Yes and no. They can cross into Canada if they're perusing a suspect and there must be R&PG according to the treaty, same applies to Canada border agents crossing into the US. To the no part, anything else is considered a violation of the border treaty and of other agreements.

  • Re:100 miles inland (Score:4, Informative)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:41PM (#42839929)

    Well, that includes all coastal cites, New York, L.A., Miami.

    Look at a map of the original United States, and then imagine a 100-mile zone inside those borders. It looks to me like virtually the entire country would have been within 100 miles of a border. Somehow, I doubt that those who wrote the Bill of Rights would have agreed that they didn't intend it to apply to 90% of their country.

  • That info (circa 2008) is in the last link of the /. article. It's apparently 2 out of 3 US citizens.

  • Re:Fuck you DHS (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:47PM (#42839981)
    Appropriate use of AC
  • by belphegore (66832) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:48PM (#42839991) Homepage

    Don't forget a 100 mile radius around inland international airports.

  • by Relic of the Future (118669) <dales@digitaFREEBSDlfreaks.org minus bsd> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:57PM (#42840073)
    As well as all of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island (the southwest corner of Vermont is the only thing keeping all of New England from being Constitution-free), New Jersey, and Delaware. The largest city that's safe, is Phoenix.
  • Re:Since 2008 (Score:4, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:12PM (#42840191)

    Actually they can go over 100 miles if they feel like it.

    "That whenever in the opinion of a chief patrol agent or special agent in charge a distance in his or her sector or district of more than 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States would because of unusual circumstances be reasonable, such chief patrol agent or special agent in charge shall forward a complete report with respect to the matter to the Commissioner of CBP, or the Assistant Secretary for ICE, as appropriate, who may, if he determines that such action is justified, declare such distance to be reasonable."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:18PM (#42840225)

    My wife and I went to Charleston SC for our anniversary last year. We were just walking around downtown when a couple of DHS agents walked up to us and demanded to see our ID and our cell phones.

    Without even asking, one of them snatched my wife's purse and removed her cell phone from it, and plugged it into some device.

    I did not have my cell phone on me, and when I told them that, I was arrested and taken to a mobile "command center" where I was interrogated as to why I didn't have a cell phone, and subsequently stripped to my underwear because they thought I was lying about not having one.

    The entire experience was humiliating.

    The USA is no longer a free country. Period. And, anyone who thinks it is is deluding themselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:39PM (#42840369)

    Yes, this includes your home. The local police have to abide by the idea that warrants are required but if the DHS decides you are a possible terrorist threat, citizen of no, you have no rights whatsoever. This was all discussed when the original 100 mile constitution free zone went into effect. And there have been examples of people who wouldn't cooperate with the local police and so, when the local police could not get a warrant of their own, they've call the DHS. The DHS needs no warrants to detain, not arrest, you, has no limits on the amount of time they can detain you, since it's a matter of national security and need no warrants to search and seize any of your property for as long as they wish. The original 100 mile zone has since been extended by various means to include pretty much all of the United States. Whether you want to agree with it or not, you're already living under martial law.

    What can cure this? A population that will stand up for its rights, although that does indicate you might be a terrorist in the new FBI guidelines, electing more independents that don't tow a party line and work for their constituents instead and accepting that in order to be free you also have to accept some risk. Give up your freedom for what you think is security and you'll find you have neither. Old Ben said something like that. People should listen to him.

    But it's too late to have that under this government. It's already declared martial law in a covert manner and is testing the military with the question "If your command-in-chief ordered you to fire on American citizens, would you?" The higher ranks are already being purged of those who said no.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Informative)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:59PM (#42840493)

    funny, what was the #1 thing the Founding Fathers gave as reason for 2nd Amendment? A: Tyranny at home. "Enemies from Abroad" was #2. What a Country, where the citizens are given the implicit right and means for violent revolution should the government turn evil.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:59PM (#42840497)

    The bill of rights is not the entire Constitution.

    The Constitution does give the Congress the duty to secure borders and regulate commerce. In fact one of the very first acts of the first Congress in 1787 was to establish the border search provisions that you are complaining about.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:06PM (#42840531)

    But it's too late to have that under this government. It's already declared martial law in a covert manner and is testing the military with the question "If your command-in-chief ordered you to fire on American citizens, would you?" The higher ranks are already being purged of those who said no.

    +5 Informative for that bullshit? Come on. Prove it.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:07PM (#42840535) Homepage Journal

    The founders recognized that a nation is partially defined by how much control it has over its borders. ... Go write your congress critters that a border that is 100 miles wide makes a mockery of the spirit of the law, while still obeying the letter of the law.

    You know, I've read over the Bill of Rights many times, and I've never seen a part that says, "These rights shall not apply within an arbitrary distance of the borders of the United States." So your "letter of the law" claim seems a bit questionable. If the founders recognized the need for an exemption in border areas (however defined) they could have written it in there.

  • by nothings (597917) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:08PM (#42840539) Homepage

    The claim that the there is no 4th amendment right within 100 miles of a border is false. (Though the federal government may occasionally conduct illegal searches on that basis.)

    As wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says, "Despite federal law allowing certain federal agents to conduct suspicionless search and seizures within 100 miles of the border, the Supreme Court has clearly and repeatedly confirmed that the border search exception applies only at international borders and their functional equivalent (such as international airports)."

    Wikipedia offers this Supreme Court decision [google.com] as an example: a non-US-citizen was busted for marijuana possesion while driving 25 miles from the border; and the SC ruled that the search of his car could not be justified by the border provision.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:12PM (#42840565)

    YES they can come , YES they can FOLLOW but thats it they cant touch you OR its technically assault, what they have then to do is get or convince a cop, CSIS , RCMP person to then arrest said person based on OUR laws not yours.
    THATS the rub a lot of crap you morons do doesn't fly here.
    the majority of this govt is not very big and you start messing badly and your pipeline goes poof and it all goes to china and eastern canada
    seriously fuck off an dyes ive known since 90's that 290 fbi agents wander about....
    FACT is they have no authority to do any more then a citizens arrest.

  • Who the hell (Score:5, Informative)

    by 7-Vodka (195504) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:15PM (#42840579) Journal

    Who the hell links to an article about the ACLU's work, without Linking directly to the work in question instead [aclu.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:26PM (#42840629)

    Yes, any agent of the federal government can strictly ignore any 4th amendment limits on government power within 100 miles of a border with canada or mexico and can search you and your personal effects without cause.

    Wait... they can't. Bitch about your government all you want but at least be factual. The 100 mile legislation only applies to the border patrol, not state or local officials, not to dea, or secret service, or any other government agency, and even then the border search only applies tothose people entering the country outside of a port of entry who have not made any stops in the country on the way. It also doesn't apply to any international airport.

    So yes, if the border patrol witnesses you crossing the border, maintains visual of you the entire time and brings you into custody without you having stopped anywhere along the way, then yes, per SCOTUS, you are in the constitution free zone. And subject to those circumstances only, the border patrol and only the border patrol, can search you to their hearts content.

    If you have made legitimate entry into the U.S. there is no law enforcement agency in the country that has the right to search you or your belongings at will, much less for being within 100 miles of a border. There's so much wrong with this country, at least deal with the real problems, not made up paranoia.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:26PM (#42840633)

    The "border" is unfortunately whatever the feds damn well say it is.

    All they have to do is call you a terrorist and you can be detained indefinitely and you'll never make it to court to challenge it in the first place.

  • by sdnoob (917382) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:42PM (#42840709)

    that map is not entirely accurate.. _official_ international borders between the u.s. and canada in the great lakes are in the water, NOT along the lakes' shores. michigan, for instance, is not entirely within 100 miles of the border; and chicago is not even close to being within 100 miles of an international border (lake michigan is entirely within the u.s. which makes the nearest border to chicago over 200 miles away, near detroit).... http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/373/greatlakeborders.png [imageshack.us]

    regardless, the government has gone waaaaay too far here. i refuse to submit simply because might happen to live or travel within 100 miles of one of the great lakes or an ocean coast. i wouldn't be surprised to see them try to extend this to navigable inland waterways, too.. that would cover most of the rest of the population so they could molest and harass (and steal mp3 players, laptops, tablets, ereaders, etc, just like tsa/customs at airports, from) pretty much anyone, anywhere, without cause (as if anything is really stopping them now)

  • by djl4570 (801529) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:46PM (#42840727) Journal
    200 miles is the economic exclusion zone. Territorial waters extend twelve nautical miles from the mean low tide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zonmar-en.svg [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:01AM (#42840805)
    I must have missed that part where regulation of trade required suspension of 4th Amendment rights. When they enter my home to "inspect", it will not be accepted as lawful.
  • by black6host (469985) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:17AM (#42841203)

    My entire state, according the the ACLU map, is in this zone. Our state motto is: "Live Free or Die". I laugh, sadly, every time I hear somebody say that here with pride.

    Oh, we don't have to wear seat belts though. I guess I just don't understand what "Live Free" means as obviously not being required to wear seat belts is more than an even trade for losing your 4th Amendment rights.... Riiiiiight.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:28AM (#42841251)

    Idiot. Go back and read it again. You missed the part about the 100 miles being bullshit according to the Supreme Court. They threw the case out because it was 25 miles from the border and the exception is for THE border not miles inland. The TSA can say the moon is purple but it doesn't change the damn color of the moon does it? They can't change the Constitution either no matter how hard they try.

  • by dbc (135354) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @02:27AM (#42841497)

    Yes, too true. The post just above yours says "Even 5 years ago I might have said you made that up." Well --- as I recall (and can't take time now to search newspaper archives) -- somewhere back before the INS was part of DHS (certainly more than 5 years), an INS agent detained a well-dressed Hispanic man on the streets of downtown San Jose over the lunch hour, and asked to see his green card. The man replied that he was a US-born citizen whose family had been in California since before it was a state. The INS agent continued to hassle him -- until someone managed to whack him with a clue-bat and tell him to stop hassling the Vice Mayor of San Jose.

    The attack on civil liberties in this country has gotten far, far out of hand. It is time to put a stop to it, and the best bet right now is narrow, targeted lawsuits.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @04:18AM (#42841861) Homepage

    What a load of bullshit and slashdot is of course gobbling it up, it's 100 miles from any land and sea border. The airports themselves are constitution free zones as well, but there's no 100 mile bubble around them. 10/10 troll good sir.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @05:37AM (#42842061)
    Lol. That 2nd amendment bullcrap sure has saved you from tyranny and kept up the freedom right there, no?
  • by WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:17AM (#42842899)
    From The Attorney General's regulation, 8 CFR 287.1: [justia.com]

    (a)(1) External boundary. The term external boundary, as used in section 287(a)(3) of the Act, means the land boundaries and the territorial sea of the United States extending 12 nautical miles from the baselines of the United States determined in accordance with international law. (2) Reasonable distance. The term reasonable distance, as used in section 287(a) (3) of the Act, means within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States or any shorter distance which may be fixed by the chief patrol agent for CBP, or the special agent in charge for ICE, or, so far as the power to board and search aircraft is concerned any distance fixed pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section.

    No, international airports does not count as an external boundary.

    And no, embassies [slashdot.org] does not count as an external boundary because contrary to common misconception embassies are not foreign soil.

    And no, Indian Reservations [slashdot.org] does not count as an external boundary because they are not external.

    I am correcting all these misconceptions because there is no need to twist the truth when it's on our side. There's no need to make up imaginary international boundaries within our country in order to inflate the numbers; even if only 1% of the population is living in the constitution-free zone that would be far too high. The truth is on our side and we just need to present it as it is; sugarcoating it or even tempering with it simply undermine our own argument and our own credibility.

    I brought up the constitution-free zone map in an argument once and my opponent immediately pointed out that the international borders cut across the middle the of great lakes. In a single stroke both ACLU and myself lost our credibility in that argument.

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