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

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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  • Fuck you DHS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:29PM (#42839815)

    Go die in a fire.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:30PM (#42839823) Homepage Journal

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

    But not according to the constitution. It's more unauthorized law from the "SCOTUS says SCOTUS can say whatever it wants because SCOTUS says so" crew.

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

    by tepples (727027) <> on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:33PM (#42839847) Homepage Journal
    So once soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed, what is left?
  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:35PM (#42839873) Homepage Journal

    The claim is that no 4th amendment right exist anywhere within the united states where the border is nearer than 100 miles.

    So, for instance, where I live, which is about 60 miles south of Canada, no 4th amendment rights.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:37PM (#42839885)

    So, for all the gun control fans out there, you cannot pick and choose which part of the Constitution you choose to enforce. When you start deciding that one section or another is inconvenient in the modern era you undermine everything, including the parts you like. We have a process for amending the Constitution. It is intentionally difficult.

    Just as people argue about what exactly "bear arms" means, now we get to argue about what "unreasonable" means. I think they are both adequately clear. The suspension of the fourth amendment when you are actually at a boarder crossing makes sense because it is voluntary. You have a sign that says "All items entering this boarder checkpoint are subject to search". One mile away is unreasonable.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:38PM (#42839899)

    Ammo box

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:43PM (#42839943)

    denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:44PM (#42839953) Homepage Journal

    Libertarian masturbatory fantasies involving guns.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:47PM (#42839979) Homepage Journal

    It is only temporary. Someday, we will increase it to 1,000 miles.

    (For those who don't get the joke, except for maybe a tiny patch near Lebanon, KS, the entire continental United States lies within 1,000 miles of a border, give or take.)

    But in all seriousness, nearly two-thirds the population of the United States lives within 100 miles of our nation's borders. The DHS's claims are tantamount to an outright abrogation of the fourth amendment for the overwhelming majority of Americans—an irrefutable and egregious violation of their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution. So the only real question that we should be asking is this:

    • Why aren't these usurpers in jail yet?

    Freedom is a myth if our nation is unwilling to take people like this to task for wiping its a** with our nation's highest law. If we do not prosecute the DHS and anyone who commits illegal searches based on their borderline treasonous guidance, then our nation's highest law will have no teeth, and we might as well start calling ourselves the American Democratic Republic right now.

  • Re:Fuck you DHS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by balsy2001 (941953) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:52PM (#42840023)
    I was going to make some comment about sacrificing freedom for security, but your comment will do.
  • In jail? They were just reelected.
  • Re:San Diego (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foofish (10132) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:53PM (#42840033)

    As a resident of Tucson, this is alarming. If I lived farther north I'd be used to it, as Sheriff Arpaio has already made Phoenix a Fourth Amendment Free Zone.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:54PM (#42840043) Homepage Journal

    Why aren't these usurpers in jail yet?

    And the answer is... because there are no legal penalties whatsoever defined for violating the constitution. The oath is an empty act, with absolutely no teeth behind it.

    And as for the "ammo box" answer, your fellow citizens, by and large, would just as soon you attempt to gum them to death, and the government took that idea and ran with it over a half century ago in United States v.Miller.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:04PM (#42840117)

    It's more complicated than that. The founders recognized that a nation is partially defined by how much control it has over its borders. This includes controlling what goes through the border. And in order to do that, it is necessary to be able to inspect anything. And in order to do that... well, you have to be able to do it without something exactly straddling an imaginary line. And now you're down into implementation details that have nothing to do with the constitution, SCOTUS or anyone else at that level.

    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. But that's the only way you're going to change that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:12PM (#42840177)

    The statist government ratches the noose tighter just a little at a time.

    Our grandchildren will be born slaves and curse our names because would could have done something to save our freedom.

    All the foreign terrorists had real paperwork from the federal government.

    All the foreign terrorists were protected from local law enforcement by the federal government.

    All the domestic terrorists were government employees - including the latest rogue cop.

    Look up the numbers - US citizens are more likely to be murdered by their own government than by foreign terrorists and military combined and it's been that way for decades.

    The government doesn't protect us from danger - the government is the danger.

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

    by Bomazi (1875554) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:18PM (#42840227)

    How does that work exactly ? You shoot at a border agent and then what ? Guns are not a solution to everything.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:26PM (#42840279) Homepage Journal

    287 (a) (3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 66 Stat. 233, 8 U.S.C. 1357(a)(3), which provides for warrantless searches of automobiles and other conveyances "within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States," as authorized by regulations to be promulgated by the Attorney General.

    The Attorney General's regulation, 8 CFR 287.1, defines "reasonable distance" as "within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States."

    That's the genesis of the current state of affairs. As far as I know, it's not been tested in USSC. However, inasmuch as they've approved ex post facto laws, inverted the commerce clause (and in so doing created the legislative condition where anything they like, they can regulate), usurped article 5 powers for themselves, violated almost the entire bill of rights in other cases... this is why I blame them. If they were doing their jobs, legislators would know better than to make such as laws. As it is, legislators can expect that these absurdities may well be upheld, even though they are on the face obviously and blatantly unconstitutional. That's been no barrier to the sophists on SCOTUS in recent decades, and congress knows it.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:29PM (#42840303) Homepage Journal

    Go write your congress critters

    Pointless without an envelope stuffed with money. They won't even see it.

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

    by evil_aaronm (671521) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:30PM (#42840313)
    “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Edward Abbey
  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:34PM (#42840337)

    No, you don't shoot at the drones; you take out the queen(s). And you make it known why they are being exterminated, one by one.

    The Orkin Man

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:56PM (#42840471) Journal

    Also, complaining about it will probably get you put on a watch list. After all, why would you want to restrict the actions undertaken by the brave men and women of the Department of Homeland Security unless you hate the security of the Homeland because of your terreristyness?

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:57PM (#42840475) Journal

    Haven't you been paying attention? The Law is whatever Obama wants it to be. He rules by Executive Order and doesn't give two shits about the Law or the Constitution.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:03PM (#42840511)

    The way it works is that if enough government agents die in the course of violating the Fourth Amendment, maybe individual agents will begin to consider it too much of a risk to continue doing so. This is how it should be, and why we have a Second Amendment, after all. At the very least, if enough people stand against it, attrition will begin to become a factor and there simply won't be enough people in the Border Patrol willing to be shot at.

    Unfortunately, there are far, far too many people in the country that like to talk about "liberty" and "freedom", but aren't willing to make a stand for them. It's getting close to the point where people are going to have to be willing to give their lives for such lofty ideals, or lick the hand that chains them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:12PM (#42840563)

    Ah. You would think someone would just spell that out, rather than using an obscure acronym.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:55PM (#42840781)

    Haven't you been paying attention? The Law is whatever Obama wants it to be. He rules by Executive Order and doesn't give two shits about the Law or the Constitution.

    How come you only started paying attention when the black guy showed up?

  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:06PM (#42840827) Journal

    An envelope stuffed with money to read it, and a briefcase full of money to do anything about it...

  • by jc42 (318812) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:20PM (#42840917) Homepage Journal

    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.

    And, of course, there has been much discussion recently of the leaked documents outlining the policy that the US government can simply execute anyone labelled "terrorist" at any time. Granted, that hasn't been reviewed by any courts, and the Supreme Court might declare execution without trial unconstitutional. But that might not be much consolation if you're dead.

    Then there's the question of where in the world this isn't true.

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:34PM (#42840977)


  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:50PM (#42841067)

    Nonsense. Obscure is only a useful term in context. What web site do you think you are on?

  • by davester666 (731373) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:52PM (#42841077) Journal

    And don't forget, all your airports that serve planes that travel in/out of the country also count as being on the border, so there's a 100 mile radius around them with this constitution-free zone as well.

  • []

    this dorner guy is systematically going after those whom he has targeted as being responsible for grave wrongs in the lapd

    and a lot of people sympathize with him

    the problem is, you don't actually solve any of the problems he's complaining about by shooting people

    we live in a civil society. if you want to change a law, you change it. if you want to change a status quo, you agitate

    shooting people does what? turns you into a target for a manhunt. that's it

    you don't solve these problems with a gun. sorry

    i don't really know why this stupid idea appeals to some people unless you are actually an unhinged individual

    and yet your comment is modded +5 insightful? seriously?

    all this tells me is there are far too many unstable people with guns in this country

    there is no ammo box option. it's not an option in a civil society


    and if you believe the ammo box is still an option, YOU are yet another problem the rest of us sane people who are pissed off with the DHS have to deal with

    put away the fucking guns, you fucking wackjobs

    not an option

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:12AM (#42841187)

    They don't need all the luck in the world. They have half of the guns.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:15AM (#42841201)

    You didn't notice the sub shadowing you? The Satellite overhead that tracked your progress? You only think you were unobserved.

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:30AM (#42841261) Homepage

    Reall good huh! What suckers you all were to believe the "Obama is good on civil liberties!" line. The man has proven himself by word and deed to be even more evil than Bush and Cheney. Not only does he not reverse their policies, he expands and extends them. But not a peep out of his supporters because he's "their" guy.

  • Re:Loss of Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:45AM (#42841325)

    Really? The guys that drew up the Bill of Rights were, as defined by the current administration, Terrorists. If they were alive today they'd stick 'em in Gitmo. They rebelled and overthrew the legitimate government of the colonies by force. I could make an argument that they actually were more free back then than we are now. If John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were alive today they'd be on the no fly list for sure.

  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:53AM (#42841365) Homepage
    What stops DHS from continuing to arrest people wherever they want? Was anyone at DHS *punished* for this drug bust? Possession is 90% of the law, and DHS has you cuffed on the ground. Supreme Court is far away.
  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:13AM (#42841429) Homepage

    there is no ammo box option. it's not an option in a civil society

    That is correct. The ammo box is to be used when the society is no longer civil. For example, when your lords and masters tread upon you and enslave you. At one point it had something to do with taxes, at another - with slavery. Thirst for power also works. The society can drop the pretenses of civility very quickly (technically, at any time when civil methods are no longer advantageous.)

    shooting people does what? turns you into a target for a manhunt. that's it

    Largely yes, it does that. However it also tells others that their actions have consequences. Some people understand only the language of force; you can find many such people in your local MS13 gang - or, as Chris Dorner tells us, at LAPD headquarters. He may be wrong even in theory; and killing people over verbal offenses or over dismissal from a job is a terrible overreaction. He is very likely to be a mental patient because even in his manifesto you can see explosive rage where a reasonable man would record the conversation on his cell phone, then call his lawyer and get rich.

    i don't really know why this stupid idea appeals to some people unless you are actually an unhinged individual

    Mr. Dorner is unhinged, it is obvious from any one out of the many hints that he provided. Naturally, he is absolutely sure that he is perfectly sane and his actions are "necessary evil." All insane people are sure that they are sane. Half of his manifesto is talking about petty offenses that he was subjected to at work. He then proceeds to make a mountain out of that. A normal person would simply quit and move to a city with better PD, or he would take a different job altogether.

  • by dcollins (135727) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:57AM (#42841615) Homepage

    "The founders recognized that a nation is partially defined by how much control it has over its borders."

    This is total BS, post-crazy-America revisionist history. Even just 15 years ago I could go back and forth between Maine and Canada without any search, seizure, or even paperwork on my person as often as I wished. I could hug a friend to say goodbye a foot outside the boarding ramp to an international airplane. The word "border" doesn't even appear a single time in the U.S. Constitution.

  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @02:10AM (#42841665)
    Time for the old standard: "The law is what the cop on the beat says it is." If you live long enough to get a lawyer and a trial, you have the opportunity to bankrupt yourself to get out of jail. Good luck.
  • by dcollins (135727) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @02:10AM (#42841667) Homepage

    "One of the very first laws passed by the first Congress in 1787 was the provision to allow customs inspections at borders."

    Hunh? Ratification of the Constitution and the first Congressional elections didn't even happen until 1789.

    Even if your facts weren't like, made-up, there would still be an enormous difference between "go check out that ship" and "go empty that guy's pockets and read all his personal papers". Make-believe such as "regulating trade implies seizure of personal papers and effects" is kind of sick.

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

    by crossmr (957846) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @03:03AM (#42841829) Journal

    getting? It's been at that point for a long time now. Basically since 9/11. Someone waved some dead bodies mythical enemies and everyone just rolled over, grabbed their ankles and said yes dear leader, please have your way with me.
    For the all the time Americans spend looking down on North Koreans and their apparent blind allegiance, they're doing a great impression..

  • This is the slippery slope by which DHS can barge into any home in America. Any.

    So could any terrorist. It's the duty of the citizens to protect themselves, thus we never needed a DHS in the first place.

    No one is safe.

    Not true. Freedom doesn't imply safety; However, by taking away freedoms the government is now fairly safe from its citizens. Life is dangerous, "safety" is a disease; Use caution instead. The DHS was founded under the guise of providing safety, see? Instead of panicking we should have just used personal caution, and not rely on others to provide non-existent preemptive safety.

    If you read the US Declaration of Independence [], down near the bottom in the list of abuses of the citizens it cites that the King of England "has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance." It's pretty much like what's happening now: We're being forced to pay for the many new offices of the DHS which only serve to harass us while eating away our sustenance in the form of taxes, and eating the funds of other beneficial programs.

    I encourage everyone to read those list of abuses and compare them to events of today: "He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures." Hell, they go worse than this and simply try coming up with laws decided in Secret via treaty, remember ACTA? Kangaroo Courts, where the famous and police can get away with murder or massive fraud -- Corporations frequently try to file suits in such a way to make them more expensive to get to, just ask G.Hotz. I could go on, but it really is quite uncanny how many of the abuses listed by our forefathers are now mirrored in today's happenings. The founding fathers thought many of the practices today's people are subjected to were intolerable and that it was their duty to fight a revolution and not "suffer, while evils are sufferable", instead they chose to "right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed". If only they could see us now... The once brave now cower, because their Land of the Free isn't.

    I guess some good has come of it all: If we every did want to turn it off and on again, we could simply re-use the same declaration, and just add some new signatures.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @04:20AM (#42842017)

    Then there's the question of where in the world this isn't true.

    How about most places? There has been a tendency for people who admit that things aren't well in the USA to tack on a "but it's like that everywhere, right?" to make it seem less bad.

    The trigger for the US introducing many of these heinous laws was the 9/11 suicidal plane hijackings, which killed 0.001% of the population. In contrast, Norway was hit by a comparatively larger terrorist attack in 2011, resulting in the death of 0.0015% of the population, which resulted in no new "security" laws.

    The rest of the world does not automatically become a police state just because the USA does.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @06:22AM (#42842355) Homepage Journal

    That 2nd amendment bullcrap sure has saved you from tyranny and kept up the freedom right there, no?

    You do understand that such action would be in response to abuse, not in anticipation of same, right? Right?

    Even the American revolution didn't just fire up the first few times King George abused the colonists. It was a cumulative thing. Now, as to whether current events could reach such a crescendo of abuse as to actually inspire revolution... I doubt it. The average American today seems more intent on sitting in front of the television and chowing down some fast food. While the television in turn keeps them enthralled with nonsense about terrorism, saving the children, and whatnot. So I think it'll have to get quite a bit worse before anyone meaningful seriously contemplates violence.

    The question seems to be, will it get worse, and just how bad would that be?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @06:52AM (#42842399)

    What did you do about it? Did you contact the media to share your story? Did you get an official explanation for your treatment? Have you filed a lawsuit? I'm skeptical that this actually happened since you leave us hanging.

  • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:19AM (#42843209) Journal

    If a nuke were available, I've got no doubt that terrorists would have no trouble killing millions.

    Why would they bother? Killing people is just the horrible means terrorists use to achieve their aims. The terrorists goals are usually to oppose the US' historical championing of freedom and democracy throughout the world. From what I see sitting well over 100 miles north of your border they don't need to bother anymore: if you can't support freedom and democracy in your own country you have zero credibility when you try to promote it to the rest of the world. The US might still be more free and more democratic than a lot of nations but to champion it you need a squeaky clean image not a "ho-hum and getting worse" one.

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:05AM (#42843499)

    The Second Amendment is the most powerful tool we have to combat tyranny, and only the last resort in the case of tyranny that is ignoring the will of the people and has usurped democratic processes, where checks and balances have been broken down and violations of the constitution are unchecked. It does seem as though we are getting closer and closer to that point.

    It is true that it is a last resort, we should not have re-elected Obama, we need to elect out people who have presided over the incursion on rights, those who want to violate the second amendment and other amendments and so on.

    Because the second amendment is a deterrent, it actually can help us keep us from getting to the point where we need to use it. Notice that these egregious violaions of the constitution are increasing at the very same time that they are pushing for gun bans? They know that these violations, would anger an armed and constitution minded public, so they are pushing for abolishing the second amendment so they can continue to expand their totalitarian scheme they have already begun.

    The second amendment is really all about preserving what is really the only effective deterrent to the tyranny, an armed population. Therefore, the second amendment was specifically intended that the people have military grade arms, in order that the population at large has some sort of parity against governmental power, and that the ultimate power is kept with the population rather than power consolidated into the hands of the government.

    When the government is ignoring elections, the elections have been abolished or are a farce, and the government commits widespread violations of the constitution with no check against it. you really do not have any other options except the second amendment. If the elections system is broken, then pretty much there is nothing else that will restore the constitution except the second amendment solution. It is the threat of the second amendment solution, the fear of it by government, that keeps the government on its toes. A population ready to as a last resort revolt is the best defence of the constitution because the government just doesnt want to mess with the constitution and bring about the anger of the public.

    So the main role of the second amendment is as a deterrent that is meant to prevent us from getting to the place where the second amendment would even need to be used.

    It is sort of naive to assume that leaders have no desire to expand their poiwer. i mean, that people would think that is supreme arrogance. In fact, its human nature that once leaders get a taste of power, they want more and more of it, they become addicted to it and cannot get enough. Why wouldnt leaders want more power? They end up dreaming of the day when they have unlimited power to do whatever they want without that constitution in the way. We are very naive to think that a disturbing percentage of our leaders have never had such thoughts or such cravings. These totalitarian personalities are everywhere, they are attracted to the government, and try to work their way into it. Its basically just a fact of life. It i therefore necessary that the public is well armed, this sends a message that the people are not going to tolerate a tyranny and for the totalitarian dashes their hopes of despotism. The first thing a totalitarian will try to do therefore, is take away guns, especially the ones which are military grade, which are exactly those that presents the most threat of an armed revolt.

    Anyone who thinks that governments cannot go tyrannical is also just ignorant of history. History has shown that governments which are democratic often do become tyrannies and that gun confiscation is the first step. The Nazis for instance confiscated guns as the first phases of their totalitarian agenda and schemes. There are dozens of other countries where gun confiscation has been preceded by genocide and totalitarian regimes.

    Absolutely we must remain vigilant on incursions to our rigths, by electing out those who violate them, so we never end up to a point where the second amendment is the only remaining option that we have.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.