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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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  • by fufufang (2603203) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:29PM (#42839813)

    Can they go into Canada or Mexico and seize stuff? Is this even legal? Or does it count as an invasion? Or has it got to be in the sea?

    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> 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.

    • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:35PM (#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 jc42 (318812) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:41PM (#42839925) Homepage Journal

        So it sounds like this applies to anyone living within states like Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii or Florida, all of which are within 100 miles of the ocean shore. Actually, I think that all of Massachusetts (where I live) is also less than 100 miles from the shore, but I might be wrong.

        I wonder what fraction of the US population lives within 100 miles of the national border. I'd guess it's well over 50%, but I don't see any easy way to find the number. Anyone know?

          • 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 siddesu (698447) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:43AM (#42841041)

              I don't speak for the TSA, but if I were an honest, god-fearing, terrorist-hating TSA official, hell-bent on winning the good fight for freedom and values we're fighting against our enemies, I'd be hard-pressed not to point out to you the simple fact that terrorists can embark anywhere on the US side of the lake shores, making the shoreline the first line of d-fence. It would be obvious to me that to confront the terrorist threat along the shoreline and marine borders effectively, the 100-mile freedom zones should naturally extend from the beach inland, and not be arbitrarily defined from some imaginary liberal line you call "border".

              Also, were I working for the TSA, I'd say that your soft position on the threats facing this great country makes you a help to the terrorists and a conduit of the dangers terrorism poses to the American way of life. You should repent and amend your ways.

              • Not sure what the situation is now, but during the summer of 2002, just about 9 months after "9/11", a friend and I sailed from Kauai to San Francisco. We saw basically no one out at sea, and could have met up with anyone carrying whatever sort of munitions. When we arrived in SF, we sailed/motored to his dock, tied up, were picked up by his wife and went home. No customs agents, no TSA, no nothing. If a nuke were available, I've got no doubt that terrorists would have no trouble killing millions.

                • by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:15AM (#42841201)

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

                • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @03:23AM (#42841717)

                  I regularly sail between Seattle and Vancouver, and never declare myself or register with customs. I've been doing it for decades. I once even called customs like you're supposed to when I docked, and they were confused and told me I didn't need to do anything. The coast guard has stopped me before and doesn't care.
                  Its not just the water either. Near Vancouver there are numerous dirt roads that simply go right across the border, and no one seems to care.
                  Border security is a joke.

                • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:19AM (#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.

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bbelt16ag (744938)
          Ok guys i got a question. Does this include your home residence as well? can DHS enter you home at any time? I have heard of the sneak and peak and of other things they can use to enter with out probable cause or a warrant...
          • 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.

        • by balsy2001 (941953)
          International waters don't start until 12 nautical miles off shore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_waters). So maybe the constitution free zone only extends 86 statute miles inland from the shore. I wonder if the constitution-free zone is based on nautical miles or statute miles. Not that this matters because this is pure BS.
        • by Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:12AM (#42840865)

          Washington DC is within 100 miles of the border, right? So if a DHS agent wanted to seize the laptop of a senator or representative under suspicion of bribery (a violation of 18 USC Sec. 201 [house.gov]) he or she would be within their authority to do so without needing to worry about the li'l old 4th Amendment?

      • by Technician (215283) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:31PM (#42840319)

        I think they should extend that to within 100 miles of the coast line too. I'm about 80 miles from an ocean. I wonder how much of Washington DC is more than 100 miles from the coast.

        They need to walk a mile in the shoes of anyone near a boarder to realise the pain. How many illegals are in Washington DC? Maybe it is time we stopped everyone there to find out.

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:39PM (#42840371) Homepage Journal

        The "border" is much larger than you seem to imply.

        Every airport at which international flights routinely land is also a "border". And, if a small plane from Mexico or Canada can land at a small airport, then that would be declared a "border" as well. And, if you have a few acres of land near you where an illegal flight MIGHT land, it's only a little bit more of a stretch to say that it could be an airport.

        This is the slippery slope by which DHS can barge into any home in America. Any. No one is safe.

        • 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 [archives.gov], 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 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.

  • Fuck you DHS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:29PM (#42839815)

    Go die in a fire.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:30PM (#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.

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:04PM (#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 sabri (584428) * on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:31PM (#42839825)
    Well, doesn't their reasoning make the entire country a border? Because an international plane (helicopter) can land virtually anywhere.. What protection does the fourth amendment give?

    Did this ever reach the supreme court?
  • 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

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

      by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:33PM (#42839847) Homepage Journal
      So once soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed, what is left?
      • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:38PM (#42839899)

        Ammo box

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

          by Bomazi (1875554) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:18PM (#42840227)

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

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

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:34PM (#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

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

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:03PM (#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.

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

              by crossmr (957846) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @04:03AM (#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..

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

        by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:02PM (#42840111)
        When I joined the Marine Corps, I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I always figured it would be the foreign enemies I had to worry about.
    • Implied Power (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Electrawn (321224) <electrawn AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:54PM (#42840041) Homepage

      Further, the US Constitution doesn't grant the federal government immigration authority. It is an "Implied Power" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implied_powers [wikipedia.org]

    • 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.

  • 100 miles inland (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr. Tom (23206) <tomh@nih.gov> on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:31PM (#42839831) Homepage

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

    • 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.

      • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:27PM (#42840289)

        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.

        I blame inflation.
        I bet 100 miles in 2013 is worth no more than 2 miles back then.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:32PM (#42839841)
    Just eyeballing a map of the US, I'd estimate that 100 miles in covers at least a quarter of the country. Anyone have a more accurate proportion of how much the country this covers?
  • Loss of Money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:35PM (#42839865) Homepage

    Well, there goes $350 from me?

    I was going to upgrade to a nice, shiny new Galaxy S III this Saturday, and get a data plan and everything.

    I don't need either, but thought it might be nice to play around with all the cool toys, send IM and Tweets and stuff. Well. Not so nice after all.

    Sorry, Samsung! Sorry, T-Mobile! I'm gonna stick with my talk & text plan on a $25 disposable that I fling down a sewer grate.

  • by theArtificial (613980) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:35PM (#42839869)
    Sucks to live in San Diego, California, Yuma or Tucson Arizona etc. I wonder of the typical sarcastic response is along the lines of "It's cool, I wasn't using my rights anyway"
  • by yerktoader (413167) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:35PM (#42839875) Homepage
    I thought this applied to probable cause. Wouldn't seem necessary if they don't need probable cause. I've also head that around 70% of our population lives within 100 miles of the borders. Can anyone provide cites for these? Thanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:37PM (#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.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:47PM (#42839979) 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.

  • 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 Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:30AM (#42840967)

      Ten years ago, I'd have said you made that up. Even five years ago, I might have said you made that up. Last year... I believe you. And how fucking sad is that.

  • Awful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:15PM (#42840577)

    In US v. Boucher, DHS argues that they can COMPEL you to speak your passwords at the border.

    Now, DHS is arguing that the border extends 100 miles around the whole perimeter of the US (where most of the American people live).

    They ought to have serious problems with this in the federal courts.

  • 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 Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @01:30AM (#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.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @09:44AM (#42842755)

    OK so a lot of the posts here seem to be coming from the POV that the govt. has no *real* *good* reason to be doing this. It's an easy road to take, but is it right? How do we know when we don't know the nature of the threats we face? Entertain a thought experiment where actually, in reality, the world has come to the point that this law is necessary.

    Imagine that it all just gets down to logisitics and time constraints of law enforcement facing off against the leverage bio-terrorism, nano-terrorism and computing power give the Bad Guys.

    I am not claiming I know this to be true in reality, just asking you pretend, to be flexible and go there in your mind.

    Probably, it's *going* to be true at some point in the future because offensive destructive capability always outpaces and out muscles defensive capability. Always. It's just easier to find a way to impose huge amounts of entropy on the world than to defend against that imposition. Think nuclear bombs. Think grey goo.

    So pretend the shape of things to come has arrived. How can we geeks, leverage computers and technology to design a legislative/ judicial / law enforcement / social system so that we can do what we need to do to defend ourselves and still retain and even enhance our Fourth Amendment rights?

    There has to be a way to defend not against a nuclear bomb but against losing what makes America America while it defends itself against a nuclear bomb, or looks for the plans for a suitcase nuke or bio-weapon or whatever on someone's computer.

    There has to be a way to meet this challenge on the battlefield that *it* has chosen, where the war is *actually* taking place. What everyone 's complaints amount to a kind of griping about the battleground reality has chosen to fight on. You're *insisting* that the battle be fought *over here* on the territory you know well. That's just not the way war works. The enemy in this case is the reality of bio-terrorism and nano--terrorism and nuclear terrorism and ALSO the way that forces law enforcement's hand and ALSO what that in turn means to us. That's the battleground that reality has chosen; either you show up to the fight or you lose it.

    All these arguments about the Fourth Amendment are a form of not showing up to the fight, of insisting the battle be fought on your familiar turf.

    Science has taken us here, and now we are here. Reality is not going to unwind itself to preserve your idea of privacy or liberty or the Constitution or anything else. That means you have adapt to reality creatively if you want to preserve those things.

    The terrorists know they have to dynamically adapt - nothing is EVER easy for them. The government knows it has to react effectively also. We're the sticks in the mud. We're the unchanging old farts who are dug in and refusing to acknowledge change. Our play in this, our imperative, is to conceive of a way to leverage technology in our affairs so that after we've done everything we need to do or can do to protect ourselves , we also can say -"Yes. I am satisfied and secure that I am protected against unreasonable search and seizure, invasion of my privacy and I *know* that my "papers" are not spied upon, the value they represent not stolen from me, or used against me in any way at all that could be characterized as "unfair" by the government. It can't be built on pure trust, on legislative fiat, because no one trusts that all people, current and future, will honor the law . It has to be built on some ground level facts about reality the way cryptography is built around some ground level facts about factoring numbers and multiplicative inverses. Trust and secrecy are bit players in public key crypto compared to what went on before with secret codes and messages. There has to be a way we can devise a system that gives law enforcement the latitude it knows or believes it needs and still unarguably preserves our way of life. We're just not being creative enough here.

    We build lots of things all day long. The internet itself is so far away from anything even conceivable to our forefathers, it's effectively realized magic. There *has* to be a way we can build something that can achieve both these ends. We *have* to be that clever.

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