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New Bill To Rein In DHS Laptop Seizures 311

twigles writes with news of a new proposed bill that seeks to curtail DHS's power to search and seize laptops at the border without suspicion of wrongdoing. Here is Sen. Feingold's press release on the bill. The new bill has more privacy-protecting safeguards than the previous one, which we discussed last month. "The Travelers Privacy Protection Act, a bill written by US Senators Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., would allow border agents to search electronic devices only if they had reasonable suspicions of wrongdoing. In addition, the legislation would limit the length of time that a device could be out of its owner's possession to 24 hours, after which the search becomes a seizure, requiring probable cause."
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New Bill To Rein In DHS Laptop Seizures

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  • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @11:23PM (#25295429) Homepage Journal

    ... fiscal conservatism and a strong stance on freedom.

    That party got renamed to the "Libertarian" party?

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @11:30PM (#25295475) Homepage

    If you're a foreigner, you're screwed.

  • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @11:31PM (#25295495)

    Probable cause required after 24 hours? No. Probable cause must be required before search.

    Your views on this political question* are admirable (and I would even agree but the devil's in the details of implementation) but they are also at variance with most of the electorate. For myself, I have (grudgingly) accepted that such political preferences are legitimate even when they conflict with my personal preferences. I have no qualms saying that people are making a big mistake giving up freedom for liberty but, from a point of view of epistemic humility, I also have to concede that they have every right to make the decision.

    The best thing we can do is attempt to convince people and that starts first and foremost with acknowledging the legitimacy of their position (while, of course, reserving the right to respectfully disagree).

    * Since for 250 years, the Constitution has permitted warrantless, suspicionless searches of anything crossing an international border, it is considered a settled legal question. /.ers can complain that the true meaning of the fourth amendment is something different (I'm sure many will) but the law remains.

  • Re:Not necessarily (Score:5, Informative)

    by ForumTroll ( 900233 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @12:44AM (#25295967)

    I'm Canadian and I definitely wouldn't classify our health care system as a "failed idea." It's not perfect, but I bet most Canadians would agree that it's far better than the system you have.

  • by Knackered ( 311164 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @01:20AM (#25296187)

    US Citizens and legal residents, according to the bill itself. So not all "foreigners" are screwed.

  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @02:36AM (#25296507)

    most people aren't all bad

    Research [] indicates otherwise:

    Dr. Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the [Milgram] experiment. He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, 61â"66 percent, regardless of time or place

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @06:24AM (#25297489)
    Just because they do something with some small fraction of it that might benefit you doesn't mean they still didn't take it from you with the threat of force.
  • by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) <jonaskoelker&yahoo,com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @07:14AM (#25297713)

    I've seen some numbers thrown around showing the amount of tourism money lost in the last several years amounts to some tens of billions of dollars. Which isn't that much on the scale of our whole economy

    It's more than half of NASA's budget (

  • by MNCampaignReport ( 1380957 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:42AM (#25298187)
    I interviewed Sen. Feingold this past weekend, and we briefly discussed this bill -- audio can be found in this post []
  • by TheCabal ( 215908 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @10:34AM (#25299483) Journal

    Incorrect. Milgram's experiment demonstrated that people, when confronted with a decision to which they have no experience, will defer to authority. Read Milgram's conclusions, specifically his agentic state theory. As long as they become a small part within a large machine, they can do things that go against their own values. Re-read Milgram's experiments again, you will see that the vast majority of those who submitted to the administrator's authority (which was the basis of the experiment- Milgram was investigating if the Nuremburg defense had any validity) displayed signs of extreme stress. This alone is a good indicator that people simply weren't "prepared to inflict fatal voltages".

    Your idea lies more along that people are sadistic (which they very may be) and will willingly and spontaneously inflict potenital harm on someone. But this wasn't proven by Milgram. Try Zimbardo at Stanford.

    There are subtleties to Milgram's experiment that escape many people.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.