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High-Tech Gadgets Can Pose Problems At Mexican Border 447

TechnologyResource writes "Going across the border will be a more 'interesting' experience since Customs and Border Protection will now be checking laptops, digital cameras, cell phones and any other electronics on your person or in your vehicle. It's not a new authority, according to Angelica De Cima, Office of Public Affairs Liaison 'They've always had the right to inspect your person, vehicle, baggage, anything on you. Nothing has changed from before,' De Cima said."
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High-Tech Gadgets Can Pose Problems At Mexican Border

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  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:06PM (#29534743)

    Hypotheticals aren't conspiracy.

    Bad troll. No cookie (or cupcake)


  • Re:YRO??!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gerzel ( 240421 ) * <> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:20PM (#29534903) Journal

    That depends on which way you are crossing and if you are a citizen of the nation your are crossing into. If you are an American citizen then the laws about search and seizure do apply so there are some limits. That said I don't think that these would in all likelihood violate those limits.

  • Re:Going or coming? (Score:3, Informative)

    by SilverHatHacker ( 1381259 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:25PM (#29534975)
    Come to Canada. They don't even ask you where you're from half the time.
  • Re:Going or coming? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Titoxd ( 1116095 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:35PM (#29535063) Homepage
    Not sure about Canada, but when driving to Mexico, they have what is essentially a glorified traffic light. If you get a green light, you are not searched and you are free to go. If you get a red light, you have to be pulled over to get your car search (usually just a cursory inspection). They care more about you not bringing stuff in without paying duties than about you being a spy, though. This approach is also reflected in waiting times: In the Douglas, AZ crossing, you would rarely wait more than a minute to go to Agua Prieta, Son., but you would need to wait a couple of hours while driving from Agua Prieta back into the US.
  • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:45PM (#29535149) Journal

    and probably up to 100 miles inland from the actual border, too. []

  • by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @07:51PM (#29535213) Homepage
    Just to clarify an oft-misunderstood point: GPS is a receiver thing. Your GPS unit need only receive signals from the satellites to identify your location. Your GPS unit does not ever have to transmit anything at all. A road-map-path-finding GPS navigation unit could conceivably contain all the map data and a processor powerful enough to do the path finding, and you could use it with every assurance that you were disclosing your location to no one. I have no idea whether or not GPS nav units on the market are so self contained, but nothing inherent about GPS involves the ability of anyone to track you.
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @08:06PM (#29535331)

    Where in the post did he say it wasn't?

    It's the prosecution's job to prove consipiracy, not the defendant's to prove it wasn't.

    Furthermore, conspiracy is between two or more people *who agree to break a law* Title 18 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 371. I only see one here. The law also states "and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy." Where is the planning with another person? Where is the follow through on any of it? Where is the cake? Where is the mens rea?

    I also see a violation of free speech should he be prosecuted for discussing what might happen.

    I am not a lawyer but this guy is. []

    And obviously I offended someone because I got modded "overrated," a chickenshit move.

    Anyone defending baudbarf's claim of conspiracy is a troll trying to chill legitimate free speech.


  • Re:YRO??!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @08:06PM (#29535333)

    Which is exactly why I'm never transiting through the US again.

    The same can be said for many countries. Ever flown through Ireland, not even as a final destination? It's worse than any American customs stop I've been through.

    It's not just the US. It's ANY country that sees "terrorism" as a threat. I've not been to Japan, but I've heard it's a treat there too.

  • Re:Going or coming? (Score:2, Informative)

    by hldn ( 1085833 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @08:09PM (#29535351) Homepage

    lies.. i had to stand at the canadian border for an hour while they searched all my stuff and every compartment in my car all while getting the third degree from two border guards.. then i had to go into the immigration building and spend another half hour convincing the woman in there that i was actually going to leave canada in under a week and not stay there permanently.

  • by bzzfzz ( 1542813 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @08:39PM (#29535539)
    I'm not planning on taking my Thinkpad X301 with the hardware-encrypted SSD over any borders for exactly this reason.

    But if it were more commonplace, they would lose interest. Border patrol operate like cops setting up speed traps. They don't care how many smart people slip through, they care about finding the technique that nets them the largest number of arrests. If it becomes pointless, they'll change it at a policy level.

  • RFID Tire Chips (Score:4, Informative)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:19PM (#29535745)
    You needn't worry about your GPS unit, ever since the Firestone tire debacle. The resulting law said that every tire needed to be able to be identified as being from Lot #X without being dismounted (prior to that lot numbers were printed on the inside of the tire). The manufacturers' solution was RFID chips with unique serial numbers embedded in every tire. Since a DEFCon competition was able to read RFID chips from 67 feet away with only slightly-modified off-the-shelf hardware one can only imagine how far away your tires can be read with custom hardware.
  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:42PM (#29535893)
    Since you seem to know, and I'm too lazy to hunt it down, where, precisely (article and section), in the US constitution is this "right" (I presume you really mean "power") given to the executive branch of the federal government?

    Yes, you're right, "power" as opposed to "right."

    Fourth Amendment...courts have ruled border searches (other than body/cavity searches, which still require a warrant) do not constitute illegal search and seizure.

    IANAL, but the case law is out there for those who want to research it. Remember, Customs was created the same year as the Constitution was ratified (1789), so there's over 300 years' worth of precedent.

  • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:46PM (#29535915)

    A friend of mine is customs and border patrol agent at a major international airport. During the course of the day a female co-worker out of the blue points out a person that she feels is suspect of something. What she didn't know but she made sure she handled his entry. So he gets to her line and she begins to search his personal belongings and finds a large CD book. Flipping through she finds a bunch of boot leg DVD movies. He claimed the book was his and that he had nothing "bad in there. But still she checked the label on each and every DVD. Boot leg DVD's aren't illegal to bring in as long as you posses only one of each as that counts as personal use. So toward the back of the CD book she finds a bunch of porn DVD's. No big deal except she notices two of the DVD's have pictures of kids on them. She questions the man as to why the movies were separated from the porn but those two weren't. He claimed he didn't know and she said to him "I hope this isn't what I think it is". She calls her supervisor who takes the suspect DVD's to a room where they can be examined and he comes back 10 minutes later and confirmed that both DVD's did in fact contain child porn. He was immediately placed under arrest for possession of child porn. Best part was he changed his mind and claimed he was bringing the CD book back for a friend which earlier he claimed was his. He is a US citizen so of course he will be charged and have his life ruined by megans law.

    Shows you how stupid some people really are. Had he altered the DVD labels or grouped it with the movies she would have never thought to check them. So yes there are plenty of idiots that get caught by customs trying to bring in contraband.

  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @09:52PM (#29535941)

    Smuggling information has to be the easiest "crime" ever imagined. One-time pad it and email it across the border. CC a copy to the NSA for all it matters.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @10:01PM (#29535989) Homepage Journal

    The Feds were given authority to regulate interstate commerce. Look it up - it's constitutional. You may or may not agree with a lot of legal decisions that have been made regarding that authority, but it has a basis in the constitution.

    Before you bellyache that Mexico and/or Country "X" is not a "state", perhaps you will want to look that up to. All sovereign nations are "states". So, if Country "X" ships any quantity of anything at all, including persons, to any member state of the United States, it is subject to interstate commerce regulations, enforced by the Fed.

    Get used to it.

  • Re:RFID Tire Chips (Score:5, Informative)

    by niteshifter ( 1252200 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:30AM (#29536971)

    .You needn't worry about your GPS unit, ever since the Firestone tire debacle. The resulting law said that every tire needed to be able to be identified as being from Lot #X without being dismounted (prior to that lot numbers were printed on the inside of the tire). The manufacturers' solution was RFID chips with unique serial numbers embedded in every tire.

    Uh, no. I work in the tire manufacture business. The lot ID has always been - and still is - available for inspection on the outside of the tire. We call this the "serial plate", it's mounted to the mold. Look for a series of letters / numbers bracketed by impressions of what looks like screw heads: that's the serial plate. It's near the bead area. Granted, it may be on the inboard side and may require you to crawl about with an inspection mirror (or put the vehicle up on a rack), but no need to dismount the tire. Tire lot ID's were never on the inside of a tire. What people see there are impressions of the cure press' bladder lot ID, a different thing entirely.

    What the law requires is for vehicle manufacturers to provide a way of reading tire pressures automatically and notifiying the vehicle operator of low and/or imbalanced tire pressures. The pressure transponder (an RFID-like device) is part of the valve assembly, not the tire.

    Various tire makers have experimented with placing RFID tags into tires but with little success. It's a very hostile environment (high temperatures and pressures) inside the material while the tire is being cured, tags don't survive it very well.

  • Re:YRO??!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by z80kid ( 711852 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @08:13AM (#29538131)

    There's been waaay too many documented cases of people buying guns (and I mean big guns, like assault rifles) legally in the US with their God-given 2nd ammendment right and smuggling them to the drug cartels here.

    When you say "and I mean big guns like assault rifles", it pretty much shows that you know nothing about firearms and US laws.

    The articles you link to all cite the "90% of guns traced to US" lie. 90% of the guns that are submitted for tacing are from the US. Only a small number of guns are submitted for tracing, because there's no point in submitting AKs from China and North Korea with no serial number to the ATF for tracing.

    Fully automatic guns (pull the trigger and they rattle off bullets) require a federal license with large yearly fees and an anal probe from the BATFE. They are rarely sold here and are exceptionally expensive. Even the gangs here don't buy them legally here. They smuggle them from overseas - it's way cheaper. I'm behind a censor here, but google "BATFE" and "class III license" to see what it takes to buy a machine gun.

    What the ill-informed such as yourself call "big guns - like assault rifles" are military-looking guns that have been altered so that they fire one bullet at a time. To make them or import them here, they must not be alterable to fully automatic fire.

    The articles you quote suggest a flood of guns from the US using faulty statistics, then go on to list a bunch of confiscated weapons that you cannot easily buy here. You can't get grenades and rocket launchers here. If they are able to smuggle those in from the third world, why would they pay US prices for rifles that aren't even full-auto? [] [] []

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian