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Canada Privacy Government Your Rights Online Politics

CBSA Reveals Some Laptop Search Info, But Not Much 151

gmcmullen writes "The Canada Border Service Agency took its time getting documents on its policy for border searches of laptops to the BC Civil Liberties Association in response to an Access to Information request the BCCLA filed in October 2009. When the reply did come through, there wasn't much there. The documents were heavily redacted and whole sections of the Access to Information request were ignored, including requests for information on the number of laptops searched and policies for copying data from electronic devices. We did learn that the CBSA knows that 500 megabytes is roughly equivalent to 'a pickup truck full of books,' and use Windows-only software called ICWhatUC to scan for images. Documents also revealed that the CBSA understands that most 'Japanese Anime' is not child pornography, and that your family photos (even with kids in the tub) aren't child pornography either. We've made the documents we did receive available online so you can see for yourself."
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CBSA Reveals Some Laptop Search Info, But Not Much

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  • by JorDan Clock ( 664877 ) <> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:12AM (#32095582)

    ...and that your family photos (even with kids in the tub) aren't child pornography either.

    Of course you'll wish they were confiscated when your parents decide to show them to anyone you date and embarrass you to no end.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by wrook ( 134116 )

      Actually, not that I want it to be, but why is this not child pornography? I'm not really familiar with the law, but just because you are the child's parent and not distributing the pictures widely, does it really mean that you can take nude pictures with impunity? At what point does it become child pornography? Also, does it stop with your own children? What if you took a picture or your neighbor's kids in the tub (with yours for instance). I mean, this has got to be a slipperier slope than cartoons o

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:39AM (#32095692)

        To put it simply:

        Kids who know nothing about sexual concepts having a bath != kids being forced to engage in sexually explicit activities

        Or even simpler:

        Bathing != fucking

        • So your law would be "It's not child porn if they're not engaged in sexual activity"?

          That's quite close to directly removing all CP laws.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Oh really? Some people can beat it off to grandmothers dance rehearsals and girls in tight jeans on the street. Lets declare that illegal too.

            This sort of insanity does not protect anyone.
            IMHO, what should be a focus of such laws is the amount of pictures in ones possession. 2-3 bathtub pictures of 1 or two kids you have some natural connection to is quite normal. 100+ pictures of strange nude kids on the beach is not. Heck, even 100+ pictures of fully clothed kids going to school warrant an investiga
            • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:25AM (#32095892)

              100+ pictures of fully clothed kids going to school

              That's a good way to catch people who are creepy but seems somewhat disconnected from the justification for CP laws- ie child abuse.

              Is the goal to lock up child abusers?
              it should be.

              Lock up anyone who might become a child abuser?

              Or just lock of everyone who is creepy in any way for being creepy?
              This seems to be the reality and what the majority(especially parents) seem to want.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                You would need to lock up half the population on this planet and put the rest as guards.
                Yes, it really is that bad. Only a small percentage however actually ever commit a crime against a real child, and even that means more molested kids you ever imagine.

                And its the people you least expect to commit this crime. Priests, people in trust of the family, your brother, youth workers etc... Bathtub photos have nothing to do with it. 99% of actual child abuse results in 0 photos and a handful of confused memo
              • by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl@e x c> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:18AM (#32096958) Journal

                Lock up anyone who might become a child abuser?

                I don't downmod for disagreeing, but I sure came awfully close here, especially with as high up as this was modded. I think it requires a response, though.

                Locking up anyone who "might" become a criminal would require locking us all up. Time and time again, the person that was "always so nice" or "was a little quiet but seemed harmless" commit horrible crimes. On the other hand, time and time again, the person that seems really nice is nice, and the person who's quiet and a little eccentric really is harmless.

                I could wind up killing someone, or abusing children, or starting up the next Madoff-style ripoff tomorrow. I have no intent of doing any of those things, but you have no way to verify that's actually true. Of course, I can't verify that you won't do them either, so both of us might. Guess they better lock both of us up.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by sabt-pestnu ( 967671 )

                Lock up anyone who might become a child abuser?

                In a word, no.

                By the same rationale, you would lock up every male on the planet for being a potential rapist.

            • The justification for Child Porn laws is that every photo is a record of an act of child abuse.

              Now the children probably don't particularly like being sent to school, but I don't think any reasonable adult would consider it an act of child abuse.

              • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                every picture of the burning twin towers is a record of international terrorism, but there aren't any laws against possessing those images. in fact, after sept 11, you couldn't ESCAPE those images.

                the idea that possessing an image - ANY image - is a "crime" has never sat well with me, no matter what "justification" is used.

                images are not "crimes".

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Artifakt ( 700173 )

                  The photos in circulation of the twin towers attack weren't taken as part of the terrorism. They weren't taken by the terrorists themselves, or by accomplices to their crime. There was no plan to take photos as a means of either making money for the terrorists or encouraging others to start doing terrorist acts and send more photos to the terrorists in exchange.
                  You can't claim any of the same points about child pornography, and that's the justification. Note, not the "justification", but the

                  • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

                    a witness to child rape is at the very least an accessory.

                    It's that kind of short-circuit thinking which sends innocents to jail or worse. Since when did a witness have to be willing?

                    In countries where even being associated with the concept is ruinous, where the mere existence of a cartoon is treated as a terrible crime, where intent is deliberately ignored by the law, how many would actually dare take a photo to bear witness against a pedophile and risk being accused as an accessory?

                    For shame, indeed.


                    • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

                      Uh, what? You appear to be pulling an imaginary example out of nowhere to somehow "prove" this bizarre idea that to be able to take photos of pedophilia a person MUST be in on it?

                      When a pedo rapes a child, he doesn't do it in public or where anyone can snap a picture of it.

                      Kindly google "child sex abuse caught tape".

                      Care to jump off to any more conclusions?

                  • The photos in circulation of the twin towers attack weren't taken as part of the terrorism. They weren't taken by the terrorists themselves, or by accomplices to their crime. There was no plan to take photos as a means of either making money for the terrorists or encouraging others to start doing terrorist acts and send more photos to the terrorists in exchange.

                    It's not illegal to possess or redistribute the various beheading videos from Iraq or Chechnya, even though they were definitely intentionally taken "as part of terrorism" and by terrorists themselves.

                • There is no suggestion that people are committing terrorist attacks to satisfy a demand for pictures of these attacks, whereas there are suggestions that child abuse takes place to satisfy a demand for child porn.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by DM9290 ( 797337 )

                The justification for Child Porn laws is that every photo is a record of an act of child abuse.

                Now the children probably don't particularly like being sent to school, but I don't think any reasonable adult would consider it an act of child abuse.

                This is not the justification for Child Porn laws in Canada. Canadian child porn laws include drawings, and photographs of adults depicted as children, audio recordings and written material including entirely fictional narratives that involved no actual children in any way in their production.

                no children need to have been involved in the production of Canadian child pornography. The justification that the court found is that the person who sees child porn might as a result suffer a "cognitive distortion" as

            • Some people can beat it off to grandmothers dance rehearsals and girls in tight jeans on the street.

              That's... specific... Have much experience in this area?

          • by Diantre ( 1791892 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:48AM (#32095990)
            This is, in fact, the law in most countries (UK and the US, at least). Photos of nude children just being "nude children", without sexual intent in the picture, are legal. For it to be considered "Child Pornography", there has to be sexual activity or suggestive content.
            • ...there has to be sexual activity or suggestive content.

              Now we come back to the problem of deciding what constitutes "suggestive content."

              One man's harmless baby picture of his nude infant daughter is another man's child pornography. Maybe your bathing suit-clad daughter spread her legs and faced the camera at the exact moment you took the picture. The laws as-is don't make any sense, especially while there are sex-offender registries but not murderer registries. It's as if the people who make the law

            • by wrook ( 134116 )

              That's interesting. I actually live in Japan, where drawings of children engaged in sexual activity aren't illegal. However I was surprised when I read the first volume of Inu Yasha (a manga that is also popular in the US) to see a nude picture of the main female character bathing. As she is meant to be 14, I wondered if it would be considered child porn in the states. There isn't anything particularly suggestive about it. She's just bathing in a lake.

              On the other hand it's rather dangerous to have aro

          • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:06AM (#32096854) Homepage

            Absolutely right! Most so-called CP laws should be rescinded, because they have nothing whatsoever to do with CP.

            The original purpose of CP laws was to protect children from sexual abuse. They were never meant to prevent parents from taking pictures of their kids playing at the waterpark; they should not force parents to undergo background checks before they can set foot in their kids' kindergarten, etc, etc. All of these extensions come at the price of the rights and freedom of the vast majority of innocent people, and do nothing whatsoever to prevent real crime.

            Politicians and helicopter parents have pushed this whole area so far beyond common sense that we actually have people (like the poster below) who think the police should get involved if you have several dozen pictures of clothed children! As a coach of a kids team, as a school teacher, or maybe as a grandparent with lots of grandkids, am I going to get a very special interview? Gee, thanks...

            If someone forces a child to do something sexual, that is a crime. The original CP laws said: if you purchase a picture of a sexual crime involving a minor, that too is a crime. The justification here is: even though the purchaser had nothing to do with the original crime, by criminalizing purchase, one might be able to dry up the market that supports the original crimes. This original idea was extended to cover possession (not just purchase), which already strays from the original justification.

            In recent years, it has been stretched beyond all reason. It makes no sense at all to prohibit innocent pictures (i.e., kids taking a bath, kids at the beach), nor to prohibit activities that do not even involve children (like tasteless cartoons). This is legislating "good taste" and has nothing at all to do with either children or with crime prevention.

            • Bah, you make it sound like we should simply outlaw child sexual abuse and the production, purchase and sale of pictures of such and leave the topic at that. Possibly make an exception for older "children" producing pictures of themselves for private noncommercial distribution (teenagers sending pictures of themselves to their BF/GF). We can't do that, it'd make some kind of sense!

              Now, to plant CP on politician's machines so they'll agree... =p

      • If the person who's deicding if it's child porn likes you then it's fine.
        If they don't like you then it's child porn and you can enjoy being on the sex offenders register.

        • I would mod you up but I don't have any points.
          You nicely sum it up, though I have one addition:
          The default state is to call it CP, thus:

          If the person who's deciding if it's child porn likes you then it's fine.
          If they don't like you then it's child porn and you can enjoy being on the sex offenders register.
          If they don't know you then it's child porn and you can enjoy being on the sex offenders register.

      • You're not so much naive as just ignorant of what the laws and precedents actually say. Nudity is not enough to make it a form of obscenity (in the US, at least). The SCOTUS and actual letter of the law are clear on this, the former, in part because obscenities by their very nature have "no artistic or scientific merit" as recognized by the federal judiciary and must appeal the to the "prurient nature." That means it must lack any independent merit AND be aimed at appealing to the lustful side of humanity.

      • The story is about Canada, so none of what I write below is direcly applicable. I've also written enough on this in the past on Slashdot for people to think I'm weird, so I'll keep this short. However, if you're interested in the way things work in the U.S., here's my perspective.

        In the U.S., the definition of child porn is very flexible. Very. The definition isn't just in the statutes, it's in the case law. There are tests and ambiguity a-plenty.

        Functionally, anything is child porn if the prosecut

      • by elgaard ( 81259 )

        In 2008 a photo on the front page of a local paper in Denmark was censored. It showed some children playing in a garden, one of them a naked two year old boy. The photo was taken by the mother of some of the children and she was annoyed because she felt that the censors had turned an innocent family photo into something sexual.

        It was part of the papers photo competition.

        Apparently it was the the people operating the physical printing press that demanded that the photo should be censored!. []

  • Ok, if we're going to work with a blacklist, it'd be nice to actually have it. I don't mind starting the query for completion:

    Check to include in blacklist:
    - Non japanese anime.
    - Family pictures of close friends with kids.
    - Paintings.
    - Family pictures of friends you should call more often but don't.
    - 3D Computer generated renderings.
    - Family pictures of work mates you drink beers with, from time to time.

    • - naughty pictures teens a have taken of themselves to send to their bf/gf
      Criminalizing kids for this is retarded IMHO.
      • I've run into people who honestly support criminalizing kids for that.

        It's a result of the mindset that

        *pedophiles viewing pictures of you* = *the same as rape*

        and as such if there exists the posibility that a picture you take of yourself might make its way onto the net and be viewed by pedophiles then they're *protecting you from something as bad as rape*.

        "what if pedophiles get hold of the pictures!" is apparently a genuine justification in some peoples minds for utterly ruining some kids life since being

      • Criminalizing kids for this is retarde

        Were you expecting an element of sanity in government? YMBNH!

    • Re:Blacklist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:19AM (#32096416)

      As someone whose been held and interrogated by Canadian customs for 3 hours a few years back I can give you a brief idea of what they check for, but I'll start by giving some details.

      I'm a white British male and was 23 at the time. I was travelling by myself to visit a friend in Ottawa, it was Ottawa airport I landed at. I do not believe therefore there was any racial profiling as I'm not aware that people who are White British are seen as a particularly suspect group. In terms of digital devices I had a laptop and digital camera with me, as well as an old Creative Zen MP3 player full of MP3s, which I'll admit weren't legit, and I'd left a CDR with Windows XP on it in my laptop case which was actually used for a legit install (volume license).

      I was asked many questions multiple times, presumably to try and trip me up, but specifically the following occured:

      - I was asked where I lived, my age, profession and so forth

      - I was asked how much money I have on my person

      - I was asked how much money I had in savings, as well as how much I had access to on my card

      - I was asked if my laptop or camera had any bestiality images on them

      - I was asked if my laptop or camera had any other types of pornographic images on

      - I was asked whether I intended to do any business in Canada, they seemed to press this question as they pushed it multiple times, in multiple ways

      - I was asked where I was going in Canada and who and how many people I would be meeting, I said apart from my friend I was due to visit I had no plans to visit anyone else specifically. I mentioned I had no specific plans to go anywhere but it was likely we'd go to Montreal or to the Niagara falls, they absolutely did not like the fact I had no fixed itinerary and pushed me hard on this for about 45 minutes. They asked things such as why I didn't have an itinerary planned before hand, they asked why I even came to Canada, when I answered because I have a friend there and like travelling they responded with comments such as "Well I like travelling too, but I always plan where I'm going".

      - They asked me to log in to my laptop and let them check it so I did as I had nothing incriminating on there, they simply did a search through my browser history and searched for *.jpg, *.avi and the likes. What is of real concern is that they dissapeared with my laptop for about 20 minutes. I have no idea what they did during this time, but I'd only recently done a fresh install on the laptop so short of Windows, Office, one or two games, there was little to find. They did find a soft-porn image from a pop up in my browser cache which they questioned me about, and called me a liar over for telling them previously I had no porn on the laptop.

      - They asked a few times if I had a criminal record, when I responded no, they insisted I shouldn't lie and that they could check with the British police, to which I simply responded that they were welcome to do so to confirm I wasn't lying

      - It's worth noting that they didn't seem to care that I was texting away on my mobile phone to my friend to explain why the fuck I hadn't yet got through customs as they were waiting for me in the airport whilst they were dissapearing back and forth. My friend told me they'd been out and spoken to him to ask about me too- he's got dual British-Canadian citizenship and I don't think that as a Canadian citizen he was too impressed they were questioning him in the manner they were too.

      - They interviewed me both informally at the customs desk, and formally in an interview room covering the sort of questions mentioned above

      - They did a search of my luggage, but it was very half-assed, they opened it, asked if I had any sharp objects, turned a couple of pairs of jeans over and then closed it again- hardly a thorough search

      - Interestingly they had no interest in the contents of my MP3 player, they found the Windows XP CDR and didn't even question it.

      - They used threats, initially subtle, the male questioning me fir

      • by garcia ( 6573 )

        I crossed from MN into Canada for a geocaching trip mainly based in Winnipeg. We were detained at the border for over an hour and witnessed their dealings with three individuals heading to Winnipeg for a wedding. All three had criminal records including indecent exposure, DWI, and something else which I do not remember. They all lied to the border agents. After being admonished for doing so they were permitted to continue on into Canada without having their vehicle searched.

        In our case they split us all up

        • Basically, in other words, Canada's border agents are dicks.

          There are plenty of dickheads in that line of work on both sides of the border, but in my personal experience, they seem to be concentrated more on the American side. Note that if you are an American or Canadian citizen, then you do get preferential treatment when crossing to your side of the border, so direct comparison is not particularly meaningful (I'm not a citizen or permanent resident of either country, though I do reside in Canada).

      • When you say "2am our time", do you mean 2am GMT, or 2am Ottawa time? there's a 5h difference, and I know from experience that the High Commission in Ottawa is still working/operating at 9pm local time... in fact, I'm going to be there tomorrow evening for an event that doesn't end until after 9, and again on Monday for a meeting.

        It's hindsight, of course, but I do agree that you should have asked for consular help. You also have a right not to be held without charge in Canada, but if you'd exercised that r

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by JimWise ( 1804930 )
        Seems pretty obvious to me why they grilled you so much. Anyone crossing the boarder named "Anonymous Coward" is bound to spark suspicion, whether that name is included on the No-Fly List or not.
      • If I had to guess, there was a law enforcement bulletin for someone who either looked like you or who shared the same name as you. The criminal record questions give it away.
      • by kent_eh ( 543303 )
        My Guess:
        you either look like someone they have a specific interest in, or your name is similar to (or being used by) someone that they have a specific interest in.

        Or the dice landed wrong for you that day.
  • So my jobs requires encrypted drives, and in addition I use Linux. What should I tell them when they want to search my drive ? "I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to let you snoop in that, please see my boss."...? Way to end in the slammer either way.
    • So my jobs requires encrypted drives, and in addition I use Linux. What should I tell them when they want to search my drive ?

      Do you really need encrypted drives? Couldn't you use encrypted partitions?

      What I mean is: Does it impact your job to add a deniability level to your encrypted data?

      Because "That's just empty space" is a quite good defense, if done properly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonbryce ( 703250 )

        "It's my work computer, I don't understand all this technical stuff" is probably a better defence.

        • by dargaud ( 518470 )
          "And what do you do at work, sir?"... "I'm a... cough... software engineer" would probably kind of defeat the purpose.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Play dumb. One problem geeks seem to have in these situations is they are so high on their horse they have to act like freaking experts of everything all the time.
      Just do exactly what the agent says, complying 100%, but don't offer any advice or claim any insight into what is going on at all beyond your legal responsibilities. If you use whole disk encryption, you are probably required to type in the key for that but beyond that ignorance will get you far. When they say "Oh, you run Linux?", say "Um, at my
    • 1:Pretty much though a good bet is to try to have some hard-copy paperwork stating that your laptop contains confidential company info.

      2:Add some serious looking messeges at the boot screen about confidentiality and claims that imply that viewing anything on the laptop with less than 5 company lawyers present would lead to them getting in trouble with their bosses bosses boss.

      3:Best solution: just temporarily uninstall the GUI package.

    • Some jobs require locking hard drives in addition to encryption. It could be interesting.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Comply. Or end up in the slammer. If you end up in the slammer anyway, that's not your fault.

      Or avoid the entire situation and boycott the country / carrying laptops through customs which is what almost anyone I know that knows IT and works internationally does now. The only solution is to not have anything, because even a non-Windows login screen can make an idiot suspicious. You're not allowed to have "non-functioning" machines because they make you demo them operating, so having a blank drive is out.

    • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sabriel ( 134364 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:05AM (#32098476)

      Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. It is my opinion. If you're really worried, seek out a lawyer.

      First things first - if a border guard wants you to turn it on, do so. Generally, unless the guards find you interesting, all they want is to see is that it's harmless (i.e. that you're not nervous, that it turns on, and nothing blows up). They're just doing their job, just like you're doing yours.

      What is your company's policy on border searches of company equipment? Oh, your company doesn't have a policy? Then let your boss know that until there is one, you'll obey any lawful orders the guards give you (which, you not knowing any better, will include "log in past the encryption").

      That said, you could investigate whether unauthorised computer access is illegal (i.e. an actual crime) in your country / the countries you plan to visit. One of my past employers had a nice big login message warning that unauthorised access to their particular network was a federal offence punishable by up to ten years in prison. If your login comes with a valid legal warning of ten in the pen, and you're not authorised to log in for them, you simply say "sorry, I'm not authorised to log you in, I can't go any further". They can still confiscate it, but they can't order you to commit a felony (well, they could, but that's probably when you politely ask for their supervisor/commander).

      Other things you can do:

      First, on "play dumb", since that got suggested by another poster. While not bad advice in general when dealing with bored authorities, don't confuse "play dumb" with "play stupid". If your papers say you're a scientist/engineer/etc, acting like a clueless newb about the contents of your laptop is going to make any competent officer suspicious. Just be a polite, mild-mannered version of your normal self.

      Dilbert Option: Call the embassies of whatever countries you're passing through (including your own) and ask them the rules on business laptops/drives with encrypted content (e.g. "Hi, I'm Bob from Acme Corp, can you send us a copy of your border regulations for travellers carrying encrypted business laptops? And an executive summary would be fantastic for my boss, too."). Compare with company policy for potential problems, just in case Legal screwed up or had out-of-date info. Whatever. Tell your boss/Legal about any of those. C.Y.A..

      Kenobi Option: keep an unencrypted eye-candy partition on the drive as the default boot volume (e.g. Windows or OSX or Ubuntu or anything else that says "boring GUI-based OS here, these aren't the droids you're looking for"). Use it enough to look "lived in", but don't surf/keep anything NSFW on it. If the guard is alert enough to notice the encrypted partition, he's also smart enough to understand when you explain the encrypted partition is confidential company data that you can't log into without authorisation (if he disagrees, proceed as above, with offer to call his/your boss etcetera).

      FedEx Option: normal boring drive in laptop, encrypted drives sent by courier/post to your destination. Let someone else worry about border searches (just check first that you're not breaking any crazy rules about "exporting munitions" or whatever).

      Look Ma No Hands Option: nothing secret on the drives, use the company VPN over SSL or something. Pray they have decent bandwidth if you need to download anything big.

      But it bears repeating that, yeah, border guards have a lot of power. Be polite, go with the flow, and remember that losing your laptop (or even your job) is usually preferable to some foreign prison hellhole.

  • No, no, no. It's a series of tubes.

    • No no.
      They were talking about a flash drive full of ebooks about tubes carried by the driver of a pickup truck.

    • No, no, no. It's a series of tubes.

      And what did you think goes throught the tubes?

      Pickup trucks! Full of books!

  • The only software I have on my laptop is OpenVPN. All I do once connected is VPN in and RDP to my workstation.

  • They seemed to enjoy their jobs. True story.

  • Unfortunately... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:40AM (#32095952)

    The sad thing about all this is that when a government department or agency decides to thumb their nose at a Freedom of Information Request, few groups have the time and money to fight them all the way to the Supreme Court. And when they get there, the likelihood of a costs/damages finding big enough to really hurt the government is almost non-existent.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pardon, but why the hell should the Canadian gov't and its arms give a bloody red cent about a U.S. law and the supreme court of another country think?

      (Catpcha: disaster)

      • I guess you're unaware that Canada has a Supreme Court, and it's already schooled the Harper government a time or two. If I'd meant the US Supreme Court, I'd have said so.

  • your own fault (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:46AM (#32095982) Journal

    Refuse to cross borders which have unreasonable search policies.

    If you don't, you're implicitly accepting them. It's your fault.

    If that means you have to stay in your country entirely, so be it. Many people survive while staying in their own country.

    If you lackeys would give up some of your iToys for a moment and stand up for what's right, even if it means a slight loss of comfort, the government would be forced to change.

    Yes, I've stopped travelling by air. Yes, I've stopped travelling to America. I did both frequently and willingly before the post-11/9 intrusions, and loved going to the US. But I think in the long run it'll help both my country and yours if I make a stand, as long as others follow.

    • Depends if they even know the reason why you are not travelling.

      Two Americans stayed with me recently, they were genuinely surprised that if I enter the USA I would get fingerprinted and eye-scanned. One of the main reasons I refuse to transit through the USA.
      • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
        Same thing happens if you travel to Japan. I would say it's pretty common around the world now.
      • One thing that does surprise me is that I have yet to get fingerprinted / eye-scanned while travelling from Canada to the US. I am on my second NAFTA work permit for occasional work in the states and in the past 2 years on about 20 trips half personal and half work related I have not once been fingerprinted or eye scanned. Sometimes I wonder if it is because of the work permit, but when travelling with my family for personal business they don't get scanned either.
    • by afxgrin ( 208686 )

      " I did both frequently and willingly before the post-11/9 intrusions, and loved going to the US. But I think in the long run it'll help both my country and yours if I make a stand, as long as others follow."

      Yeah it won't make a difference, so you better get used to it. All the people doing business usually have no choice but to travel by air or to America. They'll basically be the reason why all of this won't change.

      • Stop being so defeatist.

        They do have the choice to innovate better methods of communicating without having to physically travel. Cheaper and faster than travelling. Produced some cool tech like the Interweb.

    • This article is about (or "aboot") Canadian customs. Apparently, the mods don't even read the article summaries, either.
    • Yes, I've stopped travelling by air Yes, I've stopped travelling to America. I did both frequently and willingly before the post-11/9 intrusions, and loved going to the US. But I think in the long run it'll help both my country and yours if I make a stand, as long as others follow.

      You realize this article's about Canada, right? I realize not traveling by air probably precludes you visiting them, but you should add them to your list just to be safe.

  • ICWhatUC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:55AM (#32096042) Homepage

    Can't get over the cheapy-ten-dollar shareware that is the program they use to look for infringing material. I've probably written better software that does the same job *accidentally* while working on other projects.

    • Yeh, that program is pretty damn pathetic. []

    • The question is, how does one get a piece of software chosen for a job like this?

      If the government is paying for crap like this anyway, it'd be nice if a cut were coming my way - I'm sure many of us here on /. are more than capable of putting together a better tool for the job (not to mention a website that doesn't look like it was put together by a colourblind child in 1997).

      • by ledow ( 319597 )

        From my experience in the UK educational sector, the answer would be something like "Be a cousin of the person who gets to decide what software to use, and hope that the committee that he's supposed to answer to are all his golf-buddies and/or in constant fear of their jobs if they question authority." You'd be amazed what can be done when that's true.

        Speaking as someone who once saw an entire multi-million pound IT project given to a team of Army personnel because they had a gap in their schedule, needed

    • The interesting part is that while it's billed as Windows-only, the screenshots reveal that it's a Java app (or at least an app with a Java interface - check the icon in the upper-left corner of the window). It should be multiplatform; I guess we can just be thankful it's not.

  • Just load up a goatese desktop, throw in the "Hey everybody I'm looking at porn" audio clip and stuff the hard drive with goatese/tubgirl images.

    • Unfortunately here the old motto from my home country counts: Maybe that would work on humans. But the SS are not humans. They don’t understand the concept of a “joke”.

  • Do they make any effort to see what Mp3's/music audio you have stored on your computer? Traveling with a hard drive full of p3's makes it a bit hard to prove you have all of the CD's sitting at home (assuming format-shifting is legal in canada)
  • ....The current Conservative government in Canada promised to be more open and accountable to it's citizens. Just take a look at this YouTube video with Prime Minister Stephen Harper [] in it to see what I'm talking about. But it seems that they are practicing the exact opposite. Just look at this issue and another burning issue in Canada involving documents relating to how Canada handled Afghan prisoner transfers [] and the Conservatives unwillingness to hand them over to Parliament. This is even more troublesom

  • FTFA written material constitutes child porn. "A 12 year old fucked a 20 year old" I am now guilty of creating CP! arrest me!
    • by zill ( 1690130 )
      I found your writing contained considerable artistic merit so it doesn't count as CP.
      • Unfortunately the artistic merit idea only counts when you're deciding whether it's legal to ban adult material as obscene. Other laws entirely judge CP.
  • Windows Only? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ltap ( 1572175 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:18PM (#32099854) Homepage
    I'm surprised that no one picked up on this, even though the discussion charged directly into the CP issue (perennial for /., I'm afraid.) If the scanning software they use is Windows-only, what would they do with a Linux (or even just a Mac) user? Unless the software comes packaged with drivers for various Unix and Unix-based filesystems, what will they do when it won't scan?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by joe_frisch ( 1366229 )

      Hopefully they will just threaten you until you provide passwords.

      Its clear that only criminals would use an operating system other than windows.

  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:34PM (#32102462) Homepage Journal

    We did learn that the CBSA knows that 500 megabytes is roughly equivalent to 'a pickup truck full of books,' and use Windows-only software called ICWhatUC to scan for images.

    Nice try to relate to us slashdotters but that is not one of our standard units of measure. I mean, what kind of pickup is it; a subaru Brat/Baja, a Chevrolet El Camino, a Ford Ranger, or a Ford F-350 - and is it long bed or short bed, fleet side or step side? Is there a cap over the bed and is the space filled to the top?

    Better yet, please convert the amount in the unit of either "volkswagens' or "libraries of congress." Other units of measure confuse us.


"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger