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Government Encryption Privacy Security United States Politics

Homeland Security Border Agents Can Seize Your Phone (cnn.com) 319

Slashdot reader v3rgEz writes: A Wall Street Journal reporter has shared her experienced of having her phones forcefully taken at the border -- and how the Department of Homeland Security insists that your right to privacy does not exist when re-entering the United States. Indeed, she's not alone: Documents previously released under FOIA show that the DHS has a long-standing policy of warrantless (and even motiveless) seizures at the border, essentially removing any traveler's right to privacy.
"The female officer returned 30 minutes later and said I was free to go," according to the Journal's reporter, adding. "I have no idea why they wanted my phones..."
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Homeland Security Border Agents Can Seize Your Phone

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  • Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2016 @10:42AM (#52570293)

    Keep your phone encrypted and always power it off when crossing the border. They can seize your phone but can't compel you to decrypt it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Same goes for your computers and any hard drives or usb sticks. They are allowed to copy all its contents. So better use encryption for those as well, and power off your computers so that they can't do cold boot attacks or hijack some internal bus to read out the decryption key.

      Either way, if its really important you should use burner hardware anyway, as they can always insert some backdoor into the hardware, nobody prevents them from that and the laws allow it in certain cases.

      • Same goes for your computers and any hard drives or usb sticks.

        I bring a cheap chrome book to check email, browse the web, etc. My chrome book is much cheaper than an iPad. I don't need to bring my dev laptop if that's all I'm going to do with it. When traveling on business internationally I bring my older dev laptop, its slower but if lost its not that much of a loss.

        I do Android development so a Samsung a generation or two behind is always available since I have those for testing and if lost they are easily replaced. Just need a local SIM card upon arrival.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly this. In this era of a complete disregard for the 4th amendment, anyone NOT using strong encryption on all their electronics: phones, desktop computers, laptops, etc, is asking for this. Even worse, they're enabling it, because it teaches the authorities that this kind of seizure works.

      How many times do we need to see the same thing happen before we learn?

      Encrypt everything. Turn it off before getting anywhere near the airport, or when anywhere near police. Leave it off until you get to your des

      • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:22PM (#52570731)

        Exactly this. In this era of a complete disregard for the 4th amendment ...

        I agree there is disregard for the 4th amendment but this is NOT the case to argue that. US Customs has *always* been allowed to search your person and property at a border crossing since the founding days of our republic. What may be arguable in this case is that a TSA agent did the search not a Customs agent. Of course "deputizing" TSA as customs agents would close that loophole.

        Is there any government on earth that does not have the right to search the person and property of an international traveler when they cross the border? Note "international traveler", within the EU you are no longer an international traveler, but when originally entering the EU from outside you were.

        And by at the border I am referring to at the border, not 100 miles inside. That is a different situation IMO.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The problem is the border patrol agents are allowing foreign citizens to enter the county at will, while harassing and intimidating the USAian citizens. Drugs can come in freely, but if you have dog food re-entering the USA from Canada without the appropriate documentation and certification, they will hold you up against the wall and ass rape you. The border patrol agents do not patrol the border to protect it. They patrol it to harass, intimidate, and demand fees of the citizens of the USA. It is easi

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I agree there is disregard for the 4th amendment but this is NOT the case to argue that. US Customs has *always* been allowed to search your person and property at a border crossing since the founding days of our republic.

          That's actually a misunderstanding of a fundamental characteristic of US law.

          The law authorizing search was passed by Congress PRIOR to the Bill of Rights and was NEVER compliant with the Bill of Rights. It was not complaint when it was written, and it has never been brought into compliance.

          Further, some of the current policies can never be brought into compliance with the Bill of Rights: rights such as the right to privacy arise under the 9th Amendment (rights retained by the people) and the 10th Amendmen

          • by SeattleLawGuy ( 4561077 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @07:54PM (#52572455)

            The First Congress obviously considered border searches reasonable because they authorized searching every room and every item of a ship for contraband. They (or a significant overlap) also wrote the Fourth Amendment, prohibiting "unreasonable" search and seizure. Thus under an originalist view and a traditional view, there is a very low expectation of privacy at the border, and Fourth Amendment rights are very small there.

            They are not quite nonexistent. For example, I believe there was a case a little while ago saying that if they wanted to do a destructive search of your vehicle, they needed reasonable suspicion. RS is a very, very low standard, but it is a standard.

            There is a more legitimate dispute about searching the contents of electronic devices. (Because it is more intrusive, since they can contain massive amounts of information about your life.) But regarding the border search exception generally, GP is correct that there has always been a strong border search exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement. And since the rise of modern warfare, there's really been no legitimate argument against that. (Nations have an existential interest in controlling the movement of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.)

    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @10:59AM (#52570359) Homepage

      They can't compel you but they could hold you in jail for a while.

      • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Informative)

        by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:38PM (#52570817)

        Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion. Even then, the duration of the detention must be limited to the time necessary to confirm or dispel that suspicion. And even if there is reasonable suspicion, under no circumstances can the duration exceed 48 hours without a judicial hearing.

        See this handy guide [PDF] [fas.org] for more details and lots of citations. Or here's a quote for the lazy:

        There appear to be no âoehard-and-fast time limitsâ that automatically transform what would otherwise be a routine search into a non-routine search, nor render a non-routine search conducted under the reasonable suspicion standard unconstitutional. Rather, courts consider âoewhether the detention of [the traveler] was reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified it initially.â In order to provide perspective, the 16-hour detention in Montoya de Hernandez was considered a non-routine search (justifiable by reasonable suspicions), while a one-hour vehicular search did not require reasonable suspicion. The Second Circuit has characterized four- to six-hour-long detentions of individuals suspected of having terrorist ties as routine.

        However, the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Adekunle concluded that the government must, within a reasonable time (generally within 48 hours), seek a judicial determination that reasonable suspicion exists to detain a suspect for an extended period of time.

        • Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion. Even then, the duration of the detention must be limited to the time necessary to confirm or dispel that suspicion. And even if there is reasonable suspicion, under no circumstances can the duration exceed 48 hours without a judicial hearing.

          You honestly believe TSA have ever read that or care about it?

          • by Intron ( 870560 )

            Josh Wolf served 226 days for refusing to give up information.

            • Josh Wolf served 226 days for failure to comply with a subpoena issued by a district court judge pursuant to a court ordered entered into during a grand jury investigation. His case in no way involved a border search. And right or wrong, it has no bearing on this topic.

              What we were discussing here was border searches and what sort of searches and seizures agents can carry out without any judicial hearing. Like what sort of searches can be carried out and what sort of limits on the duration of said searches

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Refusing to enter your password is reasonable suspicion. You are clearly hiding something.

        • Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion. Even then, the duration of the detention must be limited to the time necessary to confirm or dispel that suspicion. And even if there is reasonable suspicion, under no circumstances can the duration exceed 48 hours without a judicial hearing.

          You do realise you're talking about an agency here which effectively has established that they will ignore constitutional rights, right?

          • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

            Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion.

            Searches of papers and belongings for evidence are also supposed to be based on a reasonable suspicion.

        • by Copid ( 137416 )

          Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion. Even then, the duration of the detention must be limited to the time necessary to confirm or dispel that suspicion. And even if there is reasonable suspicion, under no circumstances can the duration exceed 48 hours without a judicial hearing.

          Exactly. So expect to spend 47 hours and 59 minutes in jail and don't expect and apology after you pay a lawyer to help get you out.

        • Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion.

          Lol, you must be unfamiliar with the TSA, and the way American police authorities in general conduct their day-to-day business.

          In theory, you're correct. In reality, they do whatever the fuck they want, when they want, and the way they want. If you manage to survive the experience you're welcome to spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in court in an attempt to seek redress for your grievances.

          You'll win about 0.05% of the time, but that doesn't mean you'll actually get any money or effect any

      • They can't compel you but they could hold you in jail for a while.

        No, if they sent you to a jail you wouldn't be on the border any more. If they keep you on the border you are in legal limbo. They'll just keep you in a tiny holding cell, eating airline food, for several months until you decide to comply.

      • I mentioned this a few years ago and will mention it again. This is how to legitimately say that you can't decrypt your files, even though actually you can. If your laptop is seized and they want you to decrypt the TrueCrypt drive for them, do the following. (Yes, I know TrueCrypt is no longer supported; assume you're using the next-to-last version before they pulled it from the market.)

        Agent: "What's this encrypted drive?"
        You: "It's for work. It's confidential."
        Agent: "Well, decrypt it, please. What'

    • Oh, how naive. OF COURSE THEY CAN compel you to give up your encryption password/key. It is trivial and occurs simply by denying you entry to the country until you comply.

    • Wouldn't work (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2016 @11:44AM (#52570561)

      No, they'd just bug her SIM card, and it would grab all her contacts the next time she switches on the phone.

      https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/02/gopherset_nsa_e.html

      (TS//SI//REL) GOPHERSET is a software implant for GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. This implant pulls Phonebook, SMS, and call log information from a target handset and exfiltrates it to a user-defined phone number via short message service (SMS).

      (TS//SI//REL) Modern SIM cards (Phase 2+) have an application program interface known as the SIM Toolkit (STK). The STK has a suite of proactive commands that allow the SIM card to issue commands and make requests to the handset. GOPHERSET uses STK commands to retrieve the requested information and to exfiltrate data via SMS. After the GOPHERSET file is compiled, the program is loaded onto the SIM card using either a Universal Serial Bus (USB) smartcard reader or via over-the-air provisioning. In both cases, keys to the card may be required to install the application depending on the service provider's security configuration.

      ************

      The SIM card keys keys they stole 2 billion of them from Gemalto, the SIM card manufacturer, by hacking their network and tracking their employees. If it's a USA phone, they would just ask AT&T or Sprint to give them the SIM card key, US telcos have immunity for helping the NSA, regardless of the laws.

    • by stooo ( 2202012 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:46PM (#52570843)

      The US government doesn't want us going to this crazy country, and get some tourist and travel economy going.
      So we'll travel elsewhere.
      Don't travel to US.

    • Keep your phone encrypted and always power it off when crossing the border. They can seize your phone but can't compel you to decrypt it.

      They can keep you in detention on the border until you do decrypt it. You have no rights at all on the border. You can be detained indefinitely. International travel is inherently unsafe.

    • They can seize your phone but can't compel you to decrypt it.

      I sincerely believe that some of the increase in quality of police officers (yes, I know, hard to see lately) is attributable to TSA being a place where "bad cops" can go and not get tossed out with a psych profile. Which is leading up to: TSA may not be able to legally compel you to do much, but they are empowered to detain, and that can be enough sometimes.

      If you'd rather not be detained, for an arbitrary amount of time deemed "necessary" by the officers at the scene, be prepared to play nice. In the ca

    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Sunday July 24, 2016 @01:33PM (#52571041) Homepage

      At the UK border they can demand you power on your electronics. In theory it's to prove that they are real. It's not clear how far they can demand you go... Full boot up or just to the encryption key prompt.

      I've taken to simply wiping the whole machine, installing a dummy OS and then restoring from an image when I get to my destination. The image is stored encrypted on a server and I don't have access to the password. Ditto with my phone.

  • 100-mile zone (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2016 @10:44AM (#52570295)

    Agents can operate within a 100 mile zone of the border. (Most of the country)
    https://www.aclu.org/constitution-100-mile-border-zone

    • I seem to remember this was introduced in the aftermath of 9/11 and am surprised that people have widely forgotten about it. Luckily that 100-miles-from-the-border applies within the U.S., I was in southern BC recently and probably less than 5 miles from the U.S.

    • Yes, she was able to keep her phones. Sometimes the DYKWIA superpower can be used for good, not evil.

      • Article quote:

        The policy was set in 2013 when DHS reviewed its own powers and concluded that its agents were clear to search at will.
        "Imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits," it wrote.

        Wow... "Police work is too hard so we will skip that and jail those we feel are guilty."

        These are the types of idiots who run the US defense system. Game over. If they aren't smart enough to understand what is totally wrong with that, I doubt how effective their protection is. I guess its racketeering protection...

        I guess the US has just been getting lucky.. We just haven't had enough people hate is... Yet.

  • Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2016 @10:50AM (#52570319)

    "I have no idea why they wanted my phones..."

    They didn't want the phones, they wanted to exercise power over you. They're low paid, in shitty jobs and hated for it. Acts like this are about all they can look forwards to.

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:26PM (#52570755)

      Actually, the most likely thing they wanted to do was swab it for drugs. My sister was a Canadian border guard, and if they had any suspicion that you might be carrying drugs or similar, they'd take an item of yours (ID, phone, etc...) into the back room and swab it to check for the presence of an elevated amount of narcotics. If they found it, that would cause them to do a more thorough search.

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        I suppose if that's the goal your phone is a good target, seeing as it comes in regular contact with both your hands and your face (in case you snort the stuff).

      • Stop with the reasonable discussion already. You're ruining a perfectly good hate fest.

      • I have had equipment of mine swab-tested for residues of drugs or explosives on many borders, but that always happened quite openly, in my presence, and of course without any need to switch on or operate the device. The application of some swab strip is definitely nothing requiring to take your device to somewhere beyond your sight, it's a matter of seconds.
    • By paying people better and treating them with respect? Kinda like we do with police, military and fire departments?
  • Snowden leaks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2016 @10:51AM (#52570325)

    One of the Snowden leaks revealed that when you hand over your phone at 5-eyes embassies and borders, they use the opportunity to install software bugs on the phone. I imagine its the same at the USA border.

    DHS seems to be ignoring the Jae Shik Kim case, where they seized his laptop at the border and cloned it to go fishing. He sued and the court blocked it.

    But I don't think gathering *visible* evidence was the game here, since she's a journalist. More likely it would be the NSA bugging route.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @10:51AM (#52570329)
    ... but the ability for the Homeland Security Border Agents to do stuff extends to 100 miles from the border, in addition to the border crossings.

    .
    The Constitution in the 100-Mile Border Zone [aclu.org]

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @11:22AM (#52570471)

      I love those armed checkpoints many miles from the border in Arizona.

      Ironically, the last time I had to go through one I was the passenger in a car with Arizona plates. I'm 50, the driver was 65, both of us are Caucasian men. We had to answer a bunch of questions and were there for 2-3 minutes. The driver lives in Bisbee and has to pass through either the checkpoint in Tombstone or Sierra Vista to go anywhere north (Benson, Tuscon, etc), and so is through the checkpoints all the time.

      The car in front of us had *Mexican* plates and 2 passengers. I don't think they were stopped for more than 10 seconds.

      That's just fucking great. Two American Citizens NOT crossing a border in a vehicle with in-state plates spend more time answering Border Patrol questions than three likely foreign nationals in a vehicle with foreign license plates. Tell me what this system is about again?

      • Well, you don't want the Government to act racist towards the folks in the car in front of you, do you?
      • by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:07PM (#52570643)

        What's even sillier is the one in NY.... I87 / US 9 have one in the middle of Adirondack park, 90 miles from the border... basically there's no way you're getting around that without adding a massive amount of time to the trip. It's also only there randomly, presumably to tempt anyone interesting into taking the direct route. But seriously what are they worried Canadians are going to do, bring us decent healthcare? Make us speak French? Kill us with delicious poutine? Most of the people on the road are just Plattsburgh residents trying to get the hell out of there and to somewhere interesting...

        • We're trying to stop the illegal, evil, and insidious Canadian syrup cartels. Their sugary maple death liquid is destroying American cities.
      • by kencurry ( 471519 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:20PM (#52570719)
        We have the same in San Diego - a border check on 5 fwy 40 miles from the border. It's the only direct way to get to Orange County from SD & I drive through it every day. I am baffled as to why we cannot keep the border checks at the border. Over the years I have missed several meetings because the delay goes to maybe 30 minutes or so. For every illegal they catch and throw back, there must be 100's of hours productivity lost to local businesses because of workers stuck on the 5 freeway.

        In a flat world where you have to compete with all countries, I just don't get why any politicians see this as beneficial use of resources (keep in mind US trillion dollar federal deficit.)
        • We have the same in San Diego - a border check on 5 fwy 40 miles from the border. It's the only direct way to get to Orange County from SD & I drive through it every day. I am baffled as to why we cannot keep the border checks at the border.

          Because there are lots of other places along the border where foreigners can slip in illegally than at border checkpoints. The 5 freeway is the major thoroughfare from San Diego to Los Angeles, and unlike at the Mexican border you cannot drive willy-nilly around i

  • What good would having the phone do, unless it's unlocked? Can they require you to use touch ID, enter your passcode, or tell them your passcode?

    • Court ruled that they can't force you to give over the passcode, but the same court ruled they could force you to unlock it if it's locked by biometrics.

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        Which is why if you worry about "the evil government you" turn it off before the border as iOS refuses to unlock with SecureID after a reboot. If you're using an old iPhone or an android leave it at home as they are essentially insecure.

    • What good would having the phone do, unless it's unlocked? Can they require you to use touch ID, enter your passcode, or tell them your passcode?

      No, they cannot require you to unlock it, because that would be self-incrimination. The San Bernardino rule applies: if they physically have your phone they can try to decrypt it.

    • by I75BJC ( 4590021 )
      US Courts have ruled that LEOs can require/force one to use their fingerprint to unlock a phone. US Courts have ruled that LEOs CanNot require/force one to release their password or passcode.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      None of this matters. If you are going through the border, they can refuse you entry if you don't comply.

      • by Strider- ( 39683 )

        If you are going through the border, they can refuse you entry if you don't comply.

        They can only refuse you entry if you are not a citizen. To the best of my knowledge, all civilized countries, including the US, have an absolute right of return. If you are a citizen of that country, you can not be denied entry into it. They can deny your stuff, and make your life miserable, but they can not refuse to let you in.

    • by Strider- ( 39683 )

      What good would having the phone do, unless it's unlocked?

      Depends on what they wanted it for. The more likely thing is they took it back and swabbed it for drugs. The phone was just a frequently handled item that would likely contain narcotics residue if it was being handled by someone who was running drugs or similar. The phone doesn't need to be unlocked to swab it.

    • For one thing, having access to the sim card means they can clone it. Also, it sounds like she had multiple phones, so it's likely she used a cheap burner phone when she was abroad instead of using her main one.

  • They can fondle people's privates at will, compel old nannies to undress, publicly embarrass ladies with sex toys. I'd say at this point it is reasonable to assume the can do anything they please. Which includes seizing your phone/laptop/socks.

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @11:22AM (#52570469)

    One thing the summary doesn't mention is that the reporter who was detained is probably non-white: her name is Maria Abi-Habib and she covers the middle east for the Wall Street Journal. In the Facebook post, she says she goes by Maria Theresa. She's apparently non-muslim, but probably looks close enough to a middle easterner that racial profiling kicked in.

  • The DHS has made it abundantly clear for years now that nobody should fly with anything that they can't afford to lose. Ship your phone and other critical things ahead via parcel service. If you must have a phone during your trip, get a burner just for that purpose.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Ah yes, learning to bend over. I hope you own stock in Astroglide corp.
    • International shipping goes though customs, where they definitely may open any package they want too. Letting the devices out of your physical control gives adversaries but more opportunity to compromise or analyze the device.
  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @11:27AM (#52570501) Homepage

    A journalist (of the WSJ no less) has no idea what is going on in their country? That's what was the most surprising to me. I mean, I knew about the 100-mile border rule and I am neither a journalist, nor a US citizen. I thought the US journalists are in on it with the government by not drawing attention to the slowly eroding US constitutional rights, but in this case it is not some conspiracy, the journalist is an idiot. Where idiot here is also used in the original meaning from the ancient greek (no unicode to list it here) which was referred to people who were not interested in the affairs of the State.
    If a journalist whose job is to know stuff exactly like this, is surprised to find something like that out, what hope do the people in the US realize that they have let them take away their rights one by one?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nyder ( 754090 )

      A journalist (of the WSJ no less) has no idea what is going on in their country? That's what was the most surprising to me. I mean, I knew about the 100-mile border rule and I am neither a journalist, nor a US citizen. I thought the US journalists are in on it with the government by not drawing attention to the slowly eroding US constitutional rights, but in this case it is not some conspiracy, the journalist is an idiot. Where idiot here is also used in the original meaning from the ancient greek (no unicode to list it here) which was referred to people who were not interested in the affairs of the State.
      If a journalist whose job is to know stuff exactly like this, is surprised to find something like that out, what hope do the people in the US realize that they have let them take away their rights one by one?

      Pretty sure most journalists these days just forward stories written by the powers that be. Doesn't require thinking for yourself, or doing anything other then selling your morals.

      • by Krokus ( 88121 )

        Pretty sure most journalists these days just forward stories written by the powers that be. Doesn't require thinking for yourself, or doing anything other then selling your morals.

        Don't forget giving it a provocative headline that ends in a question mark.

  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @11:51AM (#52570595)

    When she complains that "she doesn't fit the profile" but she's a journalist traveling from the middle east?

    Sorry, something doesn't smell right with her story. I suspect there was some reason border agents detained and hassled her, though I do believe they regularly overstep their bounds in other cases.

    That said, the powers our border agents and TSA have are truly frightening, nonetheless. I live in the 100 mile zone where agents could storm my house and seize all of my electronic devices "just because". They don't use this power, except in exceptional cases, but when the dam breaks and they start doing this, it will become more commonplace until they start doing it on behalf of corporations to protect "intellectual property" and use it to censor journalists.

    • If you think journalists visiting the Middle East fit a profile, you're part of the problem.

      • I think the border agents would feel she fits a profile, and the journalist's denial of this seems a bit disingenuous.

        Note that I didn't say it was right, just that I find what she said a bit illogical (in the face of border agent's desire to search her) and perhaps indicative that there is more to this story than she is letting on.

  • Troubling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Sunday July 24, 2016 @12:27PM (#52570761)
    What I find most troubling about this is that they demanded her phone, but then backed down when she insisted on getting WSJ lawyers involved. That implies that they were attempting to do something by intimidation that they were aware they had no legal right to force her to do. Is anyone else bothered by law enforcement using this tactic? I've heard of other cases, i.e. stopping people on the street and tellling them, "You need to show me what's in your bag" Well, according to the Fourth Amendment, no I don't, but probably most people assume law enforcement understands the law better than they do. Fact is, citizens are required to abide by thousands of laws, and ignorance is not an excuse. But if law enforcement doesn't apply the laws correctly, they can always claim ignorance of the law. Not really a reciprocal balance of rights, is it?
    • They may have backed down, but only because she had WSJ lawyers, not some sleepy public defender. The law itself didn't come into play as much as public relations with a major newspaper

    • An I troubled by this? No more than I'm troubled by the fact that the Dallas police stock 1lb bricks of C4 plastic explosive... Which is "a lot".
  • While it's crucial to be able to ensure that travelers are not terrorists, felons, illegal aliens or drug smugglers, it's also crucial to have a right to a fair hearing.

    In the last two decades, real freedoms have evaporated and no one is doing anything about it.

    Why is no one fighting for this egregious breach of personal freedoms?

    Why is this not on the political agenda?

    Message your elected representative and tell them to restore the freedoms we once had.

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