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Federal Judge Limits DHS Laptop Border Searches

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the oh-you-wanted-the-fourth-amendment-here-too? dept.

Privacy 359

Declan McCullogh is reporting at CNET that a federal district court judge has rebuked the Department of Homeland Security, "which had claimed it can seize a traveler's laptop and search it six months later without warrant." As described in the article, DHS policies have been stacked against travelers entering the US, including citizens returning from abroad: "There's no requirement that they be returned to their owners after even six months or a year has passed, though supervisory approval is required if they're held for more than 15 days. The complete contents of a hard drive or memory card can be perused at length for evidence of lawbreaking of any kind, even if it's underpaying taxes or not paying parking tickets." This ruling does not address immediate searches at the border, but says that DHS cannot hold computers for indefinite searching, as in the case to hand, concerning a US citizen returning from a trip to Korea, whose laptop was seized and held for months before a search was even conducted on it.

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Revenge (5, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526680)

DHS to Judge: Enjoy your time on the no-fly list, sucker!

Re:Revenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526806)

Damn. I was going to write some smart ass post about how he would be lucky to not fly now that the terrorists can run amok, but I just did not have the heart. It is a sad sad day when people entrusted to protect us have to be told that this is probably not a good idea. I really find it difficult to crawl into these people's heads and wonder what they are "thinking" and come up with anything positive.

The rollback of the Bush era infringements (2, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526928)

It still scares me to see how badly the Bush administration has damaged democracy and the American constitution. It will take years, but this is another step away from the proto-fascist path that our country had started down when the far right-wing neocons came to power.

They are still out there. The Supreme Court has been loaded with ideologues and until one of them leaves the bench we are stuck with a judicial system that has been gamed for the sake of the wealthy and well-connected who care nothing for our country's laws and traditions.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (5, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527036)

Thank goodness Obama has done so much to fix all that.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527140)

You forgot your sarcasm tag. It's a testament to Bush's awfulness that yet another centrist, milquetoast suit was hailed as liberal saviour.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527378)

He wants to turn the USA into a central, government-run economy (like Cuba is today, or the Soviet Union used to be). How much more liberal can a person be?

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (2, Insightful)

Kpau (621891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527416)

As opposed to a central corporate string-pulling government economy... yeah that was so much better (/sarcasm). Get a grip - both sides of the ocin here suck.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527660)

You're aim is poor, because you're targeting the wrong person. I hate corporations. Centralized power of ANY kind, whether it is in a corporation or government, is dangerous to individual liberty. I guess that's why I hated BOTH bush and Øbama.

Why must decisions always be placed in someone else's hands? Why can't I make my OWN decisions of what I want to buy, or wish to work, or desire to live. Bush/Obama both tried to take away my freedom of choice. As if I'm serf.

Thank God! (2, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527720)

Thank God!

As opposed to a central corporate string-pulling government economy...

...we are SO lucky the newly elected government fixed the corporate string-pulling of government before some terrible disaster or environmental catastrophe took place!

-- Terry

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527792)

P.S. Also you didn't answer the question: How can Obama BE any more liberal? He's only a few steps away from where Lenin stood on the political spectrum (central planning).

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (0, Troll)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527648)

where the fuck do you get that nonsense? Glenn Beck?? Obama's not changing the economy one way or another. All he's done is help solidify the corporate domination of the economy that existed before the crisis. Neither party has even bothered to try to offer a way out of that. Nonsense about "socialism" is just a silly red herring.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527998)

His Democrats Congress passed a bill, and he signed into law, a requirement that I MUST buy health insurance, or be punished (fined $950). Now they are pushing a bill that would require me to have a license to publish on the web. Plus this idea to charge people for how much carbon they use. They bail-out companies like GM that should be been allowed to pass away.

What's next? I buy a normal car instead of a hybrid car, and I get fined $1000 per year? This is called central government control of the economy.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (-1, Flamebait)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528280)

Exactly. Obama is just as much of an anti-freedom, pro-police state, corporation owned fascist as Bush ever was. He just has the common sense to be subtle about it.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527672)

He wants to turn the USA into a central, government-run economy (like Cuba is today, or the Soviet Union used to be).

No, he doesn't. He doesn't even get anywhere close. We western europeans are miiiiiiles to the left of you in terms of the economy and social security(please note i do not include our attitude to furreners after the amount of votes the esteemed mr wilders got last night) and *we* are nowhere near Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Compared to the kind of politicians we elect Obama is a corporate shill, as is most of your congress, so no worries, you'll be happily bent over the barrel of whichever corporation is in line to assrape you next.

See how empty hyperbole rhetoric serves no purpose except to scare stupid people and make you look like a total ass to the intelligent ones? If you guys want to change shit, stop talking in terms of ridiculous absolutes and start living in the real world for a change. You know, the one that is full of other countries that have all tried various approaches and gathered tons of valuable data on what does and does not work.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528028)

Corporatism and central planning are the same thing - it's government and corporations working as one. Obama's policies certainly qualify

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527462)

The liberals happily supported Obama, even though they had many other Democrat candidates to pick from. IMO, the Democrats managed to pick the very worst candidate out of all those running in the Primaries. (I believe the Republicans managed to do the same.) Any of the other Democrats running would have been better than Obama.

So it's not Bush's awfulness that's to blame, it's the dumb liberals who thought that Obama was their savior who are to blame. Bush is only to blame for what he did while in office. It was the voters' job to pick a better President in 2008, and they failed miserably, and twice (well, three times really)! First, as I said before, each party held Primaries to pick their candidate, and in both cases, managed to pick the very worst candidate available (Obama and McCain). Then they ran the two off against each other. The only thing I'm unsure about is if McCain would have been better than Obama or worse. They were both so bad, he probably would have been horrible in a slightly different way. Of course, he also could have choked on a pork rib and died, leaving Caribou Barbie as President, and I'm fairly sure she could actually pull off the difficult accomplishment of being even worse than Obama.

I've completely lost all hope that the American public is able to pick any type of decent leader.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (3, Insightful)

jbeach (852844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527568)

There is NO WAY that Obama was worse than Hillary (who fully approved the invasion of Iraq without looking over the evidence) or John Edwards (willing to be nominated while he was having a reckless affair, which shows how much he values honesty *and* the efforts of all working for him).

Simply not possible.

What I think is going on here, is that Obama is being called awful simply because he's not a savior. There are a lot of big messes going on right now, people. Any one of them would be the most notable thing to happen in a presidency - and we're getting all of them at once. He inherits two wars, a historic recession, and now possibly the worst ecological disaster in US history.

McCain would clearly have been worse, just by continuing more of Bush's policies than Obama. I wish Obama were continuing none, but at least now the economy has been pulled back from the cliff.

And above all else, Obama shows himself as better than McCain simply by not foisting on us an obscenity like Palin.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (0, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527826)

There is NO WAY that Obama was worse than Hillary (who fully approved the invasion of Iraq without looking over the evidence) or John Edwards (willing to be nominated while he was having a reckless affair, which shows how much he values honesty *and* the efforts of all working for him).

Obama's done absolutely nothing to pull out of Iraq, so I don't see how he's less bad than Hillary. And I don't care about politicians having mistresses; that's perfectly normal in other countries. Only in America do people get their panties in a bind about their leaders' sex lives.

What I think is going on here, is that Obama is being called awful simply because he's not a savior. There are a lot of big messes going on right now, people. Any one of them would be the most notable thing to happen in a presidency - and we're getting all of them at once. He inherits two wars, a historic recession, and now possibly the worst ecological disaster in US history.

Wrong. He's being called awful because he's done nothing to improve anything, even though he campaigned on a platform promising "change". A chimpanzee could do just as effective a job as President as him, since he hasn't done squat except make speeches. He holds the highest office in the country, and perhaps in the world; you'd think someone at that level would be able to make real changes and improve and lead. He's done none of that. Sure, he's inherited big problems, but what has he done about them? Nothing. He continued the wars instead of pulling out (which is the only sensible thing to do; face it, we're not going to be able to establish advanced, western-style governments over there, no matter how hard we try, and frankly we screwed up with Osama, and we might as well admit we lost him, if he's even still alive). He hasn't done much to help the recession. And his response with the oil spill has been about as effective as Bush's response during Katrina.

And above all else, Obama shows himself as better than McCain simply by not foisting on us an obscenity like Palin.

This is the only statement I completely agree with. Palin as President (since McCain probably would have died early in office due to Murphy's Law and his poor health) would have been a disaster far worse than Obama. What's really scary, however, is that there's a very good chance that Palin WILL be elected President either in 2012 or 2016. Even though she's a quitter and a dimwit, she's extremely popular with the well-meaning but naive and stupid Tea Partiers.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527898)

>>>at least now the economy has been pulled back from the cliff.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Boy that was a good joke. The Euro is collapsing (due to extreme debt collapsing Member States), and the Dollar is on the brink itself. Yeah the economy is still on the edge of the cliff. What was a bad stock crisis has now become a much, much worse currency crisis.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527866)

>>>I've completely lost all hope that the American public is able to pick any type of decent leader.

Maybe it's time to go back to how it was done in 1792, 1796, 1800, et cetera - let the States pick the president of the Union. The People already have representation in both the House and Senate, and in their local State Legislatures..... so it's not as if they won't be heard.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528018)

I'm starting to think things were better back then because not everyone was allowed to vote. Only white, male landowners. This kept all the uneducated idiots from voting for bad politicians. Maybe we should re-institute something like this, only without the race, gender, and landowning requirements, and make it education-based. No one without a college education can vote, or perhaps require a high school diploma at the least.

If we restricted voting to people who have been taught some amount of critical-thinking skills, surely we'd be able to pick some better leaders.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528098)

>>>Only white, male landowners.

False. Several states, especially the northern ones, allowed women to vote in the 1700s. And blacks. Some let people without property vote as well, although that was rarer. To say "only" is a distortion of history.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528214)

Whoops, I was under the impression that it was restricted that way everywhere. Guess not. Makes sense, though: things were more different state-to-state back then than they are now.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528258)

The liberals happily supported Obama

Wrong. The liberals happily supported Kucinich, but gritted their teeth and did their best when it came to Obama and Clinton, because they know the game is rigged. The only people who 'loved' them were status-quo centrists. Or, as they were known back in the 50s, Republicans.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527760)

Yeah, WTF. It's not like Obama has been busy rescuing the country or anything. Like bush, he spends most of his time cutting brush on the ole ranch, right?

Fuckin' hell, the bush cabal left such a fucking disaster when they slithered out of office, it's a wonder that anyone would want to take over, let alone have the wherewithal to deal with it.

What amazes me is not so much that so many Americans lie to themselves, it's that they actually believe the lies they've been trained to tell themselves. It must be the drugs.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (5, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527044)

It scares me how scared people are that they think this is rational behavior. The "reasonable suspicion" that the border agent had at the scene was:

Hanson appeared nervous, the discovery of the condoms and the male-enhancement pills, and Hanson's statement that he had been working with children

Then they searched his laptop 3 times and found [pbfcomics.com] a single image of what appeared to be an adolescent girl naked on a beach, so they arrested him for possessing and transporting child pornography, and since it's federal, he's going to PMITA prison.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (5, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527094)

I am not going to defend the Bush administration. But it is worth noting that Obama has been President for 1 1/2 years already and he's done pretty much nothing to roll that back. Bush hating made sense back in 2007 while we was still enacting crap like this, but its only fair to also be critical of the guy who came into office promising "change" and has instead protected the status quo (in terms of fascist analogies towards government).

you just don't understand "change" (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527700)

What he meant was, after the massive corporate bailouts, the only thing left in the Treasury is some spare change.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (0, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527870)

Hear, hear. I'm sick to death of people blaming Bush for any and all problems in this country. The guy's been gone for 17 months now, when do we get to start blaming the new guy?

I've actually read comments somewhere that the BP spill is Bush's fault. Nevermind that construction on that well didn't start until Obama was in office, it's still the other guy's fault. Give me a break!

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528054)

When do we stop blaming Lincoln for the North prevailing in the Civil War?

Some acts have large, long-term impacts whose causes we should understand and remember for a long time.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528254)

Yeah, just like how the economy is still in the toilet, and there's been no movement on healthcare. What has that prick been doing all this time?

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527274)

>>>It still scares me to see how badly the Bush administration has damaged democracy and the American constitution

Yes George Duh Bush is a git, but Obama signed the Patriot Act Renewal bill, so now he's just as much of a git. Obama should have kept his promise and let the Patriot Act expire. Obama's other broken promises:

1 - Stop snatching people off streets. Provide a Right to fair trial. - (REALITY: We no longer have Miranda rights even for U.S. citizens.) (Can be held indefinitely w/o trial)
2 - Right to Privacy - (They now spy on us via warrantless wiretaps and track our cellphones) (Patriot Act renewed by Obama.)
3 - No interrogation. Close Guantanamo. - (Revoked - now they interrogate American citizens too.)
4 - End the war. - (Now it's been extended two more years.)

So now we've had three shitty presidents in a row.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527628)

As a 2nd Amendment supporter, about the only thing I can say positive about Obama is that he signed the bill into law allowing people to carry firearms in National Parks. Of course, he didn't really want to sign that, but it was attached to some other crap he wanted, so he signed it anyway. So, in a way, Obama has been better for gun-rights supporters than Bush, who never signed any such bill, and also wanted to renew the idiotic "Assault Weapons Ban" (but Congress refused to renew it at the time so he never got to sign it).

As for shitty Presidents in a row, I think it's been a lot more than 3, unless you want to try to segregate them based on their shittiness. Honestly, I can't think of the last GOOD President this country has had. It certainly hasn't been within my lifetime. Eisenhower, perhaps? FDR? Jefferson? Washington? All the ones since the 60s have sucked:
      JFK: Bay of Pigs
      LBJ: Vietnam war, welfare
      Nixon: extending Vietnam war, Watergate
      Ford: dunno
      Carter: ineffective in mideast crisis
      Reagan: massive deficit spending on military, Iran-Contra affair
      Bush I: Gulf War I, "read my lips: no new taxes"
      Clinton: not horrible, but didn't do anything good either, stupidly got caught getting blowjob from ugly intern with loose lips; signed bill overturning Glass-Steagal Act leading to Mortgage Meltdown
      Bush II: Afgh & Iraq wars, Patriot Act, Cheney, Halliburton, Blackwater, ineffective in Katrina, the list goes on and on
      Obama: extending Afgh & Iraq wars, ineffective with BP oil spill, promised "change" but everything's still the same as under Bush even though he has a Democrat-controlled Congress to work with

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527958)

As a 2A supporter, you should have included the AWB under Clinton. As far as I'm concerned, presidents went down hill after Teddy Roosevelt.

Re:The rollback of the Bush era infringements (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528066)

Ah, you're right. That was another Clinton failing.

Even Teddy wasn't that great: he got us involved in the war in the Philippines, IIRC, which was probably the start of America's imperialism.

I think presidents went downhill after Washington, though those first few were all pretty decent.

Rights?! (1, Funny)

TechNit (448230) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526708)

Rights?! Rights?! This is Soviet America you don't need Rights so move on already!

Re:Rights?! (3, Insightful)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526752)

I foresee TrueCrypt's website will be getting a lot of new visitors soon.

Re:Rights?! (3, Insightful)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526840)

But for many people the problem is NOT that they have something incriminating on their laptops, but the fact they are taken for soooooooooooo long and not returned. TrueCrypt folders or whatever would most likely cause the powers-that-be to keep the laptop even longer.

Re:Rights?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526936)

Everybody has incriminating evidence on their laptops. There's a reason why "Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone" is a powerful concept.

Re:Rights?! (5, Insightful)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526952)

Rights are meant to protect you from a corrupt government. It is your duty as an American to resist a corrupt government just as the red coats were removed from this country by force after being told to leave so much for 'violence is never the answer.' Laws that make criminals easier to catch make revolutionaries against corrupt government easier to catch and the only one interested in that are the entrenched corrupt government. Liberties are meant to defend you from your government and should NEVER be surrendered. Violent revolution adds a physical cost to corrupt governance.

Re:Rights?! (4, Insightful)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527068)

Rights are meant to protect you from a corrupt government. It is your duty as an American to resist a corrupt government just as the red coats were removed from this country by force after being told to leave so much for 'violence is never the answer.' Laws that make criminals easier to catch make revolutionaries against corrupt government easier to catch and the only one interested in that are the entrenched corrupt government. Liberties are meant to defend you from your government and should NEVER be surrendered. Violent revolution adds a physical cost to corrupt governance.

According to the Constitution there are rights we cannot be forced to give up because they were not given to us by men.

But they were sure taken by force by weak minded men

Re:Rights?! (5, Insightful)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527468)

They weren't taken by force.

They were gleefully surrendered by frightened cowards.

Re:Rights?! (1)

tiptone (729456) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527510)

According to the Constitution there are rights we cannot be forced to give up because they were not given to us by men.

But they were sure taken by force by weak minded men

I would say they were taken by force from weak minded men, but otherwise agree.

Re:Rights?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526984)

That is why you use TC's decoy OS feature. If they ask about TrueCrypt, hand them over the password for the decoy OS and let them go through the random, but legal pr0n collection on the second partition and tell them that TC was there to protect data against laptop thieves.

Your real documents will remain protected with no way for anyone to ever prove that the hidden OS exists.

Re:Rights?! (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527118)

hand them over the password

Are you required by law to do this? If a United States customs agent wants to search your laptop, are you required by law to hand over your password? Or can you say "I choose not to give you my password." I realize in the parent's context it doesn't matter, but I'm just curious in general... In the same you're required to unlock your luggage so they can search it, are you required to unlock your computer?

Re:Rights?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527244)

IANAL, but I believe the best defense is not to admit to any knowledge whatsoever. Wasn't there a case where a court ordered someone to hand over a password to an encrypted partition after he earlier opened the partition in front of a DHS agent? Of course the guy most likely had some juicy stuff in there and was pledging the 5th, but judge dismissed that based on some legal mumbo-jumbo-constitution-amendment-my-ass argument.

Re:Rights?! (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527820)

I hear you, but that doesn't really answer my question. Are you required by law to "open" your computer the same way you're required to "open" your suitcase?

Re:Rights?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32528076)

TrueCrypt encrypted files cannot be identified as such.

Re:Rights?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526856)

Why would Truecrypt get more usage as a result of a reduction in time that the Gestapo can violate the 4th ammendment?

Re:Rights?! (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526930)

I foresee TrueCrypt's website will be getting a lot of new visitors soon.

Maybe, except most people are so clueless about security that encryption isn't even the first thing to do. Last week I had to explain to the owner of a small business that keeping saved copies of his tax forms--with SSN--on an unencrypted thumb drive was NOT safer than on his laptop ("where hackers could get into it, right?").

Re:Rights?! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527954)

Well, except that they would be safer on the thumb drive. On the thumb drive, they aren't going to be accessible to anyone unless you plug the thumb drive into a computer. So your business owner can safely put the files onto the thumb drive and put the thumb drive in the safe, and be secure enough. The laptop can be remotely accessed (assuming it is networked). A laptop can even turn itself on in the middle of the night to fetch windows updates. Any files on a laptop are way less secure than those on a thumb drive.

Re:Rights?! (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527084)

I foresee TrueCrypt's website will be getting a lot of new visitors soon.

You know that in this case, you can be detained until you surrendered the password?

Re:Rights?! (2, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527142)

Rights?! Rights?! This is Soviet America you don't need Rights so move on already!

These searches and bullshit by the grunts with the badges and guns are just for us little people. When you fly in on a private jet, the HMS is, let's say, much more courteous.

Now peon, quit your bitching about the order of things and get back to work with the rest of us nobodies!

And people say I'm Unreasonable (2, Interesting)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526734)

I worry about the mentality of this nation.

Re:And people say I'm Unreasonable (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526790)

What are you, a terrorist?

Re:And people say I'm Unreasonable (1)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526860)

no i am a realistist

Re:And people say I'm Unreasonable (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527966)

Only terrorists don't love this country.

illegal? (1)

DeadJesusRodeo (1813846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526772)

There's an app for that - on the iPad!

Sorry officer no - this isn't a laptop - only pedophiles use those - like THAT GUY OVER THERE - GETIM! (then slinks away)

Burned CDs (2, Informative)

mederbil (1756400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526782)

A computer engineer I worked with was going through the border and was apparently not allowed to have burned CDs of software on him. He just so happened to have a very stable version of XP he didn't want to get rid of. Solution: Stick it in the CD drive, put the battery somewhere and they won't take the time to check the drive.

Re:Burned CDs (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526816)

No CDs?? I would like to see the rule on that, that would mean you can't bring music CDs, and you might as well not have CDR disks anyway, if you can't use them while you are out. This doesn't sound legit.

Re:Burned CDs (5, Insightful)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527078)

No CDs?? I would like to see the rule on that, that would mean you can't bring music CDs, and you might as well not have CDR disks anyway, if you can't use them while you are out. This doesn't sound legit.

what part of DHS does?

Re:Burned CDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527890)

There aren't enough digits in the Universe to store the +Insightful mods that one deserves.

Re:Burned CDs (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527270)

What rule? What a custom agent says is the rule. If you question it, or even hesitate [wikipedia.org] , you earn a beat down and a felony conviction.

Re:Burned CDs (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527442)

Something similar happened to me when I crossed into Canada. I just happened to have water filters in my trunk, and the guy labeled in "commercial products" and refused to let me enter, although I explained it was my own personal items. So I dumped them in a trash barrel and continued through.

ruling makes sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526800)

After all the speed at which your nice 3k laptop becomes a paperweight via obsolescence means that a 1 year warrant-less censure effectively fines you what 1k or so without any charge.

Re:ruling makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527156)

Not to mention the fact that whether they're used or not, that Li-Ion battery in most modern laptops continues to deteriorate whether used or not. A year can knock up to HALF of the battery's maximum capacity out. That's a $150 battery (in most cases) ruined.

Re:ruling makes sense (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527224)

The ruling does not make sense. Please tell me how warrantless searches of computers are legitimate to begin with.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I'd say searching anyone's laptop as an unreasonable search and seizure, unless someone beat someone's head with the laptop and the laptop in question becomes a murder weapon.

We need judges who uphold the constitution and which deliver practical rulings to make us safer. All this does is further "legitimize" what should be an illegal practice by the DHS.

Re:ruling makes sense (2, Informative)

jschottm (317343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527564)

Please tell me how warrantless searches of computers are legitimate to begin with.

It's called the Border Search Exception and it has a long history of being upheld by the Supreme Court. It has its roots in the acts of the First Congress in 1789. If you leave the country, you're subject to being searched upon return.

Re:ruling makes sense (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527758)

Yes, but that still doesn't make it right or truly legitimate. However, I think we can all agree that the intent of it wasn't to search everything but rather give border officers the authority to search for things like weapons not search computer files.

We need government to be limited and this allows for baseless, pointless searches, both destroying freedom and destroying sane fiscal policies. This must be repealed either at the legislative or by the courts as unconstitutional.

And for those delusional masses who think that this prevents "terrorism", ask yourself, what computer file can be gotten in a foreign country that is illegal that can't be gotten via the internet?

Re:ruling makes sense (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527678)

When you are at the border you are no longer "in" the US. You are "between" countries. You have no rights.

Re:ruling makes sense (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527828)

When you are at the border you are no longer "in" the US. You are "between" countries. You have no rights.

Its like a little mini-gitmo for everyone coming to america!

Re:ruling makes sense (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527840)

Not according to the US founding fathers.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness---That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it,

Rights are not given to the people by the government, rights are natural, given by God (or nature). Governments are given rights by the people. People, however have natural rights given to them simply by being human. The right to oppose government and the right to not be subjected to unreasonable searches is a natural right, not a right given by government because the government has no authority to give or take away rights.

Re:ruling makes sense (2, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527882)

That's all nice and well, but the Declaration of Independence has no basis in law, and never has.

Worse, however, is the fact that the Constitution has no legal weight either.

Re:ruling makes sense (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527942)

No, but it does provide an insight into the proper interpretation of the constitution, and is something that courts should hold in nearly as high regard as the constitution (which, still amounts to zero like you said).

Perhaps we just are overdue for a revolution and a rewrite of our constitution and government to one that properly secures rights, because this 200 some year old one isn't held in high enough regard anymore...

Finally ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526802)

I'm glad to see that the law is finally curtailing some of these absurd laws. For the last bunch of years a bunch of draconian policies have been deemed legal "because we say so". It's about fucking time the courts started bitch-slapping these down.

America has become absurd, and many people simply won't go there while it's like this.

I think every country should start doing exactly the same things to all US citizens. Let's see how long it takes before Americans start to complain about being fingerprinted, cavity searched, and arbitrarily detained.

I like most Americans, but your fucking government is out of control.

Re:Finally ... (1, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526834)

Sometimes to preserve freedom you have to give up...freedom...wait...

Re:Finally ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527026)

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

Re:Finally ... (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527494)

Can I choose? Please?

Re:Finally ... (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527532)

The irony is that when Jefferson was faced with his own version of the Patriot Act (the 1790s Alien and Sedition Act), he did not immediately reach for the gun. Instead he advised the Member States refuse to enforce the law as unconstitutional, and then he organized the Democrats to take-back the Congress from the Federalists. The act was repealed in 1803.

In contrast Obama RENEWED Bush's act. Hmmm. What we really need is this to kill the Patriot Act:

The "Protect the 9th and 10th Amendments" Act.
----- Proposed Amendment XXVIII.
Section 1. After a Bill has become Law, if one-half of the State legislatures declare the Law to be "unconstitutional" it shall be null and void. It shall be as if the Law never existed. ----- SECTION 2. The Supreme Court will have the authority to review cases, and as part of the ruling declare these cases constitutional or unconstitutional, however the decision by the States (section 1) shall be superior.

Re:Finally ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32528274)

Woah, one problem there :) Your act would completely fuck with the seperation and balance of powers and would go against the ruling of the first supreme court case. The supreme court decides what is and isnt constitutional. If a super-majority got to say it isnt(ruling out the dissenting one third) there would have been ALOT of VERY BAD laws still in effect...

It has worked this way for 200+ years (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526850)

A country has ALWAYS had the right to fully inspect or seize ANYTHING coming in across its border!
.
And that includes laptops. The rules haven't suddenly changed. You just noticed that you don't like the rules. And EVERY country has this right (whether or not they can enforce it is another matter).
Customs officials ALWAYS had the right to search your bags. Now you have this magical Bag of Holding, your laptop, that can hold a God awful lot of things. They still get to search it. It is still just a bag, magical or not.
.
It worked that way in medieval China. It worked that way in Imperial Spain. It worked that way in Colonial America. And it works that way now.
.
This ruling doe snot fundamentally change that. It merely says you have to seize the laptop outright as contraband, hold the laptop for a reasonable amount of time (e.g., immediately, 15 days, etc.) to search for contraband, or let the laptop go.
.
Again this is nothing new. Every country does this.[FN1]
.
[FN1]
The EU is an odd case because they can't decide whether they want to be a bunch of small countries or a single big country. While I am guessing that customs stops no longer occur at interior country borders (e.g., France/Germany, much like intra-state borders NY/PA), the customs searchs still occur at the exterior country borders (i.e., from non-EU/EU, US to EU).

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526960)

The U.S. is generally a country with some notion of property rights, though, so the police cannot arbitrarily seize and keep things if no law was violated, even at borders. They can search luggage entering the country, sure, but this case was about whether the police may keep a laptop for six months or longer without any sort of forfeiture proceeding or at least some sort of showing that the laptop was contraband under U.S. law and properly subject to confiscation.

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (5, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527916)

Yes, they can. They do it all the time. Try traveling somewhere with a large amount of cash (even inside the country). If the cops find out, they'll seize the cash and let you go because they have nothing to charge you with. You don't get the cash back though.

The US used to have a notion of property rights, embodied in the 4th Amendment, but that notion is long gone, and the 4th Amendment is now null and void.

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32526972)

For his part, Eric Chase, an attorney representing Hanson, acknowledged that an immediate search conducted at the border without a warrant is permissible. But police perusal of a hard drive six months later definitely is not, he said when asking the court to toss out the results of the June 2009 search.

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (3, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527028)

Yeah see, that's where you are wrong. I don't mind inspecting, even reasonable searches, but seizing anything? At least there needs to be a reason like it's contraband or illegal. Seizing equipment because they can is the same thing as stealing private property, and as far as i know that's covered by the 5th amendment of the constitution. You want to take my property? Fine, just provide me with enough cash so that my property, time spent on it and sensitive information on it is completely compensated for.

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527204)

Seizing equipment because they can is the same thing as stealing private property, and as far as i know that's covered by the 5th amendment of the constitution.

Except, under Bush's administration, the AG (Gonzales [wikipedia.org] ) decided that non-citizens are not eligible for those rights, and that until you've been admitted into the country you exist in a legal limbo whereby they can detain anyone indefinitely without reason or oversight. So, if you're still in customs and haven't been admitted, you're a legal non-entity.

All of the ideals America has espoused for centuries are more or less swept under the carpet in your current security paranoia.

The people making the decisions are ignoring hundreds of years of your own law and principles, and deciding that, "no, that's not what they meant and we are allowed to suspend that". Basically, they've decided they can do anything they want, no matter what the laws and the Constitution says.

Fourth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527636)

Fourth amendment, its the fourth one.

Genetic reason (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527090)

I see and you have a genetic (FN1) reason [genecards.org] for the searches too.

Well, if it's genetic, then there's nothing we can do.

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527602)

>>>A country has ALWAYS had the right to fully inspect or seize ANYTHING coming in across its border!

Where in the Constitution was the United States government given that power of unlimited property theft (or limitless imprisonment)??? MY reading of the constitution says the exact opposite (Bill of Rights, sections 5 and 9 and 10).

Re:It has worked this way for 200+ years (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528134)

You have to BE here to be receive your guaranteed rights (assuming you get them when you're here, that is...)

When re-entering the country, you might legally be considered to not yet be 'in' the country, and so you get limited or no rights. If you think this is bogus, Try arguing over a bottle of single-malt scotch with a Customs agent. They can strip-search you if they think there's either contraband or declarable goods on or in you. Yes, they can.

Tax authorities get away with a lot in the US. Whether that's proper or not is not the issue here - just what is currently practiced. That's another fight, reining in the IRS.

Now, how they justified holding laptops indefinitely bothered me. First, once you've entered, you do get to be a citizen and get your property, and even Customs only holds stuff for so long and then either gives it up or destroys it (ugh). But more to the point, what good is the laptop as an intelligence source 6 months from now? Actually, if they let you walk, it might not be any good within an hour, if you notify your co-conspiritors that the information is out of your hands. Kinda stupid.

And then we have the whole problem of ICE/Customs looking for anything contraband, even some types of pr0n. By this measure, they will need to search you for even a MicroSD card, and I can keep one of those under my tongue. A losing battle, boys. Keep focusing on the Scotch, ok? And of course terrorist-looking people.

DHS sucks (your laptop) (-1, Troll)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32526926)

Spell "USSA" with SS in runes. The USA is in ruins.

Get your laptop sized on purpose! (1)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527002)

Once they seize it is there any way that it can still talk to the outside world or record video and audio to be viewed later? I could see someone getting a laptop seized on purpose just to see what happens to it while it is in custody. Even if they only pop out the hard drive and don't boot the laptop itself you could have a 2nd hidden video/audio recorder also inside watching them.

Power consumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527122)

And after the power runs out then what?

Judicial Activism!!! (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527060)

Those damned activist judges! Oh wait...

Jurisdiction, anybody? (2, Informative)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527130)

The complete contents of a hard drive or memory card can be perused at length for evidence of lawbreaking of any kind, even if it's underpaying taxes or not paying parking tickets.

Holy balls, Batman! The DHS is like the CIA, FBI, ATF, and IRS all in one! What's that? You don't even need an associates degree to join? Great Scott!

PortableApps.com + microSDHC (5, Interesting)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527134)

PortableApps.com = move your digital life onto removable media, able to run on any PC.
microSDHC = 1-16GB storage on a sub-fingernail-sized removable media.
Unless they're gonna go thru all the lint in everyone's pockets, they can have the notebook.

Re:PortableApps.com + microSDHC (2, Insightful)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32527402)

Mod this up...
Honestly there is absolutely no point to a laptop search, unless the physical laptop may have been tampered with (which the visual inspection already done for domestic travel would suffice). What keeps someone from putting data onto a memory card and sticking it into their phone / game system / whatever on a hidden partition? Or better yet, using the internet to simply transfer it from a public PC lab outside of the country to a server they set up inside (if they are a returning US citizen it isn't hard to expect them to have a computer already on the inside of the border). The reverse, a visitor could use a public pc lab / free wifi to download whatever from a server in their home country. If the laptop was used for criminal activity worthy of scrutiny, a criminal would simply throw it away and buy a new one (since the activity would certainly have been worth the cost of a new computer, if it was worth searching for to begin with).

Laptop drive/media searches are *entirely* security theater... all it does is cost criminals $400 and everyone else time and dignity...

So wait, is this good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32527172)

It's not clear to me whether I can take my real laptop now or a throw away laptop with no information stored on it. Granted my really REALLY important data is stored on a redundantly backed up 1TB NAS with no way to access it from the outside.

In related news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32528114)

Julian__Assange@wikilieaks.org, you have already won an all-expense-paid vacation to anywhere within US legal jurisdiction.
Please call us at your earliest convenience to receive your prize!

Peace and love,
US Dept. of State

The supreme court has ruled (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32528156)

in a 5-4 decision...
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