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The Legal Purgatory at the US Border: Detained, Searched, and Interrogated

samzenpus posted 1 year,1 day | from the papers-please dept.

Encryption 555

An anonymous reader writes "America may be the land of the free, but upon arrival millions of visitors cross a legal purgatory at the U.S. border. It is an international legal phenomenon that is left much to the discretion of host countries. In some cases, this space between offers travelers far fewer rights than some of the least democratic and free countries on Earth. Limited access to legal counsel, unwarranted searches, and questionable rights to free speech to name a few. One of the more controversial — and yet still legally a contested grey area — are the rights travelers have in regards to electronics and device searches."

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Fight it if you want to. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | 1 year,1 day | (#44734103)

But first off, don't be stupid. Sanitize/Sterilize ALL of your data PRIOR to starting your trip.

They cannot find what you are not carrying.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44734155)

And then you'll be locked up for obstruction while being labeled a terrorist.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (3, Insightful)

QilessQi (2044624) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734297)

No, the OP was probably suggesting that you remove personal and sensitive data from your devices and keep it at home. Why travel with a computer that's loaded with your bank account info? Use a separate laptop for travel, or else keep the sensitive stuff on removable partitions (SSDs, USB keys, etc) which never leave the house.

Better yet: if all you need the laptop for is reading eBooks and occasionally checking your FB/Gmail/whatever account, leave the thing at home and make do with internet cafes, hotel computers, and the like.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (3, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734361)

So, fearing the government, I now give full access to hackers who owned those hotel computers and internet cafes? Yay.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (5, Interesting)

timholman (71886) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734597)

Use a separate laptop for travel, or else keep the sensitive stuff on removable partitions (SSDs, USB keys, etc) which never leave the house.

This is absolutely the best tactic. In my research group, it is standard procedure to use a travel laptop when traveling to conferences out of the country, even to "friendly" venues. In my case, I use a MacBook Air with the screensaver and firmware passwords enabled. I don't even bother to encrypt, since nothing goes on the SSD that is the least bit sensitive.

Granted, there is always the remote possibility that someone might succeed in compromising the OS during a business trip, and hoping that I or one of my colleagues will bring that laptop back behind our firewall. When in doubt, that is dealt with by re-imaging the drive as the first order of business upon one's return.

We often joke (half seriously) that the day is going to come when we will buy disposable laptops that will be abandoned or destroyed when traveling to certain countries. Yes, we are paranoid, but are we paranoid enough?

It's common sense, just as it is also common sense to presume that every conversation is being recorded, whether by phone or in person, when meeting colleagues overseas. Despite pious protestations to the contrary by some parties, one can be certain that there is no government on the planet that wouldn't do so if given the opportunity.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734213)

This rule out carrying previously owner devices, if someone do a close search of such a hard drive (or any removable storage component), they might contains compromising stuff ...

Re:Fight it if you want to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734233)

s/owner/owned/, my bad.

The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734327)

TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] can help. Put your encrypted hard drives somewhere else in your luggage.

But the real issue is U.S. government corruption. Officials do what they want. The rule of law and human decency no longer matters.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (4, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734399)

TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] can help. Put your encrypted hard drives somewhere else in your luggage.

Very bad advice indeed. These things can be found in the luggage searches, and then they have clear signs of deception and can give you the special treatment.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (3, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734439)

Maybe you don't understand how truecrypt works [truecrypt.org] ?

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734547)

I happen to be an expert on the use of cryptography. I know in detail how TrueCrypt works and its design is a sure recipe for getting you into extremely hot water if your devices are searched at the border. It may also get you thrown in prison for a while, because you refuse to hand over the keys to your hidden partition (never mind that they cannot prove you have one and that you may actually not have one in the first place...).

And there is the thing that you "hid" storage devices in your luggage, which already makes you suspicious. Having TrueCrypt on them will just finish you off.

The only good advice to TrueCrypt users is to actually have a hidden partition and to immediately hand over the keys for it when asked at a border inspection. Anything else is is pure folly. http://xkcd.com/538/ [xkcd.com] applies without restriction.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (-1, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734603)

OK. I accept your claim that you don't know how Truecrypt works.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734627)

Well, you can be childish all you like. When you sit in border-jail, remember me.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (-1, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734661)

It has nothing to do with being childish. The fact that you don't know that you can hand over a key, and they will be able to mount a partition but still not get your protected data, and still not be able to prove they don't have your data or even know if they don't have your data, tells me that you have no idea how Truecrypt works.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734769)

His point is that everybody knows truecrypt does hidden partitions so if you don't hand over the key for a hidden partition they are going to make your life hard - even if you don't have a hidden partition.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734869)

Indeed. Quite obvious. Thank you. This idea seems to be well beyond Zero__Kelvin however.

The problem is that not only can they not prove that you have a hidden partition, you cannot prove that you do _not_ have one. The design of hidden partitions in TrueCrypt prevents both very effectively. So if they just assume you have one, because "it is a standard feature of TrueCrypt as everybody knows", you are screwed, unless you can give them the key to that hidden partition. But if you did not give them the keys to both the normal and the hidden partition when they asked for your passwords, you are already screwed, because giving them the key for the hidden partition only when they specifically demand it has you already guilty of deception.

The concept of hidden partitions has some merit. It specifically keeps your adversary in the dark of whether there actually is something or not, but only if you are willing to withstand considerable pressure, including jail-time and torture. If you are not willing to do that, hidden partitions do more harm than good, because they create a false sense of security.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

NF6X (725054) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734651)

And I accept your claim that you don't know how rubber-hose interrogation works.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734685)

... and I accept your claim that you are a Pierce Brosnan fan.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

NF6X (725054) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734727)

And I accept your claim that you believe that you're some sort of badass. ;)

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734843)

What if i like the drugs?

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734561)

Just having a loose hard drive in your luggage with "random" data is enough to make them suspicious. You'll crack down before they do.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734633)

Er. Ah. No. I won't. You see. There's nothing to "crack down" about. It is just random data. You really think that every person who goes through security with an unformatted hard drive is held in purgatory forever? Also, I don't doubt that you would crack. The very fact that you believe I would tells me that you know you don't have any balls, and you assume I don't either. By the time I was done screwing with them they would be so angry they would be in tears (and yes, I have experience with exactly the situation I am describing.)

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734631)

Yes that type of encryption will not be opened but the use of such methods will stand out to quality software scanning/cloning your hardware.
Then you become very interesting and might get to be involved in "living document" "colour of law" US legal reform. The hand over your password before you 'forget' it, not the expected self-incrimination rights case.

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734543)

I've often thought about doing that, using plausible deniability, and making the password for the "safe" partition: GoFuckYourselfYouFascistPig . The first time they ask for the password I would answer "Go Fuck Yourself You Fascist Pig", and after that I would simply ask them if they had problems hearing me the first time. When I got to court and they tried to screw me for failing to reveal the password I could state all innocent like: ... but your honor. I told them! It's GoFuckYourselfYouFascistPig . ;-) Of course, that was back when we had due process :-( [not to mention it is obviously pure fantasy, and not something I would ever actually do ... but I sure wish someone would ]

Re:The real issue: U.S. government corruption. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734787)

Hmm a Kickstarter to cover the legal fees could be quite popular.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734387)

Indeed. I have a clean system installation image that goes onto a sanitized disk for my laptop for US border crosses. Have had it since 2006 or so. Fortunately, no need to travel there in the last few years, but I will never cross the US border (or certain others) with a regular installation.

These border-searches are also pretty stupid: Use ssh to copy your date when over the border, and wipe the disk before going back.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

dk20 (914954) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734461)

How many times were you actually stopped and had it inspected? I use to cross from Canada to the US every few weeks for 4 years. Often with a laptop and other electronics (book reader, MP3 player, cell phones, etc). I just put my laptop into the plastic bin, they x-ray it and i put it back in the bag at the end of the table.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734739)

I would guess some points system/chart? Only risk a random inspection to fill out the stats to obscure more active profiling?

Re:Fight it if you want to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734559)

Indeed. I have a clean system installation image that goes onto a sanitized disk for my laptop for US border crosses. Have had it since 2006 or so. Fortunately, no need to travel there in the last few years, but I will never cross the US border (or certain others) with a regular installation.

These border-searches are also pretty stupid: Use ssh to copy your date when over the border, and wipe the disk before going back.

You can copy your date (the person you're dating) via ssh. Wow!

Re:Fight it if you want to. (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734573)

This is Slashdot. All the guys here have girlfriends with the last name of JPEG.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734723)

All the guys here have girlfriends with the last name of JPEG.

My girlfriend's last name is .GIF, you insensitive clod!

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734867)

However, I have a little thing going (strictly behind her back) with the neighbor, Old Mrs. ASKII... :p

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734785)

That's certainly what I would do. Helluva lot less likely to get me anally probed by a customs officers.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734503)

So what are you trying to hide citizen? Maybe we should lock you up just in case.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

jsepeta (412566) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734509)

better to leave all your devices at home, or never travel abroad.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734591)

Wait for the news about been found with a computer thats "too" clean.
A person moving around using a new or older computer with a fresh install of an OS and nothing to clone on factory fresh storage.
No images foe later facial recognition, gps or meta data in images, serial number of the camera/s, video clips, lists of chat friends, plain text of chats, internet use logs with cookie/cache files.
No complex passwords to request and then try with a users other networked/local files later.
If a person went to all the trouble of buying a new drive and altering their hardware and software ...

Re:Fight it if you want to. (2)

silentbozo (542534) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734647)

Just tell them that your machine got virused and you had to use the restore disk... Seriously though, if it gets that bad, they'll detain you for not having a cellphone for them to suck all your contacts out of. At that point, better not to even travel.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (4, Insightful)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734671)

Better: Do not go to the fucking USA. Travelling to the U.S. today is the best way to turn your vacation into a nightmare.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734725)

Better: Do not go to the fucking USA. Travelling to the U.S. today is the best way to turn your vacation into a nightmare.

I'm sorry, WHERE did Greenwald's boy-toy get held up? Oh it was the UK? NOT the US?

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734847)

Just curious... What you smoked? Crack? Orégano?

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734733)

I think you miss the point. Border guards, pretty much anywhere on the planet, have complete control over you. They don't need a reason to stop you, search you, take apart your vehicle or detain you.

If they're having a bad day, you'll be having a bad day.
If they're bored, you're going to have a bad day.
If they don't like your looks, you're going to have a bad day.
If they really like your looks, you're going to have a bad day.
If they feel like playing a joke, you're going to have a bad day.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734821)

They cannot find what you are not carrying.

Actually, that isn't necessarily true. I have heard of cases where people were required to log into their e-mail accounts at the border.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734851)

Citation needed.

Re:Fight it if you want to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734831)

Rather, don't be stupid and simply steer clear of the US of A.

not just visitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44734109)

Border patrol/customs doesn't just harass visitors, they harass US citizens reentering as well. I remember one time coming in 3 different agents asked me if I had any DVDs with me. I must admit the harassment is much worse when coming from the Pacific rim than when coming from the EU.

Re:not just visitors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734237)

Someone has to protect hollywood profits. Offshore american jobs is totally fine, but importing cheaper products is against the rules.

Re:not just visitors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734257)

Yes, hollywood would have to worry about profits if it was in the business of selling child pornography. That is what border agents are looking for, you idiot.

Re:not just visitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734295)

Really, and is that why DVD's are region coded as well, to prevent child porn?

I've been to China a number of times and you can buy "real" dvd's (not bootleg) for cents on the dollar (relative to income they are still expensive). Google the story about a university kid importing textbooks back to the US as 1/4 the cost.

P.S. What is with the name calling, does it help "strengthen" your argument?

Re:not just visitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734345)

How about costco vs omega? clearly importing a product from a cheaper market (which was legally purchased) for sale in the US is against the rules "if" you simply put a "copyright" image of a globe on the back. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_S.A._v._Costco_Wholesale_Corp [wikipedia.org] .

You Only Have To Cross It Once (1)

Greyfox (87712) | 1 year,1 day | (#44734117)

Which way is up to you.

Re:You Only Have To Cross It Once (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734355)

Nah, never would visit the USA, no reason.

Re:You Only Have To Cross It Once (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734873)

Lucky for me, I'm on the side of the US border where I don't have to cross it once. For an extra bit of safety margin, I'll skip your whole continent.

OMG! when did this happen? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44734127)

aka: very old news

Build a wall (1)

readin (838620) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734167)

Until we can actually identify and search everyone coming in, people who want to bring contraband into America can just cross the Mexican border (they could cross the Canadian border too, but at they would have to get into Canada first and Canada has restrictions similar to those of America).

Build a border with a big enough deterrent effect that anyone attempting to cross can be assumed to be up to serious no good - like drugs or arms smuggling - and you can shoot any border-crossers because they won't be people coming for jobs or family. At that point we can also amnesty illegal immigrants already in the country.

Then we can talk about rule for border crossings and immigration policy in general. You say you have a policy if you refuse to enforce it.

Re:Build a wall (1)

jsepeta (412566) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734519)

For 9/11 style protection, the wall should be built on the Canadian border. Just a reminder that the terrorist pilots entered the US through Canada.

Re:Build a wall (1)

mmontour (2208) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734587)

Just a reminder that the terrorist pilots entered the US through Canada.

Nope. [go.com]

Re:Build a wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734641)

For 9/11 style protection, the wall should be built on the Canadian border. Just a reminder that the terrorist pilots entered the US through Canada.

You passed the Fox News IQ test but failed the truthfulness examination. The pilot terrorists were granted visas by the Government of the United States of America so any blame for them being in the US falls squarely at the feet of DHS. Now to mention how did the FAA. USAF, NORAD, and Regional Air Traffic Control not notice four commercial airliners off course at approximately, within one hour, the same time? You can bet Osama bin Laden is alive and well but the US Government says he was killed and dumped at sea.

Re:Build a wall (1)

morcego (260031) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734521)

Or make your country so shitty, with so few freedoms left and so much oppression, that no one wants to go there.

Never mind all those billion dollars from tourism. At least no unwanted SOFTWARE will be entering your country.

What a stupid website (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734201)

Looks fucked up for windows 1020 pixels wide (and with a screen that's 1024 pixels wide and a window manager that needs like 20 pixels for a title bar... yes, it's on the side, not on top since there's even less pixels in the vertical), and no easy way to contact them. Not "about us", no "contact us" in sitemap. Shit, it's entirely an one-way street.

"America may be the land of the free" (1)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734263)

Wat.

Re:"America may be the land of the free" (1)

Insomnium (1415023) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734819)

Home of the land, Free of the brave.

You Don't Have To Cross It. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734309)

Just living within 100 miles of a US border gives them the right to conduct those searches of you and your property.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/02/09/0054212/dhs-can-seize-your-electronics-within-100-miof-us-border-says-dhs

Goes back centuries ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734321)

Extensive checks and searching goes back centuries. Keep in mind that import duties (taxes on imported goods) used to be the major source of funding for the US government. Making sure everything was declared and combatting smuggling was a major effort.

Some people think the term "bootlegging" is from the 1920s prohibition era but it is much older than that. Those prohibition era folks with a liquor flask in their boot we copying sailors from earlier centuries where the sailors tried to sneak small expensive goods past customs officials. Having a federal agent tell you to take off your shoes is something as old as the country.

Re:Goes back centuries ... (1)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734551)

And its still in effect today. The TSA agents doing the bag searches prior to boarding aircraft are dumb as rocks. But that's where you'd expect the professionals to be to prevent terrorism, bomb smuggling, etc. Meanwhile, the customs people are the professional law enforcement types. Armed, vigilant, with contraband sniffing dogs, etc. But if I was a terrorist, that would be too late. The plane would be in the side of a building long before then.

Its all about maintaining an economic Iron Curtain. You'd better not be smuggling anything around the licensed domestic distribution channels.

The whole electronic device search thing is bogus as well. If you work for al Qaida and are casing targets in the USA, you are entering with an empty laptop and camera. Its the stuff going out they need to check. They are looking for foreign firms' trade secrets and contract documents. To be forwarded on to their US competitors.

Completely off Base (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734335)

this space between offers travelers far fewer rights

No.

Rights aren't offered, they're innate (or God-given, if you prefer) and can only be infringed. Until everybody is (again) well-educated enough to say, "this space is one where governments infringe rights with reckless abandon," then little progress will be made.

Re:Completely off Base (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734677)

So where is yahwey defending these people?
Sorry, Rights are only given to the people by the government to the point that the people force the government to allow it.
What we see here is a populace not informed enough, and too complacent to keep the government in check to keep these rights available.

hey for security do this (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734351)

I am a Canadian -- I hate the morons at the border -- they are not intelligent, minimum wage types that can make you day or ruin it -- depends on how you interact with such idiots. So treat them as your buddies, dumb down all answers as they like dump simple answers. cross the border in a rented car as driving across the border in your vehicle means the border guards do stupid things such as break all the penicils in your back pack, I am not kidding -- had that happen. I was going to the USA for a training course for 1 week to sell products in canada from an american company -- they also broke all my pens -- can I say morons? I had a canadian passport.

Back in the 1970's we actually laughed about how we could get across the border without a birth certificate/passposrt -- just needed a canadian tire credit card -- now it has gone to the extreme opposite.

American US border security are morons.

Re:hey for security do this (2)

dk20 (914954) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734425)

Interesting your experience with the US side is bad. I'm also Canadian, and have traveled to the US a number of times. I've generally found the US guys to be fairly professional and reasonable. I've traveled a few times with young kids and no mother. Naturally the US customs were concerned with this, and spoke with my kids individually trying to make sure they were not being kidnapped.

Now on to Canada customs, i am waiting for the day they measure how much gas is in your tank so they can make you pay GST/PST/HST on any amount they deem to be "excessive".

I once had Canada Customs stop me on reentry and ask about the kids (which all have Canadian passports) as if i was kidnapping them (in reverse)? I thougth that was REALLY weird.

My view is the Canadian customs officers tend to be a lot more concerned with importing smokes or alcohol and being an arm of RevCan and their other duties come secondary.

Re:hey for security do this (1)

Mashiki (184564) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734507)

I once had Canada Customs stop me on reentry and ask about the kids (which all have Canadian passports) as if i was kidnapping them (in reverse)? I thougth that was REALLY weird.

Happens a lot more than you would think. The CBSA gets flashes from all police services across the country on people who they think they're running with either their, or someone elses kids. Especially with the increase where the courts have sided against the father, even when he was the better parent. As for importing booze/smokes and all that? It's actually a serious problem, though most of that smuggling goes on with the mohawk societies, and them running directly across the lakes.

Re:hey for security do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734607)

well that was a good thing for the wrong reasons -- if you were "abducting your child" they should be asking these things. It does happen more than you exepct.

I always found Canadian Border guards more concerened with people bringing in cheaper goods than breaking international laws -- they wanted theirt cut aka duties.

the other stuff is just bizarre

Re:hey for security do this (1)

dk20 (914954) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734613)

For the smuggling, everyone knows where the "problem" is, but they are exempt and so they crack down on who they can. Did you ever read the report where they took a sample of butts from the government buildings years ago?

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2010/05/17/government_employees_big_buyers_of_illegal_cigarettes.html [thestar.com]

I've always wondered what things would look like if they spent less on enforcement and more on addressing the problems. I don't drink or smoke but a lot of people who do use to ask me to bring stuff back when I lived in the US and travelled between the two countries.. it was shameful buying a product "made in Toronto" for around 1/2 the price in Stamford, CT vs Toronto, ON.

I understand the kidnapping thing, but i have traveled with the kids and no mother for years and was stopped once?

Re:hey for security do this (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734743)

Well, CBSA certainly aren't minimum wage, we're talking 40k-60k. Though I have to admit the US border gaurds for the exit to Mexico are morons or being payed by the cartels. I got stopped because I have dual citizenship and the guy couldn't stop saying "We don't recognize dual citizenship here". Which is fine, because I'm not a USian!! Poor redneck couldn't understand the concept that other countries allow dual citizenship.

Funny part is they all stood around listening to me laughing and trying to explain to this guy while several overly laden trucks, just inches off the ground, with tinted windows were waived through.

not unique to the USA (1)

murdocj (543661) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734353)

Yes, border patrol is intrusive. In all countries. I've had interesting experiences entering Canada (on a flight from the USA) and traveling in the UK. Welcome to the real world.

Re:not unique to the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734747)

The world is what we make it.

Bunch of babies (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734377)

You know up front what the rules are, don't like them, don't visit.

If you don't know the rules, you should have done your homework and you are a moron, and we don't want you to visit.

Re:Bunch of babies (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734715)

When the rules are reasonable, you complies. When they are only to oppress and harm, you ignore then or kill anyone trying to force them. Good luck with your tourism.

Re:Bunch of babies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734745)

Preach. Everyone loves to hate the U.S., including a ton of Americans, until they need something that only the U.S. can provide. The U.S. isn't perfect, but show me a nation that is. Small Scandinavian countries don't count, as they have neither the demographic issues that are problems for the U.S., the sheer size (measured in population, low population density, nor square mileage), nor are they forced to provide the vast resources to N.A.T.O. that afford them the opportunity to keep a virtually non-existent military.

Anyone that wishes to leave the U.S. is freely allowed to do so. If things are so broken, feel free to leave. There are plenty of hard working immigrants who would gladly take your place, while you troll the Internet screaming about the U.S.' violations of civil liberties from your comfortable sofa.

Re:Bunch of babies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734801)

Anyone that wishes to leave the U.S. is freely allowed to do so.

So long as they pay taxes the rest of their life.
And they're not on the 'no fly' list.
And....

Re:Bunch of babies (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734763)

Can't have foreigners taking your place at the only thing your good at, right?

Send data first (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734381)

If you don't need the data, leave it at home. If you really need access to your data after you leave, encrypt the data, and send it first. This could mean mailing a hard drive, it could mean uploading it; just don't try and take private data through the boarder with you, since they can stop you and ask for passwords and such.

Prison Judiciary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734393)

I've researched and watched law develop and have litigated as a prison "writ writer" (jailhouse lawyer), and the pattern is that our post-Reagan judiciary has steadily lessened prisoner rights and, worse, has reduced citizens' rights closer to this lowest prisoner level as a matter of "deference" to other branches of government. Now we are at the point where the Fourth Amendment is an openly-violated anachronism. Who's the terrorist?

Do your part (4, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734415)

and don't visit countries that abuse visitors, unless you absolutely have to. Back when I was 15, I dreamt of moving to America, the land of opportunity and individual freedoms. By age 24-25, I no longer had the rose-tinted glasses. Now at 30 I am no longer even interested in coming for a visit.

Re:Do your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734717)

To be honest, it really was a lot better 15 years ago, you would have been right back then to think America was a great place. As soon as 9/11 happened, the government stopped being for the people and it's been on a fast track to insanity ever since. There also isn't really anything the people can do stop it short of armed revolt, which just isn't going to happen.

Re:Do your part (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734791)

As soon as 9/11 happened, the government stopped being for the people and it's been on a fast track to insanity ever since.

Tee hee hee. And also BWA HA HA, etc.

If you really think it was all good up to 9/11 you're part of the problem.

Re:Do your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734839)

...or just not old enough to know better. (from another AC :P )

Re:Do your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734799)

Your loss. You'll never get good corn dogs outside of the U.S.A.

Re:Do your part (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734875)

Back when I was 15, I dreamt of moving to America, the land of opportunity and individual freedoms.

the good news is that if you live in a certain lucky country, we will be coming to you!

on a serious note: i hope things get better... and that our politicians stop posting crotch shots.

Pre-Paid phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734477)

So what is a recommendation for a pre-paid cell phone to take from the east coast US to Canada (Toronto area if it matters), so I can leave my smartphone at home with my laptop?

Re:Pre-Paid phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734765)

So what is a recommendation for a pre-paid cell phone to take from the east coast US to Canada (Toronto area if it matters), so I can leave my smartphone at home with my laptop?

Buy the pre-paid cell phone in Toronto and dump it in a city waste or airport waste receptacle before departing Canada. Walmart (Canada) offers pre-paid phones although availability is limited.

http://www.walmart.ca/canada-estore/search/searchcontainer.jsp?searchString=pre-paid+phone&ancestorID=10003&startSearch=yes&skuTypeParam=Normal&catgId=&_requestid=81240

Markham Supercentre ( #1109)
500 Copper Creek Drive Markham ON L6B 0S1
Phone: 905-472-9582
$49.83
In Stock (as of 01 September 2013)

Like your mother told you, leave your phone at home son, don't take your phone across the border.

Re:Pre-Paid phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734871)

Do you really have something on it that the customs guys would actually care about or is this some sort of "tinfoil hat" moment? I have crossed the US/Canada border dozens of times (all post 9-11) with smartphones, laptops, hard drives, etc. Heck, I once took two entire servers back (one was a big 4U storage server and a little hard to miss) without issue.

In all the times i traveled, they did ask me once why i had two phones. i told them one belongs to my company and the other was a personal phone. Nothing more came out of it.

My trip to a major US lab in the 1980's (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44734527)

I was going to meet a gf working in an art concervation lab in massachussets for the july 4th weekend in the mid-80's.

I took a bus from Toronto to Albany as I was a grad student and did not have a car as I could not afford such a beast.

The border guards held up the bus because I had a few textbooks on materials -- which I was reading on my long bus trip -- I was also taking a side trip to the GE R&D center in Schenectady to meed somebody who could help with my research in plastic fracture mechanics. I am Canadian born and have never been a member of a communist party -- needless to say was run thru the wringer. I made the mistake of admitting I was stopping over to meet a researcher at GE research facility wrt to my PhD research. OMG can you say ripped apart my luggage, all my materials and held up the bus which all other passengers thought I was a criminal. Thus bus was delayed by 1 hour because I admidted I was off to visit a researcher at GE HQ R&D in Schenectady NY. Well doughhh

20 years later learned to tell border guards I am going to visit car parts manufacturerers for sales calls.

Big difference. Back in 2000 the following happened:

My VP of the time was crossing 20-30 minutes after us and was bragging he was a VP of a Hydrogen fuel cell company. I told the border security we were selling auto parts to GM which was true -- my VP bragged he was selling Hydrogen Fuel Cells to GM and the detained him, ripped the car apart because all they heard was hydrogen and associasted with a hydrogen bomb -- morons -- needless to say they ripped his car apart.

Moral to the story is keep your info to a minimum and assume the people you are dealing with are morons as they are.

Jedi Mind Tricks (1)

wrackspurt (3028771) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734655)

Just say: "You don't need to see my identification. These aren't the electronic devices you're looking for. I can go about my business."

It's all in the understated hand wave you do when you say the words. It works every time at any border crossing. Trust me. Try it. You'll see.

Land of the free, If your rich. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734663)

It's only the land of the free for the very very rich, the rest of the people have an insane amount of restrictions on them.

You don't have to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734691)

This may sound trite, but it's still true. The fundamental difference is that you don't have to cross. Crossing the border is a voluntary act and subject to certain restrictions and scrutiny. In order to enter most countries you need to be the person you represent to be, and you need to be there to conduct whatever business you have a visa to do. I'm pretty libertarian, but even I can see that this is absolutely fundamentally different than the cops coming in and searching your house our your person as you walk down the street minding your own business.

In virtually all cases the restrictions are absolutely known before you cross. You may not know how much you personally will be subjected to, but you absolutely know (or should know) what is in store for you and make travel plans accordingly. Last time I checked you can't go to a major sports event or concert without being searched. Don't like it? Don't go.

Obama Purgatory Zone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734707)

Legal citizens of the U.S.A. on return travel to the U.S.A. are denied any and all local, state, Federal, International and Civil rights, according to the edicts of Obama.

The Nationale Securitate Investigador Agencia where U.S.A. citizens in particular are robed and violated. The Crowning Achievement of the Obama Regime is the Federal Prison Facility Contiguous USA.

Bravo Bravo Obama, you managed to butt fuck the people who you hate most.

Doesn't a tear come to your eye that Obama has such concern for the sarin victims in Syria and nothing for HIS VICTIMS in the U.S.A.!

Sniff sniff.

Whimper whimper.

am sure I was sexually harassed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734711)

In Albany 2000 I was there for a business trip for 3 weeks -- was wearing safety boots as that was required by the client -- on the way out I was wearing my boots as I was leaving directly from the clients site (GE), Needless to say I was pulled over by the TSA people who then felt me up -- did not mind it so much as it was a female staff but it was yet disturbing. I guess it was a guy thing and did not report it -- she got a good feel. It caught me off guard. If I was in town I would have asked for a date LoL.

The Phone is the Last Thing I'd Worry About (3, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734775)

Really, this is old news. Just ask Jacob Appelbaum. [boingboing.net]

Far, far more frightening though is the possibility that you may find yourself shipped off to a foreign country (Syria say) to be tortured and imprisoned. [wikipedia.org] What happened to Maher Arar (and others) is more than enough to make me avoid crossing the US border for any reason.

You may believe you're innocent, and that there's no reason why you would have problems, but so did he.

Wouldn't go there (1)

xiando (770382) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734797)

This will surely help tourism. I put USA on my list of not-safe-to-visit list after the 9/11 false-flag military operation in 2001. My sister asked me if I wanted to join her on vacation to the US a few years back. She's one of those people who never understood 9/11. Now even she refuses to visit that country.

How quickly we forget (1)

TodoRojo (1106857) | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734835)

How quickly we forget 9/11. If our government had been more vigilant in who crosses our border, it would have never happened. Border searches are one of the few powers I am happy to grant my overgrown, bloated, ineffective federal government. If you come to the U.S. with bad intentions, I hope they catch you.

OMG -- boston airport -- post 9/11 -- gasoline (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 hours | (#44734853)

I was in Massachusetts meeting a client for 2 days in post 9/11 circa 2004.

I met the client north of Boston in a hi-tech company -- after two days of meetings got up at 3 am at the hotel, checked out. found the nearest gas station as I was in a rental car and driving back to boston via the big dig.

As I was filling up the car gave an extrta squeeze -- at circa 4 am one is not as reactive to an overflow and notice that massacussetts gas nozzles did not have an overflow protector.

Needless to say, I got sprayed on my dress pants with gasoline.

I showed up to the car rental place -- dumped my pants, tried to clean my legs with water & paper towels, threw out the pants and replaced them with pants from my luggage. Turned in my car -- asked me if if filled up -- said oops np i can smell the gasoline -- got on the bus to the terimal -- bus driver kept on saying I smell gasoline. Went to the air canada line, yep everybody smelt gasoline. Surprisingly I got thru the United Airways security which Air Canada shares -- as I was packing up my laptop finally a guard remarked -- i smell gasoline -- told him my story -- looked at me as a moron and told me to go away. I got on the plane and the stewardesses freaked out they were smelling aero fuel -- told them it was me & my story looked upon me as a moron. Got home again thru customs but had to explain again and they looked upon me as weird -- but explained is it not weird that I am coming thru customs after a flight? Looked at me and said go away.

Man I was sure I was going to spend a winter in Guantanomo Bay -- hey Canada -- Cuba -- it was disturbing that Cuba actually looked good LoL

My experience with the US/Canada Border.

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