Saturday, August 02, 2008

"Your Laptop, Please!!"

This is getting out of hand.

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption, or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The policies cover 'any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form,' including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover 'all papers and other written documentation,' including books, pamphlets and 'written materials commonly referred to as "pocket trash..."

DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including US citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism

It won't take too long for this to backfire seriously, given the standards used for employing DHS personnel at airports. They'll probably hit some Cedar Rapids-born college girl coming back from a semester overseas.

Bend over. Be sure to ask "May I have another, sir?"

HT: Schneier

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