Your rights when crossing the US border: None

The Washington Post describes the recently revealed DHS policies for confiscation of electronic devices and printed matter when crossing the US border.

In short, border officials may take anything from anyone, without any particular reason, keep it for as long as they want, and make copies for all their friends. They also may keep records after returning the materials (assuming they ever do).

Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop computer 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, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This is of course perfectly acceptable since anyone who would cross the US border is subhuman terrorist scum anyway!

DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies – which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens – are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials said such procedures have long been in place but were disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter.

The policies state that officers may “detain” laptops “for a reasonable period of time” to “review and analyze information.” This may take place “absent individualized suspicion.”

The policies cover “any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form,” including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, 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’ or ‘pocket litter.’ "

they will ask you to turn on your laptop and log in, then will take it away

when they come back you will have a non-insert anti-virus product detectable trojan on it!!!

Nice that it includes cell phones - because everyone has the option of leaving their phone at home when traveling. How ridiculous.

Doesn’t federal/customs officers already have the power to detain (and by “detain” I mean whisk off to Guantanamo/Afghanistan/Anywhere else where “it’s not torture unless there’s organ faliure” applies) on mere suspicion?


krise madsen

Who wants to visit the us of a anyway?

with our economy in the tank, it should be nearly anyone who uses foreign currency

Well, those of us who live in the US, at least. Although, frankly, I wonder even about that anymore.

I’m headed to Russia in august, and as a result of this motherfucking police state bullshit, I’m forced to leave my laptop behind, and thus can’t work while I’m in Russia. From what I’ve read there’s a 5-10% chance of you getting nailed, and I simply can’t afford to have my laptop confiscated for an arbitrary amount of time, as I’d have to immediately get a replacement (not to mention time lost waiting for it to arrive, and to reinstall everything). And beyond that, I simply don’t want the government going through my shit without cause.

I have no idea how people who routinely travel on international business deal with this.

Makes cloud storage kind of relevant, no?

It’s a bit worrying. I’ve been planning a trip to the US later in the year, and having my laptop confiscated would be a serious problem. I’ll just have to play the odds, I suppose.

Shit. So you mean I gotta set up TrueCrypt next time I feel like hopping over to Windsor?

Fucking cocksuckers.

They will force you to submit your password to decrypt or they will seize the machine. You need cloud storage.

What about Skynet?

Our security guys at work warned us about laptops over the border about a year ago.

We were told under no circumstances were we to whine to them when our laptops were detained. In fact we were told to ‘bring them over at our own risks’. And not to bring any proprietary info over the border.

At the time, they were proposing creating ‘neutral’ laptops which I would assume contain an ap to vpn into a safe server for business purposes - but I’m not sure what came of that.

This kind of sucks when you live near the border, a quarter of the company is in Toronto on any given weekend, and many suppliers are just over the border.

Way to the restrict legal business activities. The auto industry must love this.

I’m starting to think we should join the EU as the next step toward world government. Won’t happen in my lifetime, though.

Last time I read about this I read that major corporations had moved to VPN-only access to corporate data for people who travel internationally.

It’s just a power trip for the TSA. Data can be encrypted and sent over the border on a wire, but when they physically have you, they get to use their power. It’s about some low wage schlub proving that they have complete power over you at the border. Buy an encrypted cloud storage service if you ever want to travel and wipe your drives. Show the schlub you have nothing to hide and you can go on your merry way and retrieve your data from the cloud. Resist and they will go on a power trip.

At the border you have no rights. Remember that.

I’ve not run into this nor anything at all like it, but I’ll certainly consider the possibility next time I travel.

This assumes I don’t have a backup of the data in question and care what happens if they have an uncrackable copy of the data. ;)

Yup. A couple of years ago I drove to Vancouver BC on a lark. When I tried to return, I was immediately flagged as trouble. A pair of guards spent about an hour tearing apart the interior of my truck and my bags. I watched it happen through the window. As I looked around the room realized I was the only passable white guy there, but I have a hispanic last name which is probably why I was flagged.

So yeah, if you’re not 100% caucasian don’t even fucking try crossing the border with anything you intend to keep. I’m not leaving the country again until we get a sensible president that undoes all this Homeland Security bullshit, or unless I’m leaving with the intent to never return.

No, not really. It’s pretty easy to back up the code you care about across the internet before hand, so you have to be careless to lose data from such a seizure. The problem is seizing the machines, which you then can’t use.