I hate TSA with a passion and all but this sounds rather overblown. If it was as likely as is being suggested in this thread there’d be enough people losing their laptops to actually cause the sort of backlash Congress would notice. Last time I went through an airport (a year ago or so) there were a lot of people with laptops.
Also, don’t pin your hopes on fixing this sort of thing on tossing out Current Occupant. The Democrats never met a goverment agency they didn’t like, or at least think they could tweak and live with. Tweaking won’t fix DHS. Its purpose is not security, its purpose is to teach Americans that one doesn’t argue with government employees, one only submits. Its purpose is to teach Americans how to be slaves to a totalitarian government, and totalitarianism tends to be much more of the left than of the right. You can argue with someone who wants to make money, but there’s no wiggle room with someone who’s sure they can fix society if you’ll just stop being annoying and do what he says.
Exactly. Nothing quite like border rent-a-cops who want to think they’re important. Not only is the effect on business and personal travel chilling, but I’d argue it has negative value for actual security, and on top of that wastes money.
I don’t think that’s fair. The lessons you describe are more fascist than totalitarian, and fascism is hardly unique to the left. The total social control that Stalin/Pol Pot were into is not really what’s at issue.
But I don’t have much hope for the Democrats to rescue us. Russ Feingold is a loud but sadly isolated voice in that currently-second-worst of parties.
Something I was thinking recently that you may appreciate, it’s your sort of dark humor I think:
I realized that for the first time since the Civil War, the right wing is progressive and the left wing is reactionary. In the last seven years it’s been the right that has talked about changing the society to better fit the future and the left that has wanted them to get off their lawn, things were better in the good old days.
I was surprised at how easily I became a reactionary without noticing. I guess that’s how it goes.
The right wing is progressive? What, you think all these new police state laws are somehow a move forward!? Unitary Executive government is somehow the wave of the future!?
Sure, that’s how the right wing would like to frame it, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
There’s more to being “progressive” than “changing to meet the future”. In particular, repressive laws aren’t exactly a new invention – if anything the right wing led assault on the Constitution aims to set us back 200+ years.
Well, this will make for fine theater when Colombian flights arrive. I’ll probably be performing a bit role, “Beserking Passenger #5.” Coming to an international airport on the eastern seaboard near you!
Com on now.
While I agree that this is terribly wrong on principle and should be changed asap, the actual impact on ordinary travelers is minimal. I’ve been to the US carrying heaps of electronic devices twice since DHS came to be and several of my friends have been as well - I’ve never heard of anybody loosing anything.
If you have secrets or work relted data, that you simply cannot loose, then store it online (or at least have it online as well). But if you’re afraid of losing a laptop, I’d say the chances are miniscule and you’ll get it back.
I’m not saying I don’t think the ploicy isn’t fucked up. Just that you shouldn’t let that fear make travelling even less pleasurable. Airtravel is bad enough as it is.
What do they hope to find in your laptop? Al Qaida secret base locations? If they’re worried about smuggled data, they better worry about thumb drives and not laptops. Or… the internet, cuz I can just email it.
I can’t see any goal here that makes sense.
If it’s not a carryon item, say you pack it in your regular suitcase and check it at the terminal. Then what? If they’re worried about it being a carryon laptop bomb or some shit, does this make it pass through?
Actually, TrueCrypt lets you encrypt another disk (or even another operating system) inside your encrypted disk. The idea is that outer password leads to your embarrassing porn collection, and the inner password leads your stolen plans for a doomsday device. Or vice versa, if you’re more afraid of your wife than the TSA. Since the overall entropy remains the same, there is no way to tell whether a user has enabled this option … besides torture, of course.
Your two anecdotes of traveling without losing your laptop don’t amount to much, and while you’ve never heard of anybody losing anything, I have.
The chances are not minimal. From what I read, I believe from either the ACLU or EFF (though I don’t remember the link), the estimated seizure rates are 5-10%. Moreover, the practice is apparently fairly recent, and hasn’t been in places since the DHS’s inception – so you may well have traveled to the US when they weren’t seizing anything anyway.
This is scary enough that I wouldn’t try bringing my laptop across the border. Even a 5% chance is way too high for me. As someone said above, it’s not the data that concerns me. My Macbook was expensive and I’ll be fucked if I’m going to lose it over suspicion of downloading MP3s or whatever.