Remember the days when a cornerstone of our country included no “unreasonable search and seizure”? Good times, good times…

The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.



  1. LibertyLover says:

    This administration is really starting to get out of hand.

    • Captain Obvious says:

      You could switch out the administration (e.g. Romney, Rubio, etc) and it would still be the same. The only people raising a stink about this is the extremes at both ends of the political spectrum. The centrist who gets elected to the White House ends up buried in the massive mess that is the DHS.

      • pedro says:

        Are you implying that Obomba is a centrist? I chuckle at the prospect

      • LibertyLover says:

        If centrists aren’t complaining about this, too, they’re morans.

        I agree with you about either party would be just as bad. They all work for the same boss.

        I disagree that Obama is a centrist. He’s just another cog doing what he is told. I really don’t think he has a clue what he is doing.

        • pedro says:

          Oh, he’s is pushing his agenda alright. It’s just that as long as he does what he’s told, the handlers won’t mind

    • msbpodcast says:

      Encrypt everything and keep it up in the cloud.

      Then the autorityes can suck on vacuum…

      DHS is security theatre, but I don’t like the play.

      • Peppeddu says:

        People should encrypt everything anyway.

        If the laptop gets stolen the only thing you should you worry about is to get a new one.

      • dusanmal says:

        Unfortunately this includes ability to compel you to decrypt (or go to jail until you do).

  2. Somebody says:

    How nice for them they have their very own civil rights watchdogs!

    And so accommodating too!

  3. hmeyers says:

    I’ve always wondered why in a world with the internet why anyone would have something “suspicious” on their computer.

    In a world with Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP, Sky Drive what the fuck would be the need to have “documents” on your electronic device that you would get in trouble for?

    Unless troublemakers are morons — and I bet most of them are.

    Yet, the idea of something “incriminating” on your computer or phone at least SHOULD be laughably 1980′s floppy disk “ha ha” funny in the year 2013.

    But troublemakers aren’t known for having brains …

    • Uncle Dave says:

      You’re forgetting the item I posted some time ago about the facility being built in Utah which will use room fulls of supercomputers to examine (and decrypt if need be) every email, file transferred, phone call, etc. So, everything you put into the cloud will be read by the government.

      Keep it local, put it into the cloud… We’re screwed no matter what.

      • hmeyers says:

        | everything you put into the cloud will be read by
        | the government

        Potential replies:

        1. They’ll be bored stiff, no doubt.
        2. Doesn’t the average yutz post all their embarassing/stupid activities on Facebook where everyone can see.
        3. I bet 98% of the boneheads could be detected via what they search for on Google.

        Actual reply:

        I bet during the height of the cold war, they were listening to many/most of the international phone calls going to places like West Germany.

        The idea of internet privacy never truly existed, I remember “Carnivore” back in 1998.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore_%28software%29

        I’m not saying none of this matters, I’m more saying that nothing has changed. They’ve been monitoring the internet back to even the dialup days of the 1990s.

        • pedro says:

          The operators might be bored to death. The data mining programs do not get bored.

          Uncle Dave is right and storing anything important, much less something compromising in the cloud is the most moronic thing ever.

          • hmeyers says:

            I actually worry not so much that feds read the cloud, but that for say Google Drive that Google might read it and steal ideas/business intelligence.

            All the Silicon Valley companies have the privacy-violator mindset and want to download your address book and sniff your emails.

            While Google “proper” might not do such a thing, it doesn’t mean an employee wouldn’t …

        • ReadyKilowatt says:

          Just wait until the IRS gets hold of your ebay sales and wonders why you didn’t report it as income.

          Just wait until they start sharing all your Amazon.com traffic with state and local governments, who will no doubt be very interested in why you didn’t pay all the sales taxes required.

    • ReadyKilowatt says:

      You think you’re so clever putting all your data on the cloud? Fine, they’ll just send a request to your ISP asking for all the activity on your account, figure out that you’ve been using Dropbox a lot lately, and then put in a request to Dropbox for the data. It happens hundreds of times a day, and we’re just at the beginning of it. Just like parking meters, if it is something the government can make a buck on, you bet it’ll be the most efficient process out there.

      Set up your own NAS, secure it, and don’t trust a 3rd party with anything.

  4. bobbo, the junior culture critic says:

    This issue wouldn’t bother me if it was close, like 2-3 miles, from the border but I’ve read that Border Patrol makes stops/sets up road blocks 200 and more miles from the Border as part of their “patrol.”

    Just like with gun control, yes, its the innocent honorable law abiding citizens that get restricted in order for the gubment to get at the criminals.

    Thats how life works. Very pragmatic.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      Fourth Amendment protections against searches and seizures haven’t existed at the border for years prior to 9/11.
      The federal government states that it can set up checkpoints 100 miles from a border – encompassing all of Florida, for instance.

      At issue is how long can the federal government seize a computer; for instance, at the border.

      I guess seizing an electronic device for an indefinite period of time 100 miles from a border is the federal government’s current position.

    • dusanmal says:

      No “pragmatism”. The root of this country’s legal system bans search and seizure without a proper warrant ANYWHERE. You want “pragmatic” – change Constitution first, don’t violate it.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I agree. But the reality is, thats not what happens.

        I have read cases re the right to inspect person/property “on entry or exit” of the USA. That even makes sense to me.

        So, indeed, the ball rolls a little down hill to the border + 100 miles.

        …. and the ball keeps rolling.

  5. Admfubar says:

    the border patrol is looking for ‘pirated’ content on your system. hollywood lobbied for this and got it.
    the ‘government’ coming up with this idea is only for the ignorant to believe..

    • hmeyers says:

      Federal agents grilling people “Do you have a receipt for this movie?”

      Watch the guy being questioned calmly replying.

      But then a bead of sweat runs down his forehead like in Total Recall. Which is a dead giveaway that the guy is lying — AND DANGEROUS — so the FBI blows him away.

  6. Captain Obvious says:

    What fun! Who doesn’t want probes, scanners, rubber gloves, and “Freedom Searches”?

  7. deowll says:

    No doubt comrade Stalin and Mao would approve. The DHS now has enough ammo on hand to shoot every American 5 times.

    In other news we owe China 1.3 T. They are now the worlds biggest trading nation and Putin has bought 570 metric tons of gold. I think some nations are starting to use gold as international currency again. The word is that is how Iran is given BO/the US the finger.

    Did we ever come up with enough fuel we could put that carrier back out to sea? I think the ship uses nuclear but you have to have fuel for the planes or what’s the point?

    • pedro says:

      There are countries like Russia & China that are doing business with Venezuela which are only accepting gold because venezuela is so insolvent and corrupt that they do not accept any other guarantee for their services/goods.

      BTW, venezuela just changed back its reserves to US dollars after being one of the first running to the Euro for that effect.

  8. No One Special says:

    It’s starting to sound like the 1930′s all over again. Not that anyone these days really cares to remember/learn HISTORY or anything. After all, we may not be heading towards another world war since no one is exactly calling for any more mass exterminations or trying to create an “us versus them” environment like the German Nazis did. We’re still trying to figure out who the NEW Nazis are – Democrats or Republicans!

    Oh! Wait a minute… Hold the phone… This just in! There’s a war on terror, a war on drugs and a war on fat Americans. (I just wish I could remember now why I thought any of that was relevant.)

    Sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled ignorant blogging.

  9. Peppeddu says:

    If we continue this way, pretty soon we are gonna envying the civil rights of North Korea.

  10. Dallas says:

    This law first came into effect during the Cheney administration in 2008. I didn’t hear the Teapublican sheeple belly ache then.

    • BigBoyBC says:

      2008, that’s when Hillary and Obama were in the Senate and the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. I don’t remember them crying about it either…

    • pedro says:

      And you are 10x the moron that you were back then. That’s progress.

      Go back to the kitchen and prepare food for your husband

    • Dallas says:

      They did it too!! They did it too!!!

      What a child.

      • BigBoyBC says:

        Can’t handle the truth can you… But I should’t blame Obama, He’s only doing what he has been instructed to do by his Democrat masters.

        Obama the messiah of the truly brain dead…

        • pedro says:

          That’s not DUhllass. He was mocking him just like you.

          Hilarious nonetheless.

  11. Publius says:

    I’m American.

    What it means is the Good Old Rich Boys using the government / industrial revolving door can Fuck Me, right?

  12. Publius says:

    The dog known as The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog can go lick its own balls in the corner.

    F their war on terror, F their war on drugs

    War is a racket.

    Dismantle the DHS. Send it packing. This agency is a horrible creation f you very much President George W. Bush and the rest of you members of those Congresses during those years. Also, f you very much President George W. Obama.

    F stands for Thanks. Many happy returns.

  13. dcphill says:

    The whole idea is so full of bull excriment that it makes my head hurt. Somebody needs to challenge that in the Supreme Court.

  14. John E. Quantum says:

    When standing behind some stranger with a laptop while going through customs, one might say to the stranger (loud enough so the customs agent can hear) “just tell them it’s midget porn, they won’t care”. Hilarity will ensue.

  15. MikeN says:

    Do you support or oppose the use of drones to catch Chris Dorner?

  16. Bob says:

    Silly Uncle Dave. Did you really think the government was going to stop by taking away the rights of your so called “tea baggers”?

    This is what happens when you unchain a government from the constitution, and allow it to do what ever it wants. They may start by doing things that you like (gun control laws, amnesty, mandatory insurance, ect) but inevitably they are going to get to a right you like.

    If it makes you feel better, this is only the beginning.

  17. MikeN says:

    former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith – who provided the legal authorization for the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program – went to the New Republic to celebrate that Obama was not only continuing the core Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism, but even better (from his perspective), was strengthening those policies far beyond what Bush could achieve by transforming Democrats from opponents of those policies into supporters.

    http://guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/11/progressives-defend-obama-kill-list

  18. MikeN says:

    Progressive willingness to acquiesce to or even outright support Obama’s radical policies – in the name of partisan loyalty – is precisely what ensures the continuation of those policies. Obama gets away with all of this because so many progressives venerate leader loyalty and partisan gain above all else.

    An interesting theory, that public opinion changed from opposition to support once Obama moved his positions.

  19. Rabid Monkey says:

    All the better reason to use TrueCrypt. What are they gonna do, waterboard your arse in order to compel you to reveal your password or something? Oh wait…