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Feds can seize travelers' electronics, more

updated 11:40 am EDT, Fri August 1, 2008

Feds free to seize laptops

As of July 16, US federal agents have the power to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for however long they want, says a Friday report. The seizures do not require a suspicion of wrongdoing, and are aimed to counter terrorism, with the new policies passed by two Department of Homeland Security agencies. The contents of the confiscated laptops and electronics can then be shared with not only other agencies, but private entities in order to decrypt the data they contain.

DHS officials maintain the new policies allow federal agents to take any hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers and video or audio tapes, as well as books and any written materials from any person entering the USA, US citizens included. While the measures were being practiced before they were made public in mid-July, pressure from civil rights and business travel groups made the government admit the existence new policies.

To protect sensitive business information and privileged material, such as between lawyers and clients, the policies require agents to destroy any copies of the data they acquire once a review is complete and there is no more probable cause to leave the information on file.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jondesu

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'd say this sounds like it falls way over into the "Unreasonable search and seizure" clause of the Constitution. How long before someone fights this one in court? If the "Feds" can search and seize our computers at the border without reasonable cause or due process, then what's the stop them from extending that policy to any other situation?

  1. macvette

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Famous Quote

    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    --- Benjamin Franklin

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This sounds to me that travelling to the US now is like going to one of the fictitious (??) countries where people have no rights and the government can do whatever they want with them without needing any explanation. It's unbelievable how far back in human rights and respect we came.

    The worst part is that the ones that will suffer the most are the American people with damages to tourism and even businesses.

    You don't really need outside terrorism when your own government takes on the role for you.

  1. Thom9

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I laugh every time I hear an American say their free. It's a joke. This government is taking away all your rights and freedoms one at a time. America is not free and is starting to look like Russia in the 60s. In my country (Canada) if ANY official asked to see ANYTHING belonged to me I would tell him to get packing or produce a search warrant. Land of the free my A$$.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    to the Bush/GOP Police State.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the government

    enjoys a broad right to control entry into the country, according to our courts, which entitles it to do things which it could not ordinarily do to citizens.

    However, that does not mean it is right or smart to make the US seem even more unfriendly to travelers, in a time of globalization. Somewhere in a cave in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is laughing his a** off.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    you were one of those people who said after 9/11, "I'm willing to give up some of my rights for security," how do you feel about that now?

    It is a lot different when it is YOUR freedom being taken away, rather than some other (brown-skinned) person, huh? After all it won't affect you, right? WRONG.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. jogdish

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Blame Canada

    It is Canada's fault.

    Their free in Canada.

  1. Super Glitcher

    Joined: Dec 1969



    now that's American!


  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    load of sh*t I have ever heard in my life... Love the Franklin Quote (It's been on my sig line for several years) so here's a few more...

    "It's unbelievable, that a country (The United States) that many of us have looked to as the bastion of true freedom could now have eroded so many of the liberties we believed were upheld almost religiously." -- Nobel Peace Prize Winner - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    "You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
    Malcolm X

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