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US intros new rules on border notebook searches

updated 10:25 am EDT, Fri August 28, 2009

New notebook border rules

US lawmakers have introduced new measures regarding searches of notebook computers entering the US, according to a Friday report. The revised rules attempt to address concerns regarding violations of privacy and Constitutional rights. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains such searches are necessary to fight potential terrorism plots, child pornography and copyright infringement. Air travelers with notebooks are often asked to power up their devices to ensure they are what they appear to be, with some incidents going on to more in-depth searches of hard drive content.

Some privacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are calling for Congress to block such searches on notebooks, cellphones and other personal electronics without probable cause. The present rules allow searching devices without an owner's consent, but do require a search to be performed in an owner's presence, unless there are national security or law enforcement reasons to do so elsewhere. The rules also allow officers to hold devices or the data they contain, and copy it for later review without consent.

The new rules call for being more careful when handling data of a legal or business nature, as well as sensitive data such as medical records and information carried by journalists.

by MacNN Staff



  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Damn fascists, stealing all my personal data in the name of security theater. Do they also open up my briefcase and xerox all my documents, in the off-chance they might contain a terrorist plot? It's not like a terrorist or whoever couldn't just download any of that information from the internet once they got into the country... YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE!

  1. mullum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    thought police

    exactly, this is just another freedom being taken away in the name of terrorism. They should worry more about tourism than terrorism, I for one will never visit a country that thinks it has the right to ignore my rights. What next ? Thought police ?

  1. byRyan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    two girls

    I think it would be funny to have "two girls and a cup" loaded on screen before I travel...

    Oh, you want to see whats on my computer... you really want to see it... OK!!!

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Another law that inconveniences those that are law abiding.

    Criminals will just put their data on a server and download it after they enter the US.

    Meanwhile the rest of us are having our property unfairly seized and searched.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They aren't doing much

    These officers aren't crack cyber security experts.

    They can't find anything on the machine that isn't there to be found.

    There is zero reason a file has to be visible to the OS, that you can see the file in any normal accessable way.

    They aren't taking computers that appear completely innocent, taking them apart, and scanning the hard drives at the bit level, and employing a team of crack security experts to painstakenly analyze every detail.

    C'mon. The only thing possible for them to do here, is catch a viewer of child pornography, who has a collection either in open view or merely password encrypted but otherwise completely open to view.

    Or something of that nature.... yes, there are even a certain number of terrorists who will confess to their crimes, if you just ask them...thats why they ask everyone if you are a terrorist.

    Seems silly, but some religious fanatics are raised to tell the you ask.

    But, I agree, harassing every person that comes through, just because on rare occasion you find some idiot who incriminates not good enough.

    You could use the same logic, to randomly sieze and search homes...just go on wild fishing expeditions, I guarantee you, it will catch people doing things wrong, sometimes.

    But we just don't want to live that way.

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