A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

DHS Can Steal Your Data Without Suspicion

A Washington Post article today details the Dept. of Homeland Security’s border search policies, which include the authority to take any traveler’s (US citizens included) laptop computer for any length of time, without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Furthermore:

…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 incredibly intrusive and privacy-decimating rule applies to any device capable of storing digital documentation (ipods, flash drives, cell phones, etc), as well as any paper documents in the traveler’s possession.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff asserted in last month’s USA Today that, although only a small percentage of travelers’ computers are actually searched, this rule was necessary because “the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices, not on paper,” namely, jihadist materials and child pornography. Maybe Mr. Chertoff should schedule a meeting with Sen. Ted “series-of-tubes” Stevens, if he wants to learn a thing or two about how electronic documents are usually distributed. /sarcasm.

I wonder if the feds have the legal authority to copy and share copyrighted mp3s and movies?

via Slashdot


Filed under: Computers and Software, , , , ,

One Response

  1. Nimish says:

    Great Post Libby.

    I guess if they make a copy for law enforcement purposes, then it is protected under the fair use doctrine.

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