[Novalug] Caveat for travelers crossing US borders (fwd)
karhunhammas at Lserv.com
Mon Aug 4 09:39:47 EDT 2008
U.S. border agents given power to seize travellers' laptops,
U.S. authorities now have the power to seize travellers'
electronic devices, including laptops and cellphones, and make
copies of their contents at an off-site location.
01/08/2008 3:33:40 PM
The policy gives border agents at any point of entry into the
United States the authority to also take documents, books,
pamphlets and hard drives. The items can be seized from anyone
crossing the border and may then be copied and shared with other
government agencies, according to Department of Homeland Security
documents dated July 16.
"Officers may detain documents and electronic devices, or copies
thereof, for a reasonable period of time to perform a thorough
border search," the policy says. "The search may take place
on-site or at an off-site location."
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold told the Washington Post he finds the
new policies "alarming" and said he plans to introduce
legislation that would make grounds for border searches more
Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Center
for Democracy and Technology, said the new policies allow
authorities to conduct searches without suspicion of wrongdoing.
"They're saying they can rifle through all the information in a
traveller's laptop without having a smidgen of evidence that the
traveller is breaking the law," he told the Post.
If the authorities find there is not probable cause to hold the
seized items, copies must be destroyed, according to the policy.
The policy does not outline a timeframe in which materials must
"These examinations are part of ... long-standing practice and
are essential to uncovering vital law-enforcement information,"
the policy says, noting examinations help authorities detect
possible instances of terrorism, narcotics smuggling, child
pornography and violations of copyright and trademark laws.
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