This Could Happen to You
Imagine this scene at an airport as you fly back from that blogging conference in the Bahamas:
Man in Black with a Badge: "Excuse me , ma'am, but I need you to give me your laptop."This might seem far fetched, but according to US Department of Homeland Security rules, federal border agents may detain and analyze any computers being carried into the country, regardless of whether the equipment belongs to a US citizen or a foreign national. No reasonable or probable cause is necessary, there is apparently no time limit on how long your property may be held in government custody, and the agents may transfer your property to other agencies and/or private entities. Oh, and the rule doesn't just cover laptops, but any device that is capable of storing data - iPods, cell phones, flash drives, etc....
US Citizen: "I'm sorry?"
MIB: "It's a matter of Homeland Security. Pursuant to DHS regulations, we are detaining your laptop indefinitely. Also, after we look at your personal and business files, we may have to send your computer to one of our corporate partners to analyze any of your encrypted financial or medical data."
US C: "What!?! Am I being accused of a crime? Do you think I'm a terrorist or something?"
MIB: "No, ma'am. Not at this point, at least. Relax, we're the federal government. If you're innocent, you have nothing to worry about."
US C: "But you're keeping my laptop?"
MIB: "Yes, ma'am."
US C: "When will I get it back?"
MIB: "I'm sorry, ma'am, but that's classified."
US C: "I'm so putting this on my blog."
MIB: "What's a blog? We made need to detain it...."
Seriously! I'm not making this up! All I have to say is, to quote Ben Franklin:
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.Wake up America!
Hat Tip: amuse
Filed Under: Geeky Yak; Political Yak
Tags: civil liberties; DHS; search; seizure