Ramblings about what I encounter within the realm of the geosciences, as well as the occasional rant about nonsense.

02 August 2008

But.... I like the Bill of Rights

This is bouncing around the blogs. It makes me angry so I am posting it here. The Washington Post is reporting that the federal government can take your laptop (or any device that can store data: Including such cutting edge technology as Books and scraps of Paper!) for detailed examination without so much as a shred of evidence that you did anything wrong. I can see why, protecting freedom is so much trickier when freedom is involved.
Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.
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The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.' "
Hopefully, nobody is planning on leaving the country any time soon. That could be interpreted as "running". running from what? Your guilt! Technically, my brain can store information, guess it's time for that lobotomy I've been putting off.

Reasonable measures must be taken to protect business information and attorney-client privileged material, the policies say, but there is no specific mention of the handling of personal data such as medical and financial records.

When a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information, any copies of the data must be destroyed. Copies sent to non-federal entities must be returned to DHS. But the documents specify that there is no limitation on authorities keeping written notes or reports about the materials.

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Customs Deputy Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern said the efforts "do not infringe on Americans' privacy." In a statement submitted to Feingold for a June hearing on the issue, he noted that the executive branch has long had "plenary authority to conduct routine searches and seizures at the border without probable cause or a warrant" to prevent drugs and other contraband from entering the country.
But wait, oh you almost got me, my laptop isn't made of drugs. neither is my iPod, any books I have, etc.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices."Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.
On a side note: nobody should carry a bible on a plane. That thing is violent in places. I wonder how many bibles they confiscate.

Scarily enough, this has already reach the 9th circuit court of appeals:
In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco upheld the government's power to conduct searches of an international traveler's laptop without suspicion of wrongdoing.
Fortunately, there are plans in action to correct this "oversight".
"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.
Frankly, I am in favor of this new "education" plan. Our schools are failing because they don't know the material (like what are the "Bill of Rights"). But if we remove the Bill of Rights from existence, then the kids don't need to know about things like unlawful search and seizure. Same thing with the ID, YE, other stupid mythos here. These are hard topics. if you just say jebus did it, we all get A's!

2 comments:

hypocentre said...

"On a side note: nobody should carry a bible on a plane. That thing is violent in places. I wonder how many bibles they confiscate."

Actually if you are flying to Saudi Arabia you will have a problem with a Bible.

The Guardian

I'm put off visiting the States again simply by all the palaver of going through US customs / border control.

Bryan said...

wow... just wow...

Thanks.

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Between Los Alamos,NM and White Rock, NM

Between Los Alamos,NM and White Rock, NM
The photo of the travertine spring was taken in the small opening in the center of the image.

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