US border guards seizing recordable media

Better double-check your BlackBerry before making that weekend trip across the border, as now Homeland Security can detain laptops, mobiles and recordable media of all types for an unspecified amount of time as part of routine inspections. Any information gleaned from the media can be shared around government agencies as needed for decryption and translation, although original copies must be destroyed when if the media is returned. Throw your BlackBerry into checked luggage, because otherwise you could be losing it for months on end, even if you’re a returning US citizen and you aren’t under any particular suspicion.

“They’re saying they can rifle through all the information in a traveler’s laptop without having a smidgen of evidence that the traveler is breaking the law,” said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Notably, he said, the policies “don’t establish any criteria for whose computer can be searched.”

As a Canadian who often has to fly through the US with my laptop, I don’t like sound of this one bit. Of course, there are some solid tips out there for deterring complete invasion of privacy, including using virtual private networks in order to keep data accessible but not on your person; looks like we’re all going to have to sign up with WICKSoft. To get the full details, you can read the whole report here.

(via WindowsMobile Cool)

4 Responses to “US border guards seizing recordable media”

  1. 1 Fresh

    I am NOT liking the fact that not only could I lose my Blackberry to inspection BUT also be delayed in my travels! This is ludicrous.

  2. 2 Nick

    I wouldn’t be worried too much. It’s not like they’re going to pick every 4th person out of line and steal their gadgets and return them 6 months later. Unless they’ve got cause, they won’t be rifling through your stuff.

  3. 3 Bryan

    Granted that this just overblown and paranoid hype, but it is still invasion of privacy and a violation of our rights as citizens of the ‘free’ world and as humans.

  4. 4 Chris

    i’d be more worried about losing my blackberry in the checked baggage, seeing as how i have seen some of my personal belongings not make it to my destination in the past when i have packed it.

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