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DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border

Home - by - February 10, 2013 - 20:00 America/New_York - 9 Comments


The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.

According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.

more http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/02/electronics-border-seizures/?cid=co5746764


SNIP:  Maybe Mexico should give all illegals iPads so they can be stopped and searched at the border, too.



    February 10th, 2013

    Does that 100-miles extend from the coastlines too?

    You betcha! http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/10/aclu-assails-10/

    Thumb up +6

  2. RickeyG

    February 10th, 2013

    Great…all of Florida is within 100 miles of the coast!

    Gee…why is the pop-up ad on this page advertising an online degree in Homeland Security? Kinda hard to take the class if my laptop gets seized!

    Thumb up +6

  3. Wraith

    February 10th, 2013

    You mean illegal invaders all have cell phones, laptops and all kinds of electronic devices?

    Oh, that’s right–the last people they want to bother with are the invaders. They’re more concerned with the actions of law-abiding American citizens.

    Wonder why? :?

    Thumb up +6

  4. Anonymous

    February 10th, 2013

    And media wonders why the growing support for Dorner.

    Could corruption at every level be causing the entire house made of cards to fall down?

    Thumb up +1

  5. J Frank Parnell

    February 10th, 2013

    Along 1200 miles of border with Mexico, you lose your 4th Amendment and yet hundreds of thousands of diseased, illiterate Democrats cross into Texas as part of the Left’s plan to destroy the Republic. And yet here we are with them in charge.


    Thumb up +4

  6. todak

    February 10th, 2013

    Damn them all to hell! The simpletons have not read the Constitution at all. Here is the 4th amendment in its entirety:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Probable cause only gets one the damn warrant, not discretion to seize and search based on a suspicion. The warrant MUST say what particular place is to be searched AND what item or person is to be seized. They cannot use an excuse such as “we are going to search your car at this traffic stop to see if you have contraband” or “we are going to search your computer to see if there is any objectionable material contained on it.” Just say no. They will throw a pop-eyed double-barreled hissy fit, but they cannot do any of that without your consent, nor can they detain you while they try to get a warrant. How would I know, you may ask? When I drove truck I had a run-in with an Ohio PUCO cop about a radar detector. He let me go because he said he did not like to lose in court. There is more interesting detail to the story, but, for brevity, I laid out the main points. Do not let the thugs intimidate you. ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS!

    Thumb up +4

  7. Cynic

    February 10th, 2013

    Put up a secure barrier wall and leave my iPhone alone.

    Thumb up +3

  8. RANDO

    February 10th, 2013

    Now, just a … second.
    If they have no suspicion, why would they seize the device??

    Thumb up +2

  9. Unruly Refugee

    February 11th, 2013

    Our rights continue to erode while the Red carpet is rolled out for the illegals. How long are we gonna put up with this shit?

    Thumb up +2