Ok here’s something controversial for you guys to digest, there has been anecdotal evidence of US Customs seizing laptops before and examining the data…but it now seems to be rather more widespread.
It’s a little worrying to me how a government can just rummage through your data when you are totally innocent and they don’t even have any evidence that you have or will commit any wrong doings. With not so much as a warrant, they can take your cellphone, read all the SMSes, check all your contacts and copy all the data from your laptop and mp3 player.
Nabila Mango, a therapist and a U.S. citizen who has lived in the country since 1965, had just flown in from Jordan last December when, she said, she was detained at customs and her cellphone was taken from her purse. Her daughter, waiting outside San Francisco International Airport, tried repeatedly to call her during the hour and a half she was questioned. But after her phone was returned, Mango saw that records of her daughter’s calls had been erased.
A few months earlier in the same airport, a tech engineer returning from a business trip to London objected when a federal agent asked him to type his password into his laptop computer. “This laptop doesn’t belong to me,” he remembers protesting. “It belongs to my company.” Eventually, he agreed to log on and stood by as the officer copied the Web sites he had visited, said the engineer, a U.S. citizen who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of calling attention to himself.
Imagine that? As stated in the article it’s entirely different from looking through your suitcase. A laptop can be an extremely personal thing for many people, especially those net junkies like us.
Perhaps have a dual boot laptop with a minimal Windows install and a Linux install PGP encrypted with all your data on it.
It’d be invisible to the Windows partition, and it’d keep your personal information and surfing habits safe.
Maria Udy, a marketing executive with a global travel management firm in Bethesda, said her company laptop was seized by a federal agent as she was flying from Dulles International Airport to London in December 2006. Udy, a British citizen, said the agent told her he had “a security concern” with her. “I was basically given the option of handing over my laptop or not getting on that flight,” she said.
The seizure of electronics at U.S. borders has prompted protests from travelers who say they now weigh the risk of traveling with sensitive or personal information on their laptops, cameras or cellphones. In some cases, companies have altered their policies to require employees to safeguard corporate secrets by clearing laptop hard drives before international travel.
I think they should be sued, this is a serious privacy infringement and a very clear violation of human rights and civil liberties. The US praises itself for it’s excellent human rights…but it doesn’t seem to apply the same rules if you are brown, yellow or any other minority.
Almost all travelers involved in the case are of Muslim, Middle Eastern or South Asian background.
TSA has confirmed this is a Customs issue and they will not be seizing any laptops.
Source: Washington Post