First, The Ninth Circuit recently held in United States v. Arnold that the Fourth Amendment does not require government agents to have reasonable suspicion before searching laptops or other digital devices at the border, including international airports. The privacy and free speech implications of this decision are very significant because many of us store a wide range of private information on our laptops.
US Customs agents now have free reign to search through all the photos of your personal life, emails to your friends and family, all the e-books you have purchased, and your entire music library. If you have confidential work information about clients, patients, breaking news stories, or business deals, US Customs may attempt to view those materials. And if you try to keep that information private through the use of encryption, you may face a further problem with US Customs.
In a second case currently working its way through District Court in Vermont, United States v. Boucher, the federal government is arguing that it can legally compel someone crossing an international border to enter their data decryption password, in order to search the encrypted files on a laptop computer.
While the right to keep your encrypted data to yourself is making its way through court, there are several documented instances of US customs pressuring travellers into typing in their passwords to enable a "voluntary" search of their data. The Washington Post recently reported this:
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.
And if you say no to the US Customs agent requesting your data? You may miss your flight (at your own expense). Again, from the Washington Post:
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.
Legal minds have chimed in on the issues that these cases present. Jennifer Granick of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has weighed in a couple of times, while the gang at the Volokh Conspiracy have discussed the cases at length.
On the technology side of things, CNET's Declan McCullagh and Christopher Soghoian have also given their own advice to avoiding a border search, as has security guru Bruce Schneier. Finally, father of crypto Whitfield Diffie and cyber-activist John Gilmore have further suggestions.
As unfortunate as it is, there doesn't seem to be any disagreement that if you have data on your laptop, US customs may try look at it. The real question is whether or not to try to maintain confidentiality of data through encryption. There are essentially three different methods:
The first solution is very problematic. A US Customs agent will turn on your laptop, see the encrypted partition or folder, and ask you for your password. If you are a US citizen, saying no may lead to you losing your laptop. If you are not a US citizen, you may be rejected entry to the US. No matter what happens, the mere presence of encryption software is likely to lead to you being exposed to significantly more suspicion.
The second solution, while an innovative application of technology, also has many problems. If a user has hidden the entire encrypted folder, or has opted to use the multiple levels of plausibly deniable encryption, they can still be undone with two simple questions: "Sir, do you have any encrypted data on this disk?" and "Sir, do you have any additional encrypted data on this disk?"
This can put you in a very bad situation-disclosing the data or lying to law enforcement. Lying to US Customs or other law enforcement officer may result in criminal prosecution. Just ask Martha Stewart, who was indicted, under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, for lying to federal government agents.
So, the only way to protect your confidential information until the law is
settled may be option number three. Prepare and encrypt your data ahead of time,
and upload that encrypted data to the Internet. When you do get stopped by a US
Customs agent, you will be able to truthfully state that you have no sensitive
or encrypted data at all on the computer. With a clean laptop, you can travel
through customs with confidence that confidential data will remain protected.
SERIOUSLY IF YOU FORWARD THIS PLEASE EDIT IT SO THAT MY NAME AND EMAIL INFORMATION ARE NOT PRESENT. It is becoming a great concern if one expresses any opposition to the conduct of the State of Terrorists known as the USA. Thank you.
"U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers, Border Patrol Agents, Air and Marine Agents, Internal Affairs Agents, and any other official of CBP authorized to conduct border searches ... may search, review, retain, and share certain information possessed by individuals who are encountered by CBP at the border, functional equivalent of the border, or extended border ..."
Before I get started there are many who are freaked out by what is happening to what used to be the USA. It's now morphed into something else entirely and that something else is no longer friendly which is an understatement. I don't quite know what they are becoming but it's getting scarier each month. This past July human being suffered a horrific loss of rights when entering the USA. Here are some links to news reports in case you think I've blown a gasket or something.
Ready to travel? Get ready to surrender your iPodAn Earth Shattering Event has occured in the United States Of America the Land of the Free and the Brave - NO MORE!!!
"A recently released Department of Homeland Security policy says U. S. border guards can take your laptop computer, iPod or other electronic device without explanation and with no firm limit on when they must return it. "
Digital Frisking for Copyright Infrigement at US Border Disclosed
General google news search
General google internet search with OVER 288,000 hits!!!
Find attached the PDF of the new border crossing guidelines for your COMPLETE and TOTAL information STRIP SEARCH!!!
A sample of the Big Brother tactics NOW being employed here are two paragraphs.
B. Review of Information in the Course of Border SearchThat is right, ALL your electronic gadgets - cameras, laptops, iPhone, cell phones, iPOD, mpeg player, memory sticks, hard drives, digital picture frames, computers, and anything whatsoever with a digital memory or processing capability can be SEIZED, TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU, STOLEN, ALL absent individualized suspicion. Personal RIGHTS NO MORE!! The STATE RULES at ALL COSTS ABOVE ALL!
Border searches must be performed by an officer or otherwise properly authorized officer
with border search authority, such as an ICE Special Agent. In the course of a border
search, and absent individualized suspicion, officers can review and analyze the
information transported by any individual attempting to enter, reenter, depart, pass
through, or reside in the United States, subject to the requirements and limitations
provided herein. Nothing in this policy limits the authority of an officer to make written
notes or reports or to document impressions relating to a border encounter.
C. Detention and Review in Continuation of Border Search
(1) Detention and Review by Officers. Officers may detain documents and electronic
devices, or copies thereof, for a reasonable period of time to perform a thorough
border search. The search may take place on-site or at an off-site location.
Except as noted in section D below, if after reviewing the information there is not
probable cause to seize it, any copies of the information must be destroyed. All
actions surrounding the detention will be documented by the officer and certified
by the Supervisor.
When those pretending to be the STATE take it upon themselves to do whatever they want we end up with countries like Nazi Germany. It is quite shocking that the United States is heading towards a deeply paranoid (oh there already) and locked down country. IF you think that Obama will reverse this then ask him before he's elected!
Absent individualized suspicion. Think about what that actually means. Yes, they don't like your hair cut or your smile looks nervous off you go to have your electronic devices subjected to State Authorized Digital RAPE! Heaven help you if they find just one naughty picture (could even be one you took of you and your girlfriend) or one web site link your web browser remembered!
Recommendations on traveling to the United States of No More Rights.
(1) Travel Infomation Gaget NUDE! Don't Take Any Devices! None if you can. Not your cell phone (buy a second one for travel). Not your laptop. Not your iPod, iPhone, whateverPod of any brand. Your digital memory watch, nada. Ditch them all at home. Most certainly not your blackberry or similar device. Leave then all at home and take a book, of course not a book that contains information which they'd need to search. Don't take comic books as they usually have superheroes fighting evil terrorists which could bring suspicion onto you. Don't Take the Digital IT!!The list goes on and on and on. If you need assistance ask and I'll likely tell you not to do it.
Don't take IT! (IT = Information Technology). Travel Digitally Nude.
(2) Replace the memory with BRAND NEW memory IF POSSIBLE in your device. For example change the hard drive in your laptop computer and install a new operating system on it!
(3) Have a travel laptop computer that you install a new OS onto each time you travel AFTER you ERASE the hard drive 30+ times, yes 30+ times, so that forensic analysists can't retrieve the prior memory imprints from the drive. Yes hard drives are not erased competely when you erase them.
(4) Buy a computer in the USA once you've crossed the border!
(5) Buy new memory sticks for your cameras, media players, etc...
(6) Remember your kids might be into having stuff of their digital devices that you'll deeply regret if searched. You know the typical: porn, porn, porn, movies, movies, videos, videos, oh yes and the music, always the music, music, music. Erase it all!!!
(7) Don't travel to the united states. However, that is flawed for a number of reasons. Air travel is unpredictable. Shit happens and your direct flight to pardise in Mexico or the Caribean or Europe or Asia can easily be diverted to an American Airport - the enterance to the gustapo info strip search absent individualized suspicion.
(8) Set your web browser to FORGET EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. Even that might not work so erase and install a new operating system FOR EACH TRIP.
(9) Cell phones. Address book. Yes, they want your address book and the last 20 numbers you called. Now they can get it and find out your KNOWN ASSOCIATES and add it to their Total Information Awareness Database on criminals (that's everyone not currently pretending to be a member of (working for) the State). Remember if you're not ONE OF THEM you are AGAINST THEM!!!
(10) Your facebook page will then be connected with your phone book, your contacts, your web links, your entire life online and off line. Your digital profile in the State of Terror (USA) will be larger than Hitler's very soon.
(11) If you think that encryption will save you then you're in for a big surprize. They'll order you to decrypt it and if you don't they likely will toss you into jail until you comply.
(12) All encryption must be done using plausible deniability. Try http://www.truecrypt.org. Protect your private life and business secrets from their prying eyes. But don't risk it if you don't have to.
(n) ... where n is a very scary big number of scenarios where hell is unleashed for no reason.
Travel safe. Travel in the real world without Digital information or with the least digital information as possible for the PURPOSE of your trip.
NOTE THAT THIS ALSO APPLIES TO ALL - YES ALL - COUNTRIES NOW TOO since so many of them simply follow the USA's lead such as ours.
It just amazes me that people let their elected representatives get away with this stealing of their rights.
All the best, peaceful freedom and privacy.
My name here.
Welcome to ridiculous
So if you go across the US border, here is what can happen to your electronic devices: unreasonable search and seizure with or without suspicion, and certainly without a warrant.
What's even more funny is that the same policy states that people will be protected against unreasonable search and seizure (!!!).
Seriously: what is the use of going over anybody's laptop files looking for incriminating evidence in the age of the Internet? Certainly anybody with two fingers' worth of a forehead could travel laptopless, get a laptop for $500 after crossing the border and download stuff while seeping a coffee at Starbucks. What is this notion of security? You have to be kidding. But despite this people have to give up their right to their own property without any reason whatsoever?
And yet, border agents cannot go through sealed mail. Gee, thanks. What a sick joke.
Here's the worst of it all, I think. Agencies with which the seized information or copied materials are shared do not necessarily have to destroy the copies when / if it is determined that they are worthless. For example, national security may be invoked and therefore there is no need to use a shredder. Since the definition of national security is also national security, this in turn allows government to keep any data it wants, with or without reason.
And remember, government may move you to Guantanamo for no reason at all, and keep you there for no reason at all as well. Feel good now?
This is just the beginning of thought crime, as in 1984.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Policy Regarding Border Search of Information
This policy provides guidance to U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers, Border Patrol Agents, Air and Marine Agents, Internal Affairs Agents, and any other official of CBP authorized to conduct border searches (for purposes of this policy, all such officers and agents are hereinafter referred to as "officers") regarding the border search of information contained in documents and electronic devices. More specifically, this policy sets forth the legal and policy guidelines within which officers may search, review, retain, and share certain information possessed by individuals who are encountered by CBP at the border, functional equivalent of the border, or extended border. This policy governs border search authority only; nothing in this policy limits the authority of CBP to act pursuant to other authorities such as a warrant or a search incident to arrest.
A. Purpose CBP is responsible for ensuring compliance with customs, immigration, and other Federal laws at the border. To that end, officers may examine documents, books, pamphlets, and other printed material, as well as computers, disks, hard drives, and other electronic or digital storage devices. These examinations are part of CBP's long-standing practice and are essential to uncovering vital law enforcement information. For example, examinations of documents and electronic devices are a crucial tool for detecting information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling, and other national security matters; alien admissibility; contraband including child pornography, monetary instruments, and information in violation of copyright or trademark laws; and evidence of embargo violations or other import or export control laws.
Notwithstanding this law enforcement mission, in the course of every border search, CBP will protect the rights of individuals against unreasonable search and seizure. [That's known as big brother double speak]. Each operational office will maintain appropriate mechanisms for internal audit and review of compliance with the procedures outlined in this policy.
B. Review of Information in the Course of Border Search Border searches must be performed by an officer or otherwise properly authorized officer with border search authority, such as an ICE Special Agent. In the course of a border search, and absent individualized suspicion, officers can review and analyze the information transported by any individual attempting to enter, reenter, depart, pass through, or reside in the United States, subject to the requirements and limitations provided herein. Nothing in this policy limits the authority of an officer to make written notes or reports or to document impressions relating to a border encounter.
C. Detention and Review in Continuation of Border Search
(1) Detention and Review by Officers. Officers may detain documents and electronic devices, or copies thereof, for a reasonable period of time to perform a thorough border search. The search may take place on-site or at an off-site location. Except as noted in section D below, if after reviewing the information there is not probable cause to seize it, any copies of the information must be destroyed. All actions surrounding the detention will be documented by the officer and certified by the Supervisor.
(2) Assistance by Other Federal Agencies or Entities.
(a) Translation and Decryption. Officers may encounter information in documents or electronic devices that is in a foreign language and/or encrypted. To assist CBP in determining the meaning of such information, CBP may seek translation and/or decryption assistance from other Federal agencies or entities. [CIA, NSA, FBI, and other TLAs and FLAs - three, four and five letter acronyms]. Officers may seek such assistance absent individualized suspicion. Requests for translation and decryption assistance shall be documented.
(b) Subject Matter Assistance. Officers may encounter information in documents or electronic devices that is not in a foreign language or encrypted, but that nevertheless requires referral to subject matter experts to determine whether the information is relevant to the laws enforced and administered by CBP. With supervisory approval, officers may create and transmit a copy of information to an agency or entity for the purpose of obtaining subject matter assistance when they have reasonable suspicion of activities in violation of the laws enforced by CBP. Requests for subject matter assistance shall be documented.
(c) Original documents and devices should only be transmitted when necessary to render the requested assistance.
(d) Responses and Time for Assistance.
(1) Responses Required. Agencies or entities receiving a request for assistance in conducting a border search are to provide such assistance as expeditiously as possible. Where subject matter assistance is requested, responses should include any findings, observations, and conclusions relating to the laws enforced by CBP.
(2) Time for Assistance. Responses from assisting agencies are expected in an expeditious manner so that CBP may complete its border search in a reasonable period of time. Unless otherwise approved by the principal field official such as the Director, Field Operations or Chief Patrol Agent, responses should be received within fifteen (1 5) days. This timeframe is to be explained in the request for assistance. If the assisting agency is unable to respond in that period of time, CBP may permit extensions in increments of seven (7) days. For purposes of this provision, ICE is not considered to be a separate agency.
(e) Destruction. Except as noted in section D below, if after reviewing information, probable cause to seize the information does not exist, any copies of the information must be destroyed. [Yeah, right as if we'll believe that actually happens].
D. Retention and Sharing of Information Found in Border Searches (1) By CBP.
(a) Retention with Probable Cause. When officers determine there is probable cause of unlawful activity-based on a review of information in documents or electronic devices encountered at the border or on other facts and circumstances-they may seize and retain the originals and/or copies of relevant documents or devices, as authorized by law.
(b) Other Circumstances. Absent probable cause, CBP may only retain documents relating to immigration matters, consistent with the privacy and data protection standards of the system in which such information is retained.
(c) Sharing. Copies of documents or devices, or portions thereof, which are retained in accordance with this section, may be shared by CBP with Federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies only to the extent consistent with applicable law and policy.
(d) Destruction. Except as noted in this section, if after reviewing information, there exists no probable cause to seize the information, CBP will retain no copies of the information.
(2) By Assisting Agencies and Entities.
(a) During Assistance. All documents and devices, whether originals or copies, provided to an assisting Federal agency may be retained by that agency for the period of time needed to provide the requested assistance to CBP.
(b) Return or Destruction. At the conclusion of the requested assistance, all information must be returned to CBP as expeditiously as possible. In addition, the assisting Federal agency or entity must certify to CBP that all copies of the information transferred to that agency or entity have been destroyed, or advise CBP in accordance with section 2(c) below. (i) In the event that any original documents or devices are transmitted, they must not be destroyed; they are to be returned to CBP unless seized based on probable cause by the assisting agency.
(c) Retention with Independent Authority. Copies may be retained by an assisting Federal agency or entity only if and to the extent that it has the independent legal authority to do so-for example, when the information is of national security or intelligence value. In such cases, the retaining agency must advise CBP of its decision to retain information on its own authority.
E. Review and Handling of Certain Types of Information (1) Business Information. Officers encountering business or commercial information in documents and electronic devices shall treat such information as business confidential information and shall take all reasonable measures to protect that information from unauthorized disclosure. Depending on the nature of the information presented, the Trade Secrets Act, the Privacy Act, and other laws may govern or restrict the handling of the information. [Once your business information is in their hands you can bet that someone will leak it to your competitors if it has any value, at least the odds are good].
(2) Sealed Letter Class Mail. Officers may not read or permit others to read correspondence contained in sealed letter class mail (the international equivalent of First Class) without an appropriate search warrant or consent. Only articles in the postal system are deemed "mail." Letters carried by individuals or private carriers such as DHL, UPS, or Federal Express, for example, are not considered to be mail, even if they are stamped, and thus are subject to a border search as provided in this policy.
(3) Attorney-Client Privileged Material. Occasionally, an individual claims that the attorney-client privilege prevents the search of his or her information at the border. Although legal materials are not necessarily exempt from a border search, they may be subject to special handling procedures.
Correspondence, court documents, and other legal documents may be covered by attorney-client privilege. If an officer suspects that the content of such a document may constitute evidence of a crime or otherwise pertain to a determination within the jurisdiction of CBP, the officer must seek advice from the Associate/Assistant Chief Counsel or the appropriate U.S. Attorney's office before conducting a search of the document.
(4) Identification Documents. Passports, Seaman's Papers, Airman Certificates, driver's licenses, state identification cards, and similar government identification documents can be copied for legitimate government purposes without any suspicion of illegality.
F. No Private Right Created This document is an internal policy statement of CBP and does not create any rights, privileges, or benefits for any person or party.
Just the opposite, privacy rights destroyed left, right and center!!!
CEN-TA Cross Border Services - Tax, Visas, Immigration