CBP Border Searches

Blog Post
Keying on a blog post by Old NFO wherein US Customs and Border Protection is acting to do what many of the old Cyberpunks, such as Vince Cate predicted about twenty years ago. I first encountered this in the 1993-94 timeframe. 


WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)U.S. border agents should continue to be allowed to search a traveler’s laptop, cellphone or other electronic device and keep copies of any data on them based on no more than a hunch, according to an internal Homeland Security Department study. It contends limiting such searches would prevent the U.S. from detecting child pornographers or terrorists and expose the government to lawsuits. 
The 23-page report, obtained by The Associated Press and the American Civil Liberties Union under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, provides a rare glimpse of the Obama administration’s thinking on the long-standing but controversial practice of border agents and immigration officers searching and in some cases holding for weeks or months the digital devices of anyone trying to enter the U.S. 
Since his election, President Barack Obama has taken an expansive view of legal authorities in the name of national security, asserting that he can order the deaths of U.S. citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism without involvement by courts, investigate reporters as criminals and — in this case — read and copy the contents of computers carried by U.S. travelers without a good reason to suspect wrongdoing.

Are the Phone Records that 
Obama seeks, those of Conservatives?

(Fox News) The Obama administration has been collecting the phone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order, according to a British newspaper report which raised new and troubling privacy questions.
A senior law enforcement official pushed back on the report early Thursday morning, telling Fox News that the Justice Department has not yet received a referral from the intelligence community, meaning “the process has not started yet.”
But the administration has not denied the existence of the order. While the administration defended its authority to seize phone records — and stressed that it does not monitor calls — one civil liberties group called this the “broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued.”
The answer to the question of WHO the Obama Administration is targeting would have been dismissed as paranoid delusions by almost everyone just a few months ago. Now, I don’t know — and likely neither does anyone who is reading this blog.

In a dystopian oligarchy, citizens of a nation have no privacy — could be a tag line from Orwell’s 1984. Or it could be America today where our technology to tap into the lives of everyone exceeds good judgment or polite behavior.
There are solutions to every problem. In this case, the problem is a Border. To avoid this problem, simply leave that pre-paid cell phone behind on the other side and cross with your computer. But have a computer with no drive on it. Only a read-only chip that allows you to access the Internet and a lot of RAM to allow information to be downloaded into your computer. Store your information “somewhere else”. Vince Cate (above) suggested twenty years ago that you store it in Anguilla, a data haven. That concept evolved into a “data cloud” where your data is always moving from nation to nation, never stopping until you wanted to access it. Marry that to strong encryption – built along the lines of fractal encryption, and you can do what you want with your data without bothering with whatever the Department of Homeland Security might want with it.
Quite simply, it makes tracing data or a law enforcement seizure of data, improbable. Once the computer is turned off, the data vanishes back from whence it came because random access memory (RAM) does not retain the image of what it held when the computer was turned on. At least this is what some people I knew/know (remember our Buddhist friend, WoFat?) worked on twenty years ago.
I honestly don’t care, they can search me as they are moved to do. And if I want to keep something hidden, I’ll do that too.  As cool as Homeland Security thinks that they are, they’re about twenty years too late.

As to the NSA surveillance of American’s private cellular telephones inside the US, it’s been coming. If you are bothered by it, throw away your cell phone and do it old school. Disable the satellite link in your automobile. You always have that option. As for me, they can listen to my mundane whining on the phone whenever they want to anyway. It will simply bore those listening to tears. Dump the credit /debit/ATM cards and pay cash if you want to.

4 thoughts on “CBP Border Searches

  1. As easy as it is to throw hands up and say "I don't mind surveillance, I have done nothing wrong", when do we support and defend the constitution of the United States? Specifically the 4th Amendment and how it pertains to electronic documents and effects?

  2. Technically there has never been a 4th Amendment Right in a Border Search. It falls under the same general category as a "booking search" that the police are authorized to do before throwing you in jail.

    CBP has done what NSA, IRS, EPA and apparently every other agency is doing in expanding what it can do to the limit and beyond.

  3. I was going to comment about 'moving' the border, but you covered that in your response to Opus. Thanks for the link, and there IS no privacy assumed on any electronic communications…

  4. No privacy anywhere, Old NFO.

    You have to live off the grid and that's very difficult to do these days. Strangely I know people who do — but not many.

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