Crossing the US Border? Secure Your Data!

 …or, “Nothing says ‘f*ck DHS!’ like strong encryption!”

Did you know that at US border points—bridge crossings, airports, ferry terminals—your 4th Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure doesn’t exist. Or perhaps the Department of Homeland Security somehow thinks that border crossings aren’t really part of the United States. Though…I suspect that Canada, Mexico, and the City of San Francisco would probably have something to say about that. Indeed Bu$hCo has found another novel way of violating the rights of US citizens, by seizing and copying all the data on their electronic devices as they pass through border checkpoints.

An engineer returning from business in London was forced by federal agents to log them in to his company laptop and then had to stand by as they copied information on the web-sites he’d visited. Amir Khan, an IT consultant and US citizen from Fremont, California, has been stopped every time he returns to the US. He claims that custom’s agents routinely search his laptop, books, personal notebooks and mobile phone. And it doesn’t end there. The EFF has documented numerous cases of Customs and Border Protection personnel unlawfully seizing and searching equipment without probable cause.

In a climate where the government becomes the violator of one’s rights, there is only one defense: Take data protection into your own hands. Many products exist that allow one to encrypt data with sufficient strength that even the government would have a hard time breaking it. If you use a Mac or PC, your laptop already comes equipped with hard drive encryption software. Just a password…and away you go. Want something stronger? Shareware, open-source products like TrueCrypt encrypt drives, folders, or files with multiple algorithms and passes.

So tell the Feds to go **SCREW THEMSELVES**! And when some hotshot Border Patrol agent announces that he needs access to your laptop, you can respond, “Certainly. Let me just log you in…” safe in the knowledge that they’ll get exactly NOTHING!

10 thoughts on “Crossing the US Border? Secure Your Data!”

  1. I carry a piece of unlined paper and an HB pencil. Sometimes inflight I am tempted to doodle, but they provide inflight shiny paper to amuse me there.
    trouble is I have never really worked out an efficient encryption for the ‘wetwear’.
    Bugger me, what can I be thinking… Well that’s what they keep asking me and neither party can break the code.

  2. Randal, what good is life if we don’t have something to hide. Jeez you can’t even threaten to blow up a balloon these days without being called a tourist.

  3. Cartledge… The NSA is still working on breaking that ‘odd code’ they hear Aussies speaking–completely incomprehensible! :-)

    4unow… Thanks for the link.

    Fred… :-) Bet that takes some time!

  4. Randal… I resent being called a ‘pinko’ (I am very definitely not pink!) and a ‘homo’ (’hermaphrodite’ would technically be more accurate). As for the ‘taco burrito terrorist’, ya got me…I confess.

    Frogette… Do you think that ‘unfocussing’ one’s eyes would reveal the secrets in Fred’s pictures?

  5. David… That’s sort of spooky isn’t it. Though more likely they’re looking for porn, just like everyone else on the Internet. :-)

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