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Should customs read your diary?

Posted by todd at 5:03 AM on February 11, 2008

The EFF has launched an FOIA suit against the Department of Homeland Security to reveal details of their warrantless search and seizure of electronics devices in customs. There have been increasing reports from people that have been had the contents of their laptops, PDAs or mobile phones accessed, searched and even seized by customs officers. All of this without any warrant or allegation of illegal activity.

Homeland security allege that this is simply an extension of the baggage searches they have conducted for years. In reality though this is very different and much more incidious. Firstly the data on your laptop cannot explode in the plane. Secondly that information is private information, and the government has no entitlement to access to it without just cause. This essentially amounts to a fishing expedition to try and find evidence on people selected on some obscure profiling.

I cannot understand how US citizens have allowed the government to get away such eggregious offences against civil liberties! This is but a whisper away from prosecution for thought crime. The details of the story from the Washington Post and a link from Slashdot.