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Re: DHS responds on laptop searches; direct action campaigns
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 11:37:02 -0700


________________________________________
From: Robert Atkinson [rca53 () columbia edu]
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 1:53 PM
To: peter () peterswire net
Cc: David Farber
Subject: Re: [IP] DHS responds on laptop searches; direct action campaigns

Peter,

Their basic point remains the same ­ customs has checked people¹s items at the
border for 200 years, so they can check your laptop.

It's not a bad point and Jayson Ahern's explanation sounds pretty
reasonable. Is there a decent rebuttal? Does anyone believe that Customs
shouldn't search briefcases and luggage?

In response to your first post that started the earlier string on the topic,
Dave posted my comment which said, in part,:

So, for those IPers who are aghast at the current situation, what is the best
argument for distinguishing a laptop from a briefcase or luggage and the best
argument that a laptop is so "personal" that a search of a laptop is similar to
a body cavity search? (And is there is valid difference between a "business"
laptop (more like a briefcase?) and a "personal" laptop
(more like a body cavity?) and how would Customs be able to distinguish between
them without looking inside?)

The only response I've seen was:

Your skull is a body cavity. And what is a laptop but overflow
storage (sort of a storage locker) for your skull when it gets
full?

Is that the best IPers can do?

Of course, if Customs can search the data on a laptop or other physical
media at the border without a warrant, why can't it search the same data as
it flows on telecom networks at the same borders without a warrant? If the
owner of the data is intentionally trying to evade the border search of the
laptop by using the internet to "sneak" the data around the border--as
suggested by a number of IP commenters--could Customs intercept the data at
the border without a warrant, regardless of FISA?

Bob Atkinson


On 8/6/08 12:00 PM, "David Farber" <dave () farber net> wrote:


________________________________________
From: Peter Swire [peter () peterswire net]
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 11:57 AM
To: David Farber
Subject: DHS responds on laptop searches; direct action campaigns

Dave:

Public concern about laptop searches seems to be getting the attention of
senior officials at DHS.

Yesterday, they posted ³Answering Questions about Laptop Searches² by Jayson
Ahern, Deputy Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection:
http://www.dhs.gov/journal/leadership/

It links to his June 30 post on ³CBP Laptop Searches²:
http://www.dhs.gov/journal/leadership/2008/06/cbp-laptop-searches.html.
Readers may wish to add their comments to the blog post.

Their basic point remains the same ­ customs has checked people¹s items at the
border for 200 years, so they can check your laptop.

Meanwhile, this issue has hit the front page of DailyKos,
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/4/141837/1015, and Dave Farber¹s list
gets mentioned in the Salon article,
http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2008/08/04/encryption/index.html.

Two direct action campaigns are underway:

(1) ³Hands Off My Laptop,² from Center for American Progress Action Fund:
http://www2.americanprogress.org/t/288/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6239

(2) Electronic Frontier Foundation action site:
https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?alertId=373&pg=makeACall.

Peter


Prof. Peter P. Swire
C. William O'Neil Professor of Law
   Moritz College of Law
   The Ohio State University
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
(240) 994-4142, www.peterswire.net



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