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Travelers beware: U.S. agents now have the authority to seize and retain laptops indefinitely, according to a new policy detailed in documents issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.As part of border search policy, government agents are now authorized to seize electronic devices and inspect documents in them, the document states. The electronic devices might include laptops, cell phones, portable music players or storage devices such as portable hard drives.Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection will also be allowed to translate and share documents with other government agencies.The DHS document, issued July 16, appears to state publicly a policy that has already existed. Laptops and electronic devices have been subject to search in the past, and travelers have reported not getting their devices back. The policy has drawn strong criticism from lawmakers and nonprofit groups, who charged that the searches were invasive and a violation of an individual's privacy rights. Computers contain a vast amount of private information about family, finances and health, which could be easily copied and stored in government databases, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has complained.The policy document states that being able to examine documents and electronic devices is crucial for "detecting information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling... contraband including child pornography, and... other import or export control laws."The new DHS policies allow customs agents to analyze the contents of laptops without any suspicion of wrongdoing, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold said in a statement."The policies that have been disclosed are truly alarming," Feingold wrote.The policy could blur the distinction between "search" and "seizure," which could also allow DHS officials to steal personal documents from laptops it has retained, Feingold wrote.
a violation of an individual's privacy rights.
Anyone found with infringing content in their possession would be open to a fine. They may also have their device confiscated or destroyed, according to the four-page document.
I was never planning to travel to America anyway. Seems as though they want to turn people away.
If I was asked to give up my laptop, I think I would make a scene at the airport..and then they would arrest me .
That law is ridiculous. Quote from: Carbon Dudeoxide on August 20, 2008, 08:04:18 AMIf I was asked to give up my laptop, I think I would make a scene at the airport..and then they would arrest me .Exactly.
I just don't like the American government!
The policy document states that being able to examine documents and electronic devices is crucial for "detecting information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling... contraband including child pornography, and... other import or export control laws.
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