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Traveler sues US Customs and Border Protection over iPhone search and seizure (9to5mac.com)
363 points by dewiz 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 193 comments



Good.

Ultimately, the invasiveness of this sort of search is not worth the slim chance that something of legal interest may be discovered. Criminals have free reign to "import" data via the Internet already, so they're just going to go that route most of the time. If you suspect someone of a crime, get a warrant, and then have your customs officer seize the device. But the "we're just checking to make sure you're not doing anything illegal" is antithetical to the freedoms the United States guarantees, and should not be tolerated at the border... at least when the stakes are this low.

I hope this case sees trial and the judge understands how to weigh the invasiveness against the possible benefits.


I think this is the craziest thing. It's easy to just leave an encrypted copy of all your phone's data online, reset your phone to factory settings, travel, and then restore your data to your phone. Seizing it to search is just... invasive and ineffective.


Right. Like most laws, it will end up being used against ordinary citizens who obey the law 99.9% of the time, to squeeze them for the 0.1% of the time they broke the law either by mistake, or in the same ways that MOST people are breaking the law but nobody cares because law enforcement hasn't singled them out for special treatment.


This isn't a good argument.

The weird thing you realize when you start exploring the law enforcement space is that the vast majority of people that break the law are just, pardon me for not mincing words, just monumentally stupid. They don't take basic precautions.

Police wind up dealing with the same people over and over and over and over again. You'd think they'd wise up and learn how to not get caught, but the mindset that leads to criminality is pretty far away from the mindset that leads to careful action.

It's only the very rare person that actually breaks the law with intent, and also with the care and forethought to avoid even the most basic law enforcement scrutiny. Organized crime represents the barest fraction of actual crimes committed.

So as a result, dragnet-style police tactics are often extremely effective at accomplishing their aims. Which is, of course, why they're employed.

This is, sadly, a pure human-rights issue. Sad because the human rights angle is just not very convincing to people who are invested in the status quo.

Which is why we still see these types of tactics, even today.


>>>The weird thing you realize when you start exploring the law enforcement space is that the vast majority of people that break the law are just, pardon me for not mincing words, just monumentally stupid. They don't take basic precautions

I think you mean most people that get caught breaking the law are monumentally stupid

There are plenty of people that break the law everyday and never get caught, unsolved crimes rates are HUGE

>>>Police wind up dealing with the same people over and over and over and over again. You'd think they'd wise up and learn how to not get caught, but the mindset that leads to criminality is pretty far away from the mindset that leads to careful action.

Recidivism is a complex issue and is not simply down to "you'd think they would wise up", it is mix bag of untreated Mental illness, lack of education, lack of support structures, lack of opportunity, and then even further reduction in opportunity due to a criminal record, and finally once you are "on the radar" of the system the police become aware of you and will target you for greater scrutiny

>>>So as a result, dragnet-style police tactics are often extremely effective at accomplishing their aims.

I would agree here, but only because their aim is to have a nice press release to "show their effectiveness" and justify their budgets, dragnet policing is pure security theater. it is a show for the taxpayers nothing more


> There are plenty of people that break the law everyday and never get caught, unsolved crimes rates are HUGE

Sure but this is a resource problem. If we devoted the resources, we could solve the crimes. Those resources would arguably be "better" deployed 'simply' rather than, say, by investing in officer sensitivity. The tactics of policing work, that's the argument I'm trying to make.

No, society deserves more sensitive policing, even though it costs more and demands more from people, because it's the right thing to do. It's a pure moral argument, and it loses something when you try to paint it as a tactics issue.

> Recidivism is a complex issue

It's really not. The whole thing can be boiled down to a very simple statement of fact. Society fails people. The reasons why it fails people can be largely determined to be resource problems, not failures in the mentality of the people trying to help. The 'bad egg' explanation of law enforcement failure should be taken way more seriously than it is. Most cops really do want the best for the people they have to work with on a daily basis.

But they just don't have the resources to put all these people into the precise social programs that they need. Every decent social worker is immensely overworked and underpaid. There's a massive number of people who want to get into social work but there's just not that many jobs available, because from a governmental budgetary perspective, money spent on social work is money thrown away.

Sure, when you get academics into a room and do studies, yes, money spent on social programs more than pays for itself. But that 'paying for itself' is diffuse, the repayment doesn't just flow back into state coffers. So you have to justify every expenditure.

It's a really hard problem, and laying blame at the feet of law enforcement systemic failure misses the point profoundly.


Life is not a crime drama we really don’t know how to solve most individual crime even with essentially unlimited resources.

Ex: Somone was robbed at knife point in a city. With no direct physical contact with victom and no image of who did it and you don’t have any way to track this down.

People mostly get caught becase they can’t retire of of one thing so they keep rolling the dice and eventually something changes.


It could be with unlimited resources where those resources are millions of high res cameras everywhere. Which I am against, but it would not be unthinkable that most crimes, including the one you mentioned, would be solved fast(er) with unlmited resources.

I was robbed at knife point years ago; I got the license plate of the stolen 'getaway' car (it was at a gas station on the parking lot); there were cameras there (not in the parking lot but connected to the building), I reported it immediately, the police (later on camera) saw the car crossing a toll booth and then it went into some village. They found the car abandoned but never (at least not in time for me to be helpful) got the robbers. If everything, including the village, would be blanketed with high res cams, they would've caught them. The toll booth cams were too low res to identify anyone, just the car + numberplate.

I do believe we know how to solve most (traditional; financial / online crime can probably be similarly solved with enough resources and invasion of privacy) crime with unlimited resources; we don't have unlimited resources AND, at least in my country (where the robbery took place), we (still) have strict privacy laws and they are not allowed to hang cams on the streets of these places. Which I find a good thing by the way, but it doesn't help solve unobserved crimes like violence in off the beaten path alleyways and stuff like this.


What a dystopian world that would... Are you willing to trade all of your freedom for safety and security? Because that is what you are advocating


This is a very good example of the skimming reading example that is high up on the HN front page today. You did not read what I said nor did some downvoters; I say I am against this idea. BUT I was responding to someone saying 'we don't know how to solve most individual crimes even with unlimited resources'. I do not believe that is the case and this is one example of doing it, but no I am in no way advocating it which is what I say multiple times in my comment.

I actually say in the first line 'which I am against', so definitely not advocating it. Just saying; unlimited resources really do give us ways to solve most crimes but we might choose to value freedom and privacy over solving all crimes, which I hope happens although many places, like London/UK already have pretty much blanket camera networks.


You’re assuming the only limit is resources, instead of resources being to only limit I am minimizing.

Sure, if we where willing to implant GPS trackers and require people to upload their daily movements that would cost resources, but people’s unwillingness to be tracked like that (outside of cellphones) has nothing to do with resources. Thus a willingness to spend more money would not allow for that kind of tracking or even what you are suggesting.

PS: Low millions of cameras is also insufficient, you need billions just to cover major cities and even then people would focus on low coverage areas. You really need to track people for hours or even days to get positive identification. That takes more than a few cameras in the right places as plot demands.


Hence the unlimited :) But yeah, given that unlimited is not unlimited and people won't allow it (although govs will try) you are right; we have not much chance to solve every individual crime because we have no way (yet) of attacking the problem. Education and jobs seems to help, but that's prevention, not solving after it happened.


I could not disagree with you more.

I 100% reject the "bad egg" explanation of law enforcement failure and do not believe it is the "bad eggs" at all but instead a systemic failure caused by improper training, improper goals, improper exceptions and Unethical laws (aka the war on drugs) that have turn the police force from a protectionary force to a oppressive force. The police of today are not about protecting people, it is about control.

Further The number of laws, regulations, etc on the book ensure the most people on any given day can have something used against them, this leads to all manner of corruption and attracts those they want to abuse people

I also reject the idea that is is "resources" problem, we do not need more resources in policing and prisons, we in fact need less. What we need ti less criminal laws, less regulations, and less abuse by those with authority


This is a narrative that you will believe in that can be analyzed and rejected purely on the internal logic of it.

You're 'othering' the police and the social system. If you get to know these people, listen to their stories, what they have to say about society's problems, as the people whose literal careers are to deal with them, the explanation of systemic failure rings more and more hollow.

But you have to actually go to these people and listen to their stories in order to understand. That takes work, but it's work made easier with Quora. But you don't need to, you can just look at the statements you're making and see that they're the products of narrative belief.


>>This is a narrative that you will believe in that can be analyzed and rejected purely on the internal logic of it.

Feel free to, since you elected not to I will simply dismiss this claim

> If you get to know these people, listen to their stories, what they have to say about society's problems, as the people whose literal careers are to deal with them, the explanation of systemic failure rings more and more hollow.

That is neither required, or ideal in looking at the actual problems. the Inherent bias their outlook makes any opinions they have on the solutions suspect in the first place. Plus police are not trained researcher nor are likely to understand the root cause of the social problems that stretch back generations as such would likely propose the same "solutions" that have failed for those same generations. Such as increased prison terms for offenders, more draconian surveillance, decrease accountability in policing (some times called "giving police more unilateral authority at the street level). etc etc ad nauseam

For example most police officers when polled support the War on Drugs and oppose efforts to legalize narcotics, even though in every objective analysis of the facts the War on Drugs as a objective failure on every front,


Why do you say "even today"?

Socially, the US is almost hilariously authoritarian, we aren't at any sort of interesting benchmark when it comes to respect for personal freedom.

(The US Constitution is well written enough that our system has less and less blatant hypocrisy when it comes to personal freedoms, but that's different than broader society actually respecting personal freedom)


I'm only speaking to Android but unfortunately many Android apps don't implement cloud backup; if you wipe the app you lose your information or progress. From memory everything from Google's 2FA app authenticator to popular games like Bloons don't do off-device saves at all or automatically. So it's not quite as easy as "just wipe your device and restore a backup." At a minimum you need to root your phone and install a third party backup app like Titanium backup.


I've been using Google's 2FA app for years but switched fairly recently to Authy because it allows for multiple devices to be used as authenticators. It would also allow you to wipe a device and add it back.

I'm using an iPhone but used to use Android. It's surprising to hear that there's not something equivalent to the measly 5GB of online storage that Apple gives. Terrible for backups but good for sharing state from apps.


Can you not back up the entire phone, including all data from third party apps?


Adb has a backup function you can use to download an apps data. I assume there is a reciprocal function to restore, but I've never used it.

The confirmation dialog that comes up on the phone looks like it is intended as an end user backup feature, but I've never seen a way to do it without enabling developer mode.


IME it's a pain in the ass to backup your phone this way -- you have to download and setup development tools, and sometimes things fail in ways that are hard to explain. Inaccessible for the non-technical user, and frustrating for the savvy, aside from android developers. Furthermore, on phones with locked bootloaders (e.g. Pixel) it's impossible to root your phone in order to make the process of doing full-device backups easier.

That being said, if anyone knows a way to do full-device backups on the Pixel series phones, let me know.


I've used Helium a few times before (by the maker of CWM), does it work on Android P?

That reminds me, I just moved 3 Android phones recently (Samsung GN5 broke -> Redmi 4A backup -> Redmi Note 5 replacement), and the only cloud backup that worked were WhatsApp and Line :/ I should backup all my apps for the next time.


Even stupider: first class personal mail in the US can not be opened without a warrant. So you can mail your iPhone to your destination before you go.

My friend was on a list because his father is a high ranking police officer in another country friendly to the US (if you think about something like an executive in the FBI you'll be close). Every time he entered the US, his electronics were seized -- presumably to see if they could get some information about his father (because spying on friendly countries is still a thing). Since he often went to the US to give talks at conferences, he eventually realised that he could mail his laptop to the conference and it would get there every time.


Sadly, you are mistaken. Domestic First Class mail can not be opened without a warrant, but any mail that crosses a border can be opened and searched at will. Source: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/01/us_customs_op...


> Even stupider: first class personal mail in the US can not be opened without a warrant. So you can mail your iPhone to your destination before you go.

You can, but postal delivery (especially cross border) suffers from a much higher rate of "packet loss" than you keeping your phone with you, and phones can be incredibly useful during travel before you reach your final destination where the phone is supposedly waiting for you (for example, to call/hire transportation, coordinate with people, notify about delays or that you're ok, make alternative arrangements if there are issues, keep track of connections/flight status, not to mention being able to continue to work or use them for entertainment, etc).

Also keep in mind that stuff that crosses the border by mail can also be seized for a variety of reasons.

And of course, there is the issue of price: if you want to ship your phone across the border and not be without it for too long, with insurance & tracking, it's not going to be particularly cheap.


Hoping, he is keeping talk related data in the cloud. Mail can get delayed or lost


Easy? My phone currently shows 77.2GB of 256GB used. Can you routinely download 77GB of data in a foreign country as soon as you clear customs?


Unless you're actually using it as a USB drive, my guess is that this is mostly pictures/videos (which syncs automatically in both Android and iCloud), audio files (which you can backup or use Spotify) and application caches (deletable)


Not as easy but do an encrypted backup on to a laptop. I know it's not the point you're trying to make but just thinking out loud how someone could do this. Do a backup, wipe phone, minimal setup so it has nothing on it but is functioning, pass border then restore.


Pull out SD card and just put in your boot/anus.


With gate scanners getting more and more invasive, that's actually likely to get noticed (it's the first place they look for drugs...).

Just put the sd card in a checked-in bag, which is only scanned for large threats (bombs, firearms, animals, and smelly drugs). Anything looking like a little piece of plastic among little pieces of plastic will simply be ignored.


No, Jesus! Just download the illegal files.


Doesn't need to be illegal. Any personal info you don't want shared with random strangers should be protected.


Yes. Class 4 LTE is widely available and tops out at 150Mbps. I usually get half of that.

More to the point you only need your contacts and a few other things immediately.


You realize that most data plans have limited volume, right? Mine is technically a flatrate, but after 1.5 GB I get throttled to 2G (which is about as fast as dialup).


I did exactly that and flying back from Germany to Usa, I was heavily questioned at the border as of “why is my phone empty”. It took 3 hours of details i dont want to get into. This is my last time flying with cellphone. Next time im just gonna buy one when i land and leave it with friends for my next european trip.


It took 3 hours to say, "I wiped it so you wouldn't find anything"?


US boarders have long list of questions you are supposed to be asked every time you enter country, but because its over 800 questions, its impossible and impractical to ask everyone. Someone who travel with entirely wiped out phone is an exception of the rule, I imagine.

Sample of questions:

- have you ever been associated with Nazi party?

- have you ever been associated with any Cuban government agency?

- do you know anyone that is terrorist?

Etc. Some questions repeat later on, some are constructed different way but ask the same. All questions are only YES or NO. And you clear if you have all NO checked.


I keep hearing that the constitution doesn't apply at the border, but it seems too incredible to believe.

To the question, "Do you know anyone that is a terrorist?" I would have to answer, "Probably" or at least, "I don't know." I could not truthfully answer, "No." Neither could just about anybody.

It seems pretty clear to me that it would be improper to detain somebody because their phone was too clean and they do not know if they know anybody who is a terrorist.

Can anybody point to actual case law that supports the claim that such persons are not protected by the constitution? There is a lot of scaremongering in this area, but I haven't seen any actual case law. Of course, I haven't paid much attention either. But the only cases I have seen have been decided in favor of the citizen.

I'm pretty sure there is a limit to how long a Highway Patrol officer can keep me on the side of the road without an arrest or a ticket. I know there is a limit to how long I can be detained by police without being charged. There must be a time limit to how long CBP can take to ask me 800 questions. Or rather, how long they could detain me while I answer 0 questions and repeatedly ask for an attorney.

I am glad there are people willing to spend the time to hold them accountable when it would be easier to just move on and try to forget the whole thing.


The former president of my country (Uruguay) was a terrorist (or "freedom fighter"), and so is the current vice-president. So, does every national at my country have to say "Yes"?


The Basecamp guys actually has an internal company guide to do the exact same thing for any travel: https://github.com/basecamp/handbook/blob/master/internation...


"It's easy to just leave an encrypted copy of all your phone's data online, reset your phone to factory settings, travel, and then restore your data to your phone" - Easy indeed, but having to do so shouldn't be needed.


GP is talking about The Bad Guys. Point being: if you're a Bad Guy, you're gonna encrypt your data. It's easy, and obvious. The likelihood of catching any Bad Guys with this is, therefore, very slim. Far outweighed by the price paid by the Good Guys, who don't go through that rigmarole, and just get their privacy violated.

That's the argument, in essence (which I mostly agree with, the childish tone notwithstanding).


I don't think the Bad Guys will even be doing that. Anything elict is going to go through a $20 dollar burner if The Bad Guys are the least bit competent, because carrying anything incrimitating on your person 24/7 is just generally a stupid thing to do


Indeed. As DPR learned, to his chagrin :(


You will catch some Bad Guys with this approach, but only the ones who are also dumb. That’s not an insignificant portion of them, but it means the smarter ones, who are more dangerous, might get away.


Not to mention that if you're only catching dumb ones there's plenty of other ways to catch dumb ones without violating people's rights.


yeah but this way some middle-manager bureaucrat type gets to pad their numbers and request 15% more budget next year. Catching 15 nobodies a month looks better than catching 1 actual big fish a year.


> reset your phone to factory settings, travel, and then restore your data to your phone

Except traveling with a blank phone will probably make you more suspicious. What are you trying to hide, citizen?


Not really. Any agent who believes this is going to quickly learn that there are a significant number of travelers who travel with newly-issued/rental devices.

Two of my previous employers would issue thin-client loaner laptops for travel to countries with espionage concerns.

Even when I travel internationally myself, I rent phones keyed for the destination network and use them in their factory-reset status. No sense in loading up a device with apps and crap for something I'm only going to need for a week.


Sure. Anyone can do it.


Their end goal is to get you to upload your stuff.


It's easy to "just" tell the police you want a lawyer and won't answer any questions, yet every day people waive this right and confess or are caught in lies.

"Ineffective against a clever adversary" and "effective against loads of real-world criminals" are routinely true at the same time.

Still crazy.


> the freedoms the United States guarantees

I might be wrong, but I thought you didn't have any rights or freedoms at the border?


You do have some rights, but SCOTUS has ruled in the past that the sovereign prerogative of the federal government are "at their apogee" when you are at the border.

The feds assert a bullshit 100-mile zone, but that is covers a tremendous swath of the country (and a huge % of citizens), and is untested jurisprudence.


Especially since, and correct me if I'm wrong, the oceans count as a border too.


They count the Great Lakes as well, including all of the Michigan lobe of Michigan-Superior.

I'm a bit surprised they don't also count everywhere within 100 mi of the doors into the international terminals of every international airport. If you're going to set an arbitrary limit without legislative oversight, why not set it in a way that maximizes your agency's own power?

What's magical about 100 miles, anyway? It seems very suspiciously based on a power of ten of a specific unit of measure, and not on any real distance that may be supported by statistics or analysis. I'd say draw the line where you have a 95% certainty that any persons encountered on the border side of it just crossed over. Which is to say that the border patrol would have to stay on the border side of any major highway, and would need to pay attention to where the boats come and go.


They do. The result is that 2/3rds of the US population lives within this “border zone.” https://www.aclu.org/other/constitution-100-mile-border-zone


The 100 mile zone is tied to a nexus with a border crossing. Everyone living within 100 miles of the cost is not subject to some reinterpretation of law.


Border crossing includes oceans. As someone else points out [1] downthread, this covers 2/3rds of the US population

1. https://www.aclu.org/other/constitution-100-mile-border-zone


You are missing the point. What he is saying is that the 100-mile zone only applies to people who have recently crossed the border. In other words, just because you put two feet on dry land on the coast with 10 kilos of heroin doesn’t mean that Border Patrol can’t bust you. They can do so within 100 miles of the coast, for events relating to a border crossing, but if you simply live in that area and haven’t re-entered the country recently, they have no jurisdiction.


That's not the case here. Whether or not you've recently crossed the border is completely up to the judgement of a customs and border patrol agent. Customs and border patrol sets up checkpoints to interrogate American citizens in violation of the constitution. This isn't just a hypothetical either, this happens today and anyone that has gone through a checkpoint can attest to that and these checkpoints are often 60 - 70 miles away from any border.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnicMKKSReY


Border crossing also includes every foreign embassy, etc.


Seattle is 111 miles from the border. Which means the burbs are within 100. Hours away, really. There are quite a few metropolitan areas that close to the Canadian border and a couple to the Mexican border.


Hell, Fort Wayne, Indiana is within the 100 mile zone, as all of Lake Michigan is deemed to be part of the border.

So's all of Seattle, as the entire coastline is deemed to be "border" as well.


Correct.

> According to the government, however, these basic constitutional principles do not apply fully at our borders. For example, at border crossings (also called "ports of entry"), federal authorities do not need a warrant or even suspicion of wrongdoing to justify conducting what courts have called a "routine search," such as searching luggage or a vehicle.

https://www.aclu.org/other/constitution-100-mile-border-zone


The government asserts this but would it actually stand up to a constitutional challenge by a US citizen?

Another question is when a non-citizen officially becomes a "US person" with full constitutional rights. If that person never leaves the 100 mile radius, are they never a US person?


These searches are largely conducted on foreign nationals. They do not have a right to enter the US and can be detained, or denied entry if they do not agree to unlock their phone or otherwise cooperate.

US citizens cannot ultimately be denied entry. US customers and border can seize property(from US citizens) and later make a determination as to whether it should be returned. Abuse by those in power does happen, but in the vast majority of cases where property is allegedly wrongfully seized there is more to the story than is reported to the press initially.


Certain rights not being fully applicable != No rights


Well the thread is about search & seizure, so you pretty much have no rights in that respect anywhere near the border.


The original motion makes a more nuanced argument than this thread gives credit for. In particular, the motion does not claim that border searches in general are unconstitutional. It makes a much finer scoped claim that:

without individualized criminal suspicion, the off-site search of an electronic device taken at a border is unconstitutional. No such suspicion of ongoing or imminent criminal activity existed in the case of Ms. Lazoja giving rise to reasonable suspicion to search and seize her property. Consequently, neither was there probable cause, nor a warrant. Therefore, the search and seizure of Ms. Lazoja’s property violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment.

To make this argument, the motion mentions some precedent. Most notably was United States v. Kim (page 12):

In Kim, where DHS agents seized a laptop computer at Los Angeles International Airport and later sent it to a laboratory to be copied and searched, the district court found that the lengthy post-seizure retention of a laptop at a second site, outside the airport, “did not possess the characteristics of a border search or other regular inspection procedures,” and that it “more resembled the common nonborder search based on individualized suspicion, which must be prefaced by the usual warrant and probable cause standards.” Id. at 58 (citing United States v. Brennan, 538 F.2d 711, 716 (5th Cir. 1976)). The court in Kim questioned whether the seizure and imaging of a laptop at the border “can accurately be characterized as a border search at all.”

And furthermore that doing so for a cell-phone is particularly egregious; recent supreme court cases strengthen the argument that if we're going to protect laptops then we certainly need to protect cellphones (page 13):

The Supreme Court recently expanded the categorically heightened privacy interests in data located on cell phones, specifically addressing cell phones’ location data.

The motion also makes auxiliary arguments about retention and duration: even if the border search was constitutional, shipping the device off to a lab was not constitutional without a warrant. And even if shipping the device to a lab was constitutional, retaining it for so long was not constitutional. And even if retaining the device for so long was constitutional, retaining the data indefinitely is not constitutional. At least, not without warrants.


"anywhere near" ~ 60 miles

the border patrol checkpoint where San Diego county ends and Riverside county begins is around 60 miles from the border


Last I heard, and, according to the article linked up thread from the ACLU, it was 100 miles. Two thirds of Americans, and many entire state populations live within this zone.


Theoretically, though, within that area they need probable cause to believe you either recently crossed the border or committed a crime to search you.

We all know how easy PC is to manufacture though.


> need probable cause

Not according to the Supreme Court, no.


No he's right, he's not talking about just asking if you're a citizen. Before CBP can search and seize your property they require probable cause. They have plenty of drug dogs available to come up with any "probable cause" necessary.


Sigh. No, he's wrong, and you are too. If you come up to a Border Patrol checkpoint at the border or within 100 miles of the border, the Border Patrol can search your car and all your personal belongings. They can seize anything that appears to be contraband or evidence of a crime. Full stop, end of sentence, no probable cause required. Completely legal for the border guards to tear down EVERY SINGLE CAR that crosses the border (or a checkpoint within 100 miles of the border). If you don't like it blame the Supreme Court: United States v. Martinez-Fuerte.

Border searches in the US have never required probable cause.


According to [0]: Border Patrol cannot search the interior of a vehicle without the owner’s consent or “probable cause” (a reasonable belief, based on the circumstances, that an immigration violation or crime has likely occurred).

Who's wrong, you or the ACLU?

[0]https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/a...


It's a couple hundred meters from the western border of the USA.

Which as a thought experiment shows that the 100 miles is not the real problem; a great deal of hassle can occur even if checks were limited to a single mile from the border.


Technically can't CBP do literally anything they want due to the Patriot (snort) Act? I recall 100 mile "no constitution zones?"

I hope this skyrockets to the supreme court and neuters the Patriot (teehee) Act.


It goes back many decades before the Patriot act.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Martinez-Fu... (1976)


This did not require the PATRIOT act. The law that enables search in this way was written in 1930 and was mostly the same prior.

Fundamentally, whether you agree or not, it has been a long-standing tradition that customs (anywhere you go) has the ability to inspect _everything_ that comes through. That is their job. We hear about it more in the USA, but it can and does happen elsewhere.

Now, I believe that this is a bit outdated considering the nature of phones today, but it is what it is.


No self respecting terrorist is going to cross a border with a hot device. To think otherwise is to ignore the tech acumen of terror groups.


Many "terrorists" are unhinged individuals who don't have much acumen, but can still be dangerous.


Oh, they’re not worried about terrorists. They’re worried about foreigners taking American jawbs.


First, I agree with you. Odds are that you can find a few bad apples but you have inconvenienced tens of million innocent people.

Now the devil's advocate: Say a tourist returning from x country has that type of p--n that should set off all our alarms. Wouldn't all cloud providers scan the contents and alerted authorities if he posted them online? Maybe encrypting them first might do it but not all take their time to learn.


It will not see trial. There is well settled law here for better or for worse.


It smacks of intimidation on the premise of "national security".


I'm not sure if your argument holds, because convenience is important to criminals too. Analogy: phone taps; criminals could easily use encryption over the phone to avoid eavesdropping, except it turns out that phone taps are still useful.


You have to get a warrant for phone taps


Not true. You probably need a warrant to be able to submit any evidence in a trial. But that warrant can be obtained after the tap. And if the warrant never happens, you still have the information acquired from the tap which can be used for parallel constructions, etc.

Phone taps today happen without the cooperation or even the knowledge of the phone company. Every telco is required to have a continuous tap on all communications. That tap must be wired to the authorities and the telco must have no ability to detect when the tap is being monitored. That's the law in the U.S.


True, but the point was about the convenience which criminals value over anti-eavesdropping methods.


> criminals could easily use encryption over the phone to avoid eavesdropping

They do. It's called a cant.


They'll try like hell to keep it out of court for just this reason. I imagine she'll end up getting a dumptruck full of money and a crazy NDA


I doubt it. They’d likely win in court as the laws applicable at the border are not the same as the rights you have being stopped on the street.

Now if the trial itself leads to public outcry to change those rules that’d be great but as it stands now I think she’d lose.


But is it worth the risk of bubbling up to a court that wants to make a precedence-setting stance against, say, the practice of copying/storing the data when the feds will have little to gain if they win?


Setting precedent by winning one court case would be a lot cheaper than settling N copy cat lawsuits.


True. But all that does is tell the system that each abuse is $X settling dollars instead which, while it might reduce the practice, won't stop it.


Absolutely not. This is well settled law at this point, as much as it sucks. Unless SCOTUS changes it's mind (which would cost a lot to get to - 100k+).

Without a supreme court ruling, she'll get nothing and spent a lot on fees.

They are going to not give a crap about this and probably laughed and threw it in the trash can when they saw it.

This case is basically an attempt to see if courts will reconsider after Riley v. California.


Hey, they can search my phone for a dumptruck full of money any day. While not as ideal as burning in court, that wouldn't be a bad precedent to set either.


All they're going to find in my phone is pictures of my bare ass, which I normally pay people to look at, so consider me in the same boat.

I always wish I would get an aggressive BP agent because a lot of my pics are in a prominent "nothing illegal" folder on the first "page" of my phone.


It doesn’t set any precedent, because it’s done out of the public record, without admitting any wrongdoing. That’s exactly WHY they settle these cases, so there’s no precedent.


Or not decrypt it and sit in prison until you do. Philadelphia cop


I came back to the states into LAX from a trip to China a few months ago and one of the CBP agents was yelling and harassing many of the visiting Chinese people who did not speak English because they were not following directions. It was one of the biggest power trips I’ve seen. I felt absolutely terrible for those people and ashamed that this was their introduction to America.


I have seen a pair of TSA agents at an airport screaming at a disabled woman in a wheelchair, because she didn't move fast enough for them. I've also seen CBP agents randomly harassing people at the Canadian border crossing.

And I've seen a guard in the American consulate in Vancouver berate people who were queued up for their visa interviews, early in the morning. The guy opened the door, said "Good morning!", and then stood there and waited. When nobody responded, he proceeded to tell the crowd that they should "get used to how we do this in America" before they get inside, and basically wouldn't let anyone in until the crowd chorused "Good morning" back in response.

My overall conclusion is that either the hiring practices for all these agencies are intentionally skewed towards that kind of employees, or that the lack of any meaningful responsibility quickly turns people into power-tripping assholes. Perhaps it's both.


I witness the same thing every time I land in LAX and it fucking infuriates me. Blatantly racist "talk slow and in a bad chinese accent" style screaming at confused as hell Chinese tourists.

Every time I see it I wait for them to get to that hallway between Immigration and Customs and apologize to them, try to assure them that the guy that did it is an asshole, but I'm only there like twice a year... lots of people getting a really shitty first impression of America after their 13 hour exhausting flight.


That sounds awful.

As an LA resident, I've long held a more general shame that LAX is such a poor airport in general. The whole experience of arriving, taxiing for 20 minutes, waiting an eternity for checked baggage in 1960s civic utilitarian architecture, and then standing on a concrete island outside amidst an armada of cars, trucks, and buses with squealing disc brakes and clouds of exhaust... LAX is an embarrassment to Los Angeles.

Now I hear that our CBP is also irrationally angry and offensive. Yuck.


You could write film scripts with those kinds of descriptions :)


(nearly?) Every time I've entered the US I've seen basically this. It's gross.

The last time a guy was screaming "do you want to go to prison for 40 years!? do you!?!?!" to a confused and scared looking chinese lady, presumably because she didn't declare a fucking durian or something.


The yelling is unprofessional and doesn't represent us well as a country. However, the import of undeclared fruits and vegetables can do damage to our ecosystem if they are of a type that represents a danger, or carries certain insects.

Also, and I know humor is generally frowned on here, but yelling in the presence of durian is understandable at a certain level, if you've ever tasted or smelled it.


Trust me, I'm from NZ, I get the idea behind the declaration of fruits etc.

I've never heard anyone on more of a shitheaded mean-spirited power trip than every American customs person I've stood near.


But... durian is delicious! It really is! It must be like cilantro, where some taste... the sweet, and others taste the sewer. I get to taste the sweet sweet non-sewer durian.


ha ha, yeah. In fact, it is illegal to carry durian in a lot of public places in Singapore like buses, trains and even hotels


Lol I don't think you need to declare a durian


https://customs.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3619/~/...

> Every fruit or vegetable must be declared to a CBP Agriculture Specialist or CBP Officer and must be presented for inspection - regardless of its admissibility status. Fresh fruits and vegetables need to be clean and may be prohibited if they have insects or diseases.

Additionally, durian from China is not allowed to be imported.

https://epermits.aphis.usda.gov/manual/index.cfm?NEW=1&COMMO...


Sorry, my (poorly put) attempt at a joke was that durians declare themselves.


They declare themselves quite well.


Last time I returned to the US from Brazil, the entire experience through immigration and customs was one angry loud yelling lady after another. Nobody was even doing anything wrong or making mistakes. It was just their standard way of talking to people. Totally not who you would want welcoming someone to our country.


I’ve had a very embarrassing experience when I was moving out of the states and packed my carry on with random stuff - as you’d expect someone moving might pack. The scanner lady made jokes at my expense while she dug through my carry on. The people in front and behind me were visibly as embarrassed as I was. Those people need to undergo sensitivity training.


When I entered the US as an new immigrant at LAX the immigration agent there was almost comically rude and aggressive with me. He keep on shouting at me, telling me to do things but not explaining what that entailed, he even refused to lend me a pen when he told me to sign the paper. I was just some random person in line and had never seen him before.

I don't know what his problem was but I didn't care. I was going to get what I needed regardless.


I had the same experience. There was an Indian lady in front of me, she got harassed mercilessly. I think these personnel need to be shown consequences.


It's a psyops game. The Nazis, the police, drill instructors and domestic abusers all play it. People are more pliable when you instill panic and confusion in them. Yell at them, make them think they're doing everything wrong and that they could get shot at any moment and they'll generally fixate on compliance.


Every time you fly into JFK from overseas, you have people screeching at you not to take out your phones or take photos until you're through immigration. There's no sane reason for this, it's pure paranoia and need for control.

Meanwhile in Europe, the very instant the plane touches down and finishes braking: ok everybody, you can switch on your phones now.


Then, there's Australia, which puts the "use our iOS/Android app to get through quickly" sign right next to the "no cell phones here" one.


What, you can't run the code in your head from the printout of the APK?


Throwaway account.

I can confirm the whole yelling thing at LAX.

I am a US citizen and travel frequently. A few years ago I returned from a trip at LAX, sent to the secondary inspection area, and yelled at by the CBP officer while going through my items. Then came the full media search, which took a few hours.

What made things worse is I am a co-founder of a VPN company and had with me source code, client data, encrypted backups, medical records, and other sensitive data on my phone, laptop and USB drives which I assume they inspected (and copied?) during their search.

I have since passed through LAX on many occasion without further searches, however it was a shocking experience that causes me a great deal of stress to this day whenever I think about going though that airport.


Good thing you used a throwaway because I can’t believe you didn’t refuse consent to the search if you’re an American citizen (I have). I wouldn’t want to trust your company with my info.


Could you tell us what happened when you refused consent at the border?


This was at ORD, which I've found (perhaps it's just one of the benefits of being in the midwest) to be a very friendly port of arrival for international flights. I was asked aside for an "interview" upon landing (I'm a US citizen living in Chicago) by two agents, who asked if I had a phone and then asked me to give it to them. I politely but firmly said "I do, but I'm not comfortable unlocking it." They asked why, and a I responded that it's highly personal and that I would be happy to help them in any other way, but I believed I would be within my rights to refuse them access. They didn't push it further, but I was detained for three hours or so while they asked pointless questions they already had the answers to. My phone didn't leave my person during that time, though at one point they asked for some contact information that I said was only available on my phone, which I unlocked in front of them, retrieved, then pointedly relocked and put away.


>I felt absolutely terrible for those people and ashamed that this was their introduction to America.

You are not your government. "Every citizen has the duty to protect their country from their government"


Every society has the government it deserves.

I say this as someone from a country that has had several decades of terrible governments.


I totally agree. But I have to say a large portion of the people that elect the government probably has never traveled abroad.


"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."


Yep, see this every time. Do they have an accent? If yes, limitless permission to act like the worst asshole in the world and treat people like animals. Then you have to step up next to them in line and act like you didn’t see any of that just now. As a white male with no accent I just get the friendly welcome back, but what I really want to do to that person would put me in prison.


Reading the replies to this post gives me the impression that this is a major problem, but I haven't witnessed anything like it in the half dozen or so times returning from an overseas trip in the last couple of years. It's not that all the agents were particularly friendly, though some were. Some were indeed rude, but not close to this level.


Are you a US Citizen? That might be the reason. I visited US multiple times in the last few years, mostly on the east coast or Chicago, and the CBP agents were okay. The last time I landed at SEA, the agent there was unbelievably rude, all because I forgot to sign some document. All he kept saying was the document was invalid without explaining why, and then asking if I can read English. Asshole. I was tempted to make a complaint later, but I was running late.


Here's the motion: https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/08/23/lazojamotion.pdf

A few interesting aspects:

* Lazoja is suing over the data, not (just) the physical device (Her phone was already returned to her.) Also, she is making additional arguments that the duration of retention for both the device and the data on it are unreasonable. I hope at least one of these claims succeeds; even if warrantless border searches are permissible, retaining hdd/sdd dumps should not be allowed.

* The motion mentions several times that the device contained persona, private information including "pictures of her in a state of undress, as well as privileged communications with her counsel". She requested all data (and especially this data) be deleted and the response was radio silence.


This comes on the heels of the TSA requiring a Muslim woman to show her used menstrual pad to screeners in Boston.

https://www.thecut.com/2018/08/muslim-woman-forced-show-tsa-...

The TSA is an entity that provides no security, but still manages to degrade the constitution.


Seizing and inspecting cellphones when people enter the country is nothing more than a means of harassment, intimidation, and more or less #falseflag story.

As soon as your cellphone, ipad, etc. hit american networks and you have been IDed as a person of interest, they(3 letter agencies) will be combing through your device. Don't fool yourself thinking that devices are secure.


Exactly this. The whole point of these exercises is putting the inferior races in their place.


> The lawsuit alleges that border agents took a copy of the data on her smartphone and failed to say whether it had been deleted.

This seems like it's remarkably hard to know. I suppose this may hinge on which model of the iphone she had.


I need to travel to US for Christmas celebrations. My phone is kind of important for my diabetes control and insulin dosage. My pump and CGM do not tolerate x-ray and it's prohibited in the manual. What are my chances to go through the US border safe, or should I cancel my trip?


Keep the pump and CGM on you, don't check them. When you leave, you'll have to let TSA manually look at them. Tell them before they put it on the Smith's detection belt, which uses Xray.

Customs and border control don't xray your stuff unless you're randomly selected. If you're randomly selected, tell them about the pump and CGM and how it can't be xray. Based on my experience with asshole CBP agents, they may "punish" you by throwing all your shit all over the place when they paw through your stuff, or you might get lucky and get just a normal search.

As for your phone, lock it with a password, disable fingerprint unlock, and good luck.

I wanted to link to CBP's help website for medical devices, but their HTTPS certificate is invalid lol. Fuck's sake.

https://www.tsa.gov/news/releases/2016/11/15/tsa-shares-tips...


> unless you're randomly selected

There is nothing "random" in the selection, let's not continue spreading this delusion. It took 4 trips to the US, for that sorry excuse of an AI they use for the selection, to finally decide I wasn't a threat.

If algorithms to generate numbers were all as random as the TSA one, I could probably predict every encryption key out there.


> but their HTTPS certificate is invalid lol.

And yet, these are the folks we 'trust' to protect our borders.


My sister also is a Type I diabetic. She has a similar setup. She just notifies them before the search and usually just gets a metal detector + pat down. You should be okay. Good luck on your trip! :)


I guess you are getting down voted here because your question is off topic from the article. Try posting your question to travel.stackexchange.com. I've seen a number of these types of questions on there and there are some knowledgeable people that will answer you there.


Honestly, cancel the trip. Meet in Canada instead.


If your phone is mission-critical for diabetes control, you should make sure to have some backup, since there are other ways your phone can fail.

Once these backup mechanisms are in place, as a handy side effect, you're also covered for the CBP case.


Im glad she resisted this seizure of her personal property. But what about all the data that phone transmits over the internet which can be / is collected by most every intelligence agency, without a warrant?


What are you implying here? That the violation isn't as bad because the data was already being collected by other agencies/companies?


I believe the question being raised is the opposite: that this violation is bad, and we cannot neglect the other violations already being done remotely by these other agencies.


yes, this exactly. thank you. im not some paranoid "tinfoil hat" person as accused below.

I mean, we see the articles posted here on hackernews daily about insecure information security, corporate malfeasance, and stories like this where law enforcement steps over legal boundaries.

I dont think its an incredible position to hold that intelligence agencies exploit all 3 of those situations, including any number of undisclosed zero-days, in order to surveil broad swaths of the population.


No, I'm not saying the seizure of the phone is less egregious. Rather, I'm asserting that intelligence agencies almost certainly operate outside the law regularly. That doesn't make the first thing less bad, but it does show our whole situation to be far worse.


"is collected by most every intelligence agency, without a warrant"

This is tinfoil hat stuff. Depending on the data and the situation, they need warrants just like everyone else.


Given that Intelligence Agencies are often times under the direction of State Departments, and State Departments are constantly breaking international and domestic law, what gives you your confidence in their commitment to operating within legal boundaries?


>they need warrants

I don't believe this is true.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/09/nsa-loophole-w...


Edward Snowden leaks plainly prove it's not tinfoil hat.


EFF and ACLU also have an active case about this topic (which I've worked on), filed in September 2017.

https://www.eff.org/cases/alasaad-v-duke

(It was called Alasaad v. Duke when it was filed and is now called Alasaad v. Nielsen.)

The Alasaad case is pending in a different Federal court (the District of Massachusetts).


This is beyond the pale and is not consistent with democracy or basic human rights.

No democracy will subject people to the indignity of security personnel presuming the right to go through their personal papers and thoughts. It is dehumanizing and shifts the pendulum towards a police state.


I'm confused by this - if she refused to unlock her phone, how would they have obtained a copy of the data?


"Jane Doe and John Does 1-2 provided Ms. Lazoja a receipt (No. 1199376) dated February 26, 2018, documenting CBP’s seizure of her iPhone and SIM Card, and indicating the iPhone and SIM Card were “Sent to DHS Lab.” (Rejhane Aff. ¶ 27); see Ex. A."

They took her phone and retained it for 130 days. Presumably, during that time they copied all of the data off of the phone (and perhaps also decypted that data). Regardless, the plaintiff argues that keeping the phone for that period of time without a warrant was unconstitutional in the first place.


> They took her phone and retained it for 130 days. Presumably, during that time they copied all of the data off of the phone (and perhaps also decypted that data).

My understanding is that the data can't be (feasibly) extracted and decrypted from a modern iPhone, though. Isn't that why the FBI made such a big fuss about Apple not "cooperating" to backdoor devices?

I understand the argument about the seizure being unconstitutional, but I'm talking strictly about the cryptographic aspects here.


There are commercial tools for breaking iPhones. For example, $15k buys you 300 unlocks with this: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/03/05/apple...

Of course, it’s Cat and mouse and I believe Apple will or already have squashed that.

The iPhone is the most secure consumer mobile device, but not bulletproof


> My understanding is that the data can't be (feasibly) extracted and decrypted from a modern iPhone, though.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/02/26/gover...

Also, the motion requests:

Plaintiff Rejhane Lazoja respectfully asks this Court to order Defendants to return her Data, to expunge any copies made of the Data, to disclose all third parties who received and/or retain copies, partial or complete, of the Data, and to provide information about the basis for the seizure and retention of the property.

If the judge grants all of these requests, it will be interesting to watch what happens with the request:

...return her Data...

If it comes to this, I hope the plaintiff asks the court to know whether the data was decrypted. I.e., if you decrypted my data, you need to return that to me. The original image doesn't suffice.

Maybe "correspondence with council" is the groundwork for this later request? I.e., something along the lines of "I have a right to know what the government now knows about my private correspondence with my council."

The "partial or complete" portion of the request is also relevant for answering this question: the information is legally relevant (and the request reasonable) because some of the correspondence was between the plaintiff and her council, and also because if they shared partial information that almost certainly means they were able to decrypt the data.

The govt's response to the timeframe arguments will also certainly leak some information about the government's capabilities; e.g., I imagine the gov't will argue that 130 days was necessary in order to execute the search, and/or that they need to retain the data so that they might one day be able to execute the search.


> Isn't that why the FBI made such a big fuss about Apple not "cooperating" to backdoor devices?

They did a hell of a spin job grandstanding about the "impossibility" of cracking iPhones (protip: it never has been), but the FBI only made a stink about it because they can't crack the phones without paying Cellebrite a ton of money to develop new 0-days, which in the end is exactly what they ended up having to do. If Apple would factory-backdoor the things, the FBI could crack them themselves.

Every LE department has been handing seized iPhones over to Cellebrite for years for important enough cases. LE don't want to have to rely on a third-party (and foreign) contractor with a service monopoly anymore.


This may be from another article, but I would like a formal definition of what "in a state of undress" means.


ArsTechnica has a better article: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/woman-my-iphone-...

She's Muslim, and did not want unrelated men to see her without her hijab. Perhaps she was also naked, who knows? But she probably wouldn't say that, out of propriety.

(The fact that she's a member of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, maybe explain why they were hassling her in particular.)


Doesn't really matter. The fact that she was made to be uncomfortable was the problem.


And you would be wrong. She meant "without hijab".


To be fair, that may have the exact cultural implication to a Muslim that being naked would have to your average, I dunno, midwestern Christian American woman.

So "state of undress" seems to work quite well... meh, this thread is too deep.


OK, what's your source for that statement?

Edit: If you had said "could be wrong", I would agree. But to get to "would be wrong", you would need a clear statement from her. Which, of course, she has no obligation to provide.



There's nothing there about what was on the iPhone.

Edit: OK, I missed that. She did characterize the problematic images. Sorry.


There sure is:

« Lazoja noted in her affidavit that as a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab, she does not want to be seen "in a state of undress without my hijab" by men who are not members of her family.

The two agents asked if Lazoja had any electronic devices, so she produced her phone.

They then asked her to unlock the phone, but she refused—citing the fact that the phone contained such "undressed" images of herself as well as "legal communications with the Council on American-Islamic Relations." »


I don't see how that refutes the comment you're replying to.


The solution here is that the U.S. Constitution should apply to U.S. Citizens at the border or in any territory, anyone else does not get the benefit of a warrant.


Please see the following for a list of constitutional amendments this would suspend to non-citizens:

https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h926.html

For more information,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_United_Sta...

I also expect this would lead to suspending all US laws guaranteeing human rights to non-citizens at the border. As far as I know, US agencies are not subject to prosecution by international criminal courts, which would make their employees immune to any prospect of human rights violations-related prosecution.


The U.S. Constitution does not apply to non-citizens because the United States of America has NO sovereignty outside its borders.

Human rights treaties should be arranged through the U.N. as intended that's why it was chartered, if we are not using it that way that is not the responsibility of U.S. Citizens to solve.


The Constitution of the United States should--and does--apply to all persons within the United States and/or subject to the United States' rules or interactions with the United States government (subject to limitations specifically ascribed to citizens, such as the right to vote or hold public office).

No one would argue that the US' Constitution is binding on any other government but it absolutely is binding on the actions of the US government, and should be so binding anywhere on the planet because the Constitution forms the basis for the US government's very existence.


> The U.S. Constitution does not apply to non-citizens because the United States of America has NO sovereignty outside its borders.

There are plenty of non-citizens within its borders.

The US Constitution deliberately and carefully uses "citizens" in some spots and "persons" in others. Stuff dealing with voting, for example, uses "citizens", while things like the First and Fifth amendments say "people".

As a result green card holder (sensibly enough) has the right to free speech, freedom of religion, a jury trial, can't be made a slave, etc. They don't have a right to vote or run for the Presidency.


I don’t know why you used the example of a green card citizen when even an illegal immigrant has rights under the constitution, let alone a traveler on a visa.


I used it because it should be fairly obvious that a green-card holder would have freedom of speech and religion etc. It's a clearer "oh, that makes sense" than something like a temporary visitor.


Yup. But my point was that the constitution actually makes it a point to grant those privileges to persons and not citizens or even permanent residents. It's not a happenstance, it was deliberate wording on the part of the Founding Fathers and it's been upheld every single time in courts high and low. If you're in the US, the same dignities and protections afforded to US citizens under the US Constitution and in particular the Bill of Rights are extended to you.

People might believe that green-card holders are "special" in that regard because they're on their way to becoming permanent citizens, but they would be mistaken.


This a very reasonable request. You have a right to have my phone etc etc but now delete all the data. Don't let the most private data hang on some database forever.

Yes, she's a Muslim connected to CAIR so she was probably hoping they'd take her phone to sue, but rights are rights.


> You have a right to have my phone etc etc

What? Nobody has the right to look at my phone.


Furthermore, how does every single person in your contact list feel about their email/phone number/address / messages to you getting leaked to the government?

What about websites with TOSs that state unequivocally that only YOU are allowed to use their website under your account?


If you're crossing an international border into the US, they do.


Not without "reasonable suspicion"[1]. Even then, I still reject the idea that they have the right. They'd only be doing it despite my protests. They only have the "right" because they have the force, it's not different than any other type of authoritarianism.

[1] https://www.propublica.org/article/can-customs-border-protec...


These word games aren't gonna help you or anyone. According to the article you linked to, "CBP says it can conduct these searches “with or without” specific suspicion that the person who possesses the items is involved in a crime." and

"The court, however, raised the bar for a “forensic examination” of the devices, such as using “computer software to analyze a hard drive.” For these more powerful, intrusive and comprehensive searches, which could provide access to deleted files and search histories, password-protected information and other private details, border officials must have a “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity — not just a hunch."

So even an Appeals Court gave them the right to do searches. The extensive ones require reasonable suspicion, which I guess can be challenged in court if someone is arrested based on such searches.


The Mafia also says that you have to pay them protection money. Just because they have the power to force you to let them doesn't give them the right to do so.


CBP has no such right. The legal structure /supports/ such actions but they have no right. Say it with me "I am not a slave"


I guess you will not be traveling in out the USA (and probably many other countries.)

ACLU says that the law is unsettled so far and they have sued but "The government claims the authority to search all electronic devices at the border, no matter your legal status in the country or whether they have any reason to suspect that you’ve committed a crime. You can state that you don’t consent to such a search, but unfortunately this likely won’t prevent CBP from taking your phone." https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/privacy-borders...




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