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Congress Should Pass the Protecting Data at the Border Act (eff.org)
72 points by mlinksva 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

The lead paragraph of the bill:

> To ensure the digital contents of electronic equipment and online accounts belonging to or in the possession of United States persons entering or exiting the United States are adequately protected at the border, and for other purposes.

50 US Code 1801 defines "United States person" as:

> a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (as defined in section 1101(a)(20) of title 8), an unincorporated association a substantial number of members of which are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or a corporation which is incorporated in the United States, but does not include a corporation or an association which is a foreign power, as defined in subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3).

In short, it looks like this bill only applies to US citizens or lawful alien residents, not travelers.

On the other hand, we've seen U.S. citizens being detained and forced to reveal private information to the Customs officials. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13629593

So I would say it's an improvement.

I hadn't heard of this bill, but it sounds like a great idea.

As a side note, it is so refreshing to have bills that just do one thing and do it well. Incremental improvements are the way forward, and focus is something that should be encouraged for all bills (perhaps even legislated?).

As a counter-example of this bill, take GDPR. GDPR has similarly good intentions related to data privacy, but it is so extensive that it takes an excessive amount of time for a single individual to grok the whole thing, which is generally a bad idea.

Focus is great in theory but Congress has always been more effectively run in a smokey backroom engaging in good old fashioned horse trading. The more Congress hamstrings itself, the less effectively it can legislate and the more de facto power POTUS amasses despite Congressional supremacy under the Constitution.

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