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Obama To Keep Bush Airport Laptop Search Policy

Obama To Keep Bush Airport Laptop Search Policy

Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post
August 28, 2009

The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search — without suspicion of wrongdoing — the contents of a traveler’s laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections.

The policy, disclosed Thursday in a pair of Department of Homeland Security directives, describes more fully than did the Bush administration the procedures by which travelers’ laptops, iPods, cameras and other digital devices can be searched and seized when they cross a U.S. border. And it sets time limits for completing searches.

But representatives of civil liberties and travelers groups say they see little substantive difference between the Bush-era policy, which prompted controversy, and this one.

“It’s a disappointing ratification of the suspicionless search policy put in place by the Bush administration,” said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It provides a lot of procedural safeguards, but it doesn’t deal with the fundamental problem, which is that under the policy, government officials are free to search people’s laptops and cellphones for any reason whatsoever.”

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ACLU Sues Homeland Security over Laptop Searches

 



ACLU Sues Homeland Security over Laptop Searches

ACLU Sues Homeland Security over Laptop Searches

Chloe Albanesius
PC Mag.com
August 27, 2009

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to uncover documents related to laptop searches at the border.

“The ACLU believes that suspicionless searches of laptops violate the First and Fourth Amendments,” the group wrote in the suit, filed in a New York District Court.

In July 2008, the Customs and Border Protection agency within DHS published formal guidelines for laptop border searches that gave CBP officials permission to search laptops and electronic devices at the border. Court cases on the topic have generally found that citizens should have diminished expectations of privacy when re-entering the country because the U.S. has a right to protect itself and control what crosses its borders.

Critics of the policy claim that laptop searches are an invasion of privacy – a personal computer holds a lot more information than a suitcase full of clothes or briefcase full of paperwork. What’s to stop CBP from copying the contents of your computer and keeping it on file indefinitely, they have argued.

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REAL ID Back From The Dead

REAL ID Back From The Dead

Richard Esguerra
Electronic Frontier Foundation

August 24, 2009

In February, the opponents of REAL ID were given a bit of hope when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that she wanted to repeal the REAL ID Act, the federal government’s failed plan to impose a national identification card through state driver’s licenses. But what has taken place since is no return to sanity, as political machinations have produced a cosmetic makeover called “PASS ID” that has revived the push for a national identification card.

The PASS ID Act (S. 1261) seeks to make many of the same ineffectual, dangerous changes the REAL ID Act attempted to impose. Fundamentally, PASS ID operates on the same flawed premise of REAL ID — that requiring various “identity documents” (and storing that information in databases for later access) will magically make state drivers’ licenses more legitimate, which will in turn improve national security.

Proponents seem to be blind to the systemic impotence of such an identification card scheme. Individuals originally motivated to obtain and use fake IDs will instead use fake identity documents to procure “real” drivers’ licenses. PASS ID creates new risks — it calls for the scanning and storage of copies of applicants’ identity documents (birth certificates, visas, etc.). These documents will be stored in databases that will become leaky honeypots of sensitive personal data, prime targets for malicious identity thieves or otherwise accessible by individuals authorized to obtain documents from the database. Despite some alterations to the scheme, PASS ID is still bad for privacy in many of the same ways the REAL ID was. And proponents of the national ID effort seem blissfully unaware of the creepy implications of a “papers please” mentality that may grow from the issuance of mandatory federal identification cards. Despite token provisions that claim to give states the freedom to issue non-federal identification cards, the card will be mandatory for most — the PASS ID Act seeks to require everyone to show the federally recognized ID for “any official purpose,” including boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

At the moment, health care reform is commanding tremendous attention and effort on the hill, so the PASS ID Act seems to be on the backburner for now. But after the August recess, anything can happen. So stay tuned for more about PASS ID and critical opportunities to flag your opposition to this flawed national ID scheme.

 



Fein: Obama Has Gone Beyond Bush/Cheney

Fein: Obama Has Gone Beyond Bush/Cheney


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2924rXrbb8