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Encryption Privacy United States

The Legal Purgatory at the US Border: Detained, Searched, and Interrogated 555

An anonymous reader writes "America may be the land of the free, but upon arrival millions of visitors cross a legal purgatory at the U.S. border. It is an international legal phenomenon that is left much to the discretion of host countries. In some cases, this space between offers travelers far fewer rights than some of the least democratic and free countries on Earth. Limited access to legal counsel, unwarranted searches, and questionable rights to free speech to name a few. One of the more controversial — and yet still legally a contested grey area — are the rights travelers have in regards to electronics and device searches."
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The Legal Purgatory at the US Border: Detained, Searched, and Interrogated

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  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:00PM (#44734103)

    But first off, don't be stupid. Sanitize/Sterilize ALL of your data PRIOR to starting your trip.

    They cannot find what you are not carrying.

  • by QilessQi ( 2044624 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:23PM (#44734297)

    No, the OP was probably suggesting that you remove personal and sensitive data from your devices and keep it at home. Why travel with a computer that's loaded with your bank account info? Use a separate laptop for travel, or else keep the sensitive stuff on removable partitions (SSDs, USB keys, etc) which never leave the house.

    Better yet: if all you need the laptop for is reading eBooks and occasionally checking your FB/Gmail/whatever account, leave the thing at home and make do with internet cafes, hotel computers, and the like.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:27PM (#44734335) Homepage Journal

    this space between offers travelers far fewer rights


    Rights aren't offered, they're innate (or God-given, if you prefer) and can only be infringed. Until everybody is (again) well-educated enough to say, "this space is one where governments infringe rights with reckless abandon," then little progress will be made.

  • by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:30PM (#44734361) Homepage

    So, fearing the government, I now give full access to hackers who owned those hotel computers and internet cafes? Yay.

  • Do your part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:39PM (#44734415)

    and don't visit countries that abuse visitors, unless you absolutely have to. Back when I was 15, I dreamt of moving to America, the land of opportunity and individual freedoms. By age 24-25, I no longer had the rose-tinted glasses. Now at 30 I am no longer even interested in coming for a visit.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:55PM (#44734547)

    I happen to be an expert on the use of cryptography. I know in detail how TrueCrypt works and its design is a sure recipe for getting you into extremely hot water if your devices are searched at the border. It may also get you thrown in prison for a while, because you refuse to hand over the keys to your hidden partition (never mind that they cannot prove you have one and that you may actually not have one in the first place...).

    And there is the thing that you "hid" storage devices in your luggage, which already makes you suspicious. Having TrueCrypt on them will just finish you off.

    The only good advice to TrueCrypt users is to actually have a hidden partition and to immediately hand over the keys for it when asked at a border inspection. Anything else is is pure folly. [] applies without restriction.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @09:09PM (#44734627)

    Well, you can be childish all you like. When you sit in border-jail, remember me.

  • by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @09:15PM (#44734671)
    Better: Do not go to the fucking USA. Travelling to the U.S. today is the best way to turn your vacation into a nightmare.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @09:30PM (#44734769)

    His point is that everybody knows truecrypt does hidden partitions so if you don't hand over the key for a hidden partition they are going to make your life hard - even if you don't have a hidden partition.

  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @10:20PM (#44735071)

    Yes, it's bad that this is happening at US borders. But it's happening everywhere else too, so why this obsession with the US?

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @10:34PM (#44735175)

    How quickly we forget 9/11.

    How many hundreds of thousands of additional lives did subsequent US policy claim under the banner of never forgetting 9/11? Was it worth it?

    If our government had been more vigilant in who crosses our border, it would have never happened.

    This is simply hand waiving. You have no way of predicting what would have occured.

    I could just as easily assert had CIA been more vigilant in not hiring asshats like OSBL in the first place 9/11 would have never happened.

    One fact is not disputed by anyone. In the next 3 months as many people will have killed one another right here in the US as were killed on 9/11 and every 3 months like clockwork since.

    How quickly we forget... oh wait I forget that nobody gives a fuck about that.

    Border searches are one of the few powers I am happy to grant my overgrown, bloated, ineffective federal government. If you come to the U.S. with bad intentions, I hope they catch you.

    Most likely cuz you don't travel or care about foreign visitors who must go thru extraordinary lengths to get visas and once here too often treated like shit at the border by assholes with badges as I have observed on at least three separate occasions. I feel ashamed of the way we treat our guests to say nothing of the billions in revenue lost each year by people deciding its not worth the trouble.

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @10:40PM (#44735199)
    You're out of your mind. Rights exist only because and to the extent that people recognize them, particularly governments that are in a position to defend or deny them. There are no god given rights and if there were, you weren't offered any right to privacy according to any religion that I know of. As for their being innate, that can't be true. If the were innate, people would have had the same rights everywhere and throughout history. They manifestly have not and do not. Your rights depend on where you are and who you are with. Thinking otherwise is simply asking for trouble you can avoid by recognising the facts.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"