/ Politics

Land of the Free, My Ass

Under the new guidelines, travelers who are selected by its officers for additional screening could be asked to unlock their electronic devices for inspection or provide passcodes. They will be asked to disable the devices’ data transmission, according to a senior CBP official who briefed reporters on the changes Friday.

Only information physically stored on the device — such as photographs or phone numbers — would be subject to search, said the official, who the agency would not allow to be quoted by name.

This is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the state should not have this power. You might have a different opinion on this, but I'm sad to report that your opinion is disgustingly wrong. Fear of terrorism is making us allow privacy violations that we previously considered the domain of dictatorships.

According to the senior CBP official, about 20 percent of the travelers whose devices are inspected are U.S. citizens. The rest are permanent residents, visitors or other travelers whose admissibility to the United States is subject to CBP discretion.

American citizens who refuse to allow their devices to be inspected cannot be denied entry into the United States, but their devices could be retained for up to five days, the official said.

Encrypt all of your devices with the strongest level of encryption you can. If you are going into a hostile situation — like the border of the United States for fuck’s sake — switch your phone from fingerprint-based authorization to a hard-to-guess passcode (preferably random). (In the US, many law enforcement groups are allowed to force you to unlock your device via fingerprint, but not a passcode/passphrase.)

And then, under no circumstances give that passcode out. In fact, don’t ever talk to the police under any circumstances.


U.S. customs agents are searching more cellphones — including those belonging to Americans by Nick Miroff