Friday, August 1, 2008

Been caught stealing

"My friends, I need that laptop."
"You can't just take someone's laptop without suspicion, Senator."
"Probable cause is for fancy boys. This is the border between Pennsylvania and Mexico, dammit."

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.
Now that's the America I know. Sniff. Sweet land of liberty...of thee...I...sing...
DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies -- which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens -- are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials said such procedures have long been in place but were disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter.

Civil liberties and business travel groups have pressed the government to disclose its procedures as an increasing number of international travelers have reported that their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices had been taken -- for months, in at least one case -- and their contents examined.

The policies state that officers may "detain" laptops "for a reasonable period of time" to "review and analyze information." This may take place "absent individualized suspicion."
Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but you know the jihadist's modus operandi: file after file skilfully hidden on the C drive with scary-sounding names like greatsatan.txt, suitcasebomb.doc and the always frightening killtheirbabies.exe. So, untie the Gordian knot that is your panties and chill.
The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.'"
Papers please, indeed. But don't worry, iron-clad safeguards exist to protect you, the citizen, from any wrongdoing at the behest of others who might not have your best interests in mind. Not everyone can have a gut as sensitive to the nuances of our violent and dangerous world like Secretary Chertoff who, alone among men, realizes that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Oh brother, don't I know it! When I'm abroad sowing the seeds of democracy in barbarian lands, I'm always stuffing my Colombian in the spaces between microprocessors for the comfortable plane ride back home.
Reasonable measures must be taken to protect business information and attorney-client privileged material, the policies say, but there is no specific mention of the handling of personal data such as medical and financial records.

When a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information, any copies of the data must be destroyed. Copies sent to non-federal entities must be returned to DHS. But the documents specify that there is no limitation on authorities keeping written notes or reports about the materials.
Whew! I know I feel better, don't you? Time for a drink to celebrate.
Something chilling.


Dr. Zaius said...

Holy crap! That's ridiculous!

DivaJood said...

That, my friends, is terrifying. And in all seriousness, I now have to alert all my clients to let them know that they may find their lap tops and cell phones confiscated. This is too much like work for me.

Agi said...

I wonder how many laptops now have government-installed spyware on them.

okjimm said...

Well at least Russ is paying attention. Are there no OTHER elected officials showing concern...... write your elected officials, people, ASK them why they are NOT as outraged as Russ.

My Inner French Girl said...

Oh. Dear. God.

I'm seriously thinking of moving out of this country.


fairlane said...

They'll have to pry my laptop from my Cold Dead Hands!

Or, at least, the Cold Dead Hands of someone who looks vaguely like me.

Randal Graves said...

dr. zaius, with a side of WTF.

diva, don't worry, when you're president, this will no longer be an issue. I wish that was serious.

agi, glad I don't have a laptop. Of course, they could always fall back on passport chips.

okjimm, when I write, I know I'll get a 'sure, I'm concerned' from Mr. Brown. As for Mr. Voinovich, it'll be 'sure, I'm concerned...ABOUT US DYING IN A JIHADIST ASSAULT!'

marjorie, can we see your laptop before you go? Nothing personal, but you might be waging war against America.

Randal Graves said...

fairlane, hmm, now there's a splendid idea, build up a supply of lookalike corpses!

Übermilf said...

This is what typical America thinks: "if you have nothing to hide, this shouldn't bother you" with a prim purse of lips.

Anonymous said...

What about Cupcake's Barbie Laptop? Is that safe? That's where I intend to hide the coup plans when I flee the country.

Mary Ellen said...

My husband's laptop was pretty much ignored when he came through customs last week, but he has been stopped and searched before because of some of the scientific equipment he had to travel with.

Oh, and while traveling on business he managed to go through airport security with a fishing knife that he didn't realize was packed in his suitcase. He did that three times before they finally noticed it. He was wondering what happened to that was nice of them to find it for him. He could have kept it, too, if he wanted to deal with getting a release signed. He told them to toss it, it wasn't that great of a knife.

That's our airport security in action.

This is ridiculous and the way things are run, I wouldn't be surprised if they did take D'Cup's daughter's Barbie Laptop, while letting a terrorist bring in what they want.

Oh, and Randal---pics of the hot Dr. Who chic has been re-loaded on my post. Now, I showed you mine...when are you going to show me yours? It's time you gave us some gals something to look at...instead of that freak with the forks stuck to him on the post below. :-)

Randal Graves said...

übermilf, sadly, true. That's the line my wingnut relatives always give me. Then I mention that even Rush, who hates the ACLU, loved them when they defended his drug-addled ass. Then they mention some gobbledygook about the founding fathers. Then I suggest they should actually read what they wrote. Then there's blood. It's great!

dcup, hmmm, bad idea. How about taking the hollow torso of a sack-less Ken doll and stuffing the plans in there?

ME, great story, I feel so safe. I've got no problems with x-raying shit to make sure some fucker isn't carrying a fully-loaded Glock, but you sure as fuck can't rifle and READ what I've got.

As for eye candy, look. What's the first thing you see when you come here? The Sexiest Man Alive, Commander Codpiece. He'd make John Holmes jealous, right? And today, I give you a Real American Hero. You've got plenty to ogle here.

Mary Ellen said...

Hey! I give you Rose Tyler and you give me Commander Codpiece? WTF?

First you refuse to give us pics of you in your underwear and now this.... you're a cruel man, Randal...very cruel.

American Hill BIlly said...

Excellent Post Randal,

I have known about this somehow??? They actually for quite a while been taking peoples personal devices when going into the Corporation.....I mean Country..Land immigration of the Not so Free for a good while.

The immigration officials will force you to log on to your computer, and then will insert a fast zip drive, that downloads everything from your computer.

excellent post,

Peace and Freedom

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised man. Is it long before we're stopped randomly in public by DHS goons because we look suspicious.

"Hey is the laptop? I'll bet you're one of those librul bloggers! Gimme that thing. I'll teach you to blog again!"

Mary Ellen said...

I don't know...I have a sudden urge to take my laptop and stroll through the airport just for the fun of it. Maybe I'll even mark my laptop case with some weird squiggly design so they think it's some foreign code word. Man, if they ever look into my laptop they're gonna be real disappointed. :)

Border Explorer said...

Sad to say "probably cause" may be that you're Muslim or look like you might be. The video "Got Rights?" teaches Muslims how best to cope with this airport harassment and intrusive questioning. But any of us may benefit from knowing how to handle these situations. Worth a watch.

Bradda said...

Why do you need a laptop in Mexico Randal? Up to no good are we?
I'm so glad our government has the fortitude to protect us in these trying times! Oh who am I kidding, this is bullshit!

American Hill BIlly said...

Gamal Abdullah,

That's right!!! Ah-Haa!!! I learned your real name from Tom's Blog; Anon at Tom's taught me the truth!!! Vote For: McCain, Bush, and the rest of the pedialytes, or did I mean pedoph???....I mean...Depend wearing coke snorten', boozed up folks!! They know how to get the job done, and done expensively!!! Damn Liberal controlled bloggers!! Now I know your controlled by the Islamofascists!!! Wake Up. God Forgives all, and last night I was told for a $30 donation "God" would make me rich!!! Why can't you Gamal, see the light?!?

Liberality said...

Didn't anyone tell you that freedom isn't free? Yeah, people are dying for your freedom in the middle east right now! In the meantime, the government is holding onto your freedom for you, for safe keeping!

susan said...

They'll really be in for a surprise if they download your i-pod, won't they? I mean Mozart, ACDC, Bach, Guns n Roses.. wtf? Take your laptop on your next trip to gay Paree but for God's sake please leave your MP3 or whatever at home.

I read about this some weeks ago and thought most people already knew. It's very scary especially because underneath it's a signal to people here who can afford to travel that they are under observation. Conform, or else.

Tom Harper said...

Uh oh, that Pennsylvania-Mexico border is treacherous. Especially since we went to war against El Salvador because of them a communist front for East Germany.

Hey, we can WIN in Vietnam if we just put our minds to it and stifle all dissent here at home. No more aiding and abetting the enemy Goddamnit.

Randal Graves said...

ME, cruelty would be me in my underwear.

AHB, the sad part is that even though it seems among our circle that it's a serious issue, I'm afraid too many travelers might look at it as simply one more hassle, one more hoop, instead of the insidious invasion of privacy that it is.

spartacus, life imitating art. "Papers? This is just like in that Nazi flick!"

ME, yeah, you keep all your anti-American porn on your computer at home. ;-)

BE, I remember after 9/11, in my old apartment complex there were a lot of Sikhs and man, did they get the looks from people. Brown skin = terrorist. Ridiculous. We've got white skinned ones running the show here.

bradda, hey, I only went there for the hooch and burlesque shows. If it's good enough for Sessions, it's good enough for me, right?

AHB, oh no, did that guy claiming Iran is bent on world domination show up again?

liberality, and I'm glad they are because I might lose it and then drift towards totalitarianism and become a real threat to the security of this great nation!

susan, what if I fill it up with Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood? That should speed me right through the lines at the airport.

tom, I hope you didn't forget about that incident at Checkpoint Charlie in Nicaragua already. If we don't secure our Canadian border, then the corpse of Ceausescu will bring his undead communist horde down upon our shining city on a hill!