Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guest Column: On TSA Laptop Searches | GamePolitics


Domestic travelers have become familiar with intrusions and searches at Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints. But as the ACLU has recently discovered, international travelers are not only having their laptops seized and searched by Customs and Border Protection, but agents are making copies of files and giving them to third-party agencies. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government, which turned over hundreds of pages of documents revealing startling information about how much access—and how little oversight—agents have to your gaming laptops when you travel.



I'm not quite sure why this is even remotely acceptable in a free society. Maybe I'm being naive, but from a legal standpoint why can't people simply say "hell no" if some jackass from the TSA starts copying files from your hard drive to give to a third party? Have we really lost this much freedom?

6 comments:

arwilliamson said...

The problem is one of intimadation. Customs, for whatever reason, are armed to the teeth, even though you have stepped off a plance and are no way in hell armed. No other country feels the need for this at this point of entry.So to start arguing with them, really, you just want to get through there as fast possible, as they are staffed with people with their own self importance and they do NOT make you feel welcome to America.I go back and forth a lot, and its the least enjoyable part of the trip, the grilling at customs. In their defense, they've always been like this, right before 9/11.

Joseph Lamoree said...

"Okay, now go ahead and enter your TrueCrypt passphrase so I can look through your files."

Matthew Woodward said...

I guess I just don't understand why the Fourth Amendment goes out the window just because you're in an airport. If the cops come knock on my door demanding my laptop and they don't have a warrant, I'd tell them to get bent. Rights are rights regardless of whether or not you're in an airport.

Joseph Lamoree said...

These cavity searches (cyber, or otherwise) can't possibly be used on US citizens, can they? I've never left the country, so I have no experience returning as a suspected terrorist.

Matthew Woodward said...

I don't believe there's anything stopping them, but perhaps I'm wrong on that point.

Anonymous said...

Matt, you know that in most ways I'm as conservative as can be, but you are right about this, and stuff like this keeps coming up and it is wrong. Immoral. I hate the way our country is running national security, fighting crime, and balancing it's checkbook. And, yes, believe it or not, those things are related. My general displeasure has been placed on politicians who get indoctrinated into the Washington "way" and slowly become beholden to the bureacracy and the special interest (not to mention the money), and no longer represent their constituents. They are the ones responsible for all my complaints, regardless of affiliation or philosophy.