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All travelers - computers & cell phones can be seized

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Did anyone read the article that appeared in yesterday's Washington Post relative to the authority of the U.S. Customs to seize ANYONES' computer or cell phone or any other electronic device? Confiscation can take place without any reason to suspect the traveler of wrong doing. The decision to seize a computer is solely in the discretion of the particular officer the traveler meets upon entry or reentry into the U.S. The travelers' electronic devices can be retained by customs indefinately.


Below is a portion of the story along with the web address to the entire article:


Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border

No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies


By Ellen Nakashima

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 1, 2008; Page A01


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.


Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.


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 - - - - .


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We still have the power at the moment but we don't have the will. Unless we partcipate in the process, those n'er do wells we elected will do what they want. Writing your US senators and representative will be a start but electing better people would be preferable.


The government cannot protect us from the laws of nature or physics except by banishment. We will continue to have car accidents unless we banish cars. The same with airplane accidents. The same with murder. Etc. We have had laws against murder since before the 10 Commandments to include police agencies. Strangely, we still murder each other. Usually only once per victim.


I am against the TSA, all the so called security features, and most other forms of government interference. The best way to give power to the people is to get out of their lives. Otherwise we continue to reap the whirlwind as we are now.


Best regards,


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Guest zipperzone

Although it is scary to know they have this power, it would be interesting to know just how many are in fact confiscated. I would think that almost every traveller has a cell phone and probably about 25% have lap tops. I would guess that a very small percentage are actually siezed.


But it sure is a damn good reason not to get lippy with the customs officer. Ass kissing would seem to be the order of the day.

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", it would be interesting to know just how many are in fact confiscated. - - - I would guess that a very small percentage are actually siezed.



Even if there are a very small number of computers and cell phones seized it is, nonetheless, a burden to those who have their property seized for no valid reason except for the fact the "government" says it is okay to do so.


Those of us who travel often know that after clearing immigration and claiming our luggage, we proceed to the exit area and hand over our customs declaration to a customs office. When handing over the declaration, the officer makes a rapid decision to either allow us to exit or send us to be searched and possibly have our properties taken away from us. Obviously, most people are allowed to leave without being searched.


There is a section within immigration that is for the purpose of "examination" of luggage and travelers. There are employees manning that section. The fact that employees are working in that section tells us that a certain number of travelers will be plucked from the system to be sent to be searched. There would be no reason to have employees in that section and not use them.


The sad part of this violation of our Constitutional rights is there presently is nothing we can do because we allowed these outlandish laws to be enacted.


Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin recently introduced a bill that hopefully will require "probable cause" before any such searching and confiscation can take place.


The current remedy? Don't travel out of the U.S. For me, that is not an option.

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