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What to do about laptops

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There have been a lot of articles lately about

Homeland Security looking at peoples hard drives

who are flying back to the US from other countries.


The last news article I saw said they can harass

you for a single naked picture if you don't have

a model's 2257 paperwork with you. Just crazy.


I have a laptop, I can afford a second laptop that

could be used for travelling. Any thoughts about

what to do with that laptop? If I re-format the

hard drive before coming back to the states, does

that actually erase everything?



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It's not that I have anything to hide, but


1) I totally resent this intrusion on

principle. The Founding Fathers of

this nation knew better.


2) Homeland Security can already harass

and detain anyone entering the U.S.

for any reason by calling someone a

"security risk" or some such crap.


3) The new court precedent which has not yet

been challenged by the U.S. Supreme court

(I think this was a 9th Circuit decision)

has ruled a forensic download of any

electronic device you have on you when

entering the U.S. is lawful even without

any suspicion of illegal activity.


4) Even reading my emails which might have

Re: Men4rent ad response on them are not

any of our government's goddamn business.



I looked and apparently there are some laptops

with removable hard drives. Will have to shop

for one.




PS - anyone interested the case is U.S. v. Arnold

it is pretty chilling stuff.


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This law has been on the books for a long time. Only now have people begun paying attention. Customs has ALWAYS had the right to inspect and hold anyone for any reason long before this issue came to popular awareness. Now they've enhanced the laws to target, ahem, pedophiles.


Why do you think they ask all those questions when you return? In less than a couple of minutes Customs can usually determine if you have something to hide and need further inspection. The vast majority have absolutely nothing to worry about. But because of a few the rest of us have to endure indignities like these.


I travel internationally and am totally unconcerned about having my computer searched. I've caught more flack from Canadian Customs and a couple of Latin American countries than I ever have from US Customs. Ecuadorian Customs has a massive sign at the boarder point indicating the punishments for child abuse right when you enter the country.


This will not be a popular stance on this board but I've got absolutely no issue whatsoever with US Customs, or any other country, taking the steps necessary to protect its boarders. I'll put it this way, nothing to hide - nothing to worry about when crossing the boarder, regardless of the country.

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Guest ryan2552

When I travel out of the country I upload all my photos and documents to an online site such as carbonite.com That way if my notebook is searched on my return there is very little of interest.


Yes I'm aware they can retrieve information from my hard drive however, my feeling is if nothing gets there attention when they look at first they will not bother investigating further. Unless of course they truly believe I am hiding terrorist information.


But I believe many of these searches are more about government intimidation than government security.

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I completely disagree. I've had no problems entering

Canada and have to deal with surly and difficult idiots

coming back into the U.S. especially flying from Pearson

in Toronto. It is always the TSA that is the problem.

Driving has been the opposite case and is not an issue.


Because I sometimes pay walk-up and/or one-way fares,

I have on several occasions had an extra baggage

search by hand coming back from Canada. To believe

that my laptop won't be their next intrusion at some

point would be naïve, especially if you have read the

Arnold case where Ninth Circuit omniously calls any

laptop a "container" which they now feel deserves the

same search as a piece of luggage. So the "contents"

of any electronic device are now now fair game. No

probable cause needed, no reasonable suspision, nothing.


If they don't find anything objectionable, the government

may also reserve the right to confiscate any electronic

device for further inspection, off-site. This likely

will not happen, but since I already deal with extra

screening at times, it seems like a really odd idea

not to take precautions against this intrusion.


Assuming you even got your laptop back, God only knows

what shape it and its "contents" might be in after they

got done with it. Also, do you have the §2257 documents

or access to them (if they even exist) to prove the age

of every adult image on your laptop, including any cached

images left on your hard drive from surfing say every

website you have ever visited?



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