Every Laptop and Cell Phone in Detroit (and Dearborn) Can Be Searched at Will

I’m not really sure how Detroit is supposed to pursue an arts-based resurgence if the Department of Homeland Security maintains that it can seize any electronics along the nation’s borders — which extend 100 miles and therefore include the bulk of the population of Michigan

The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

[snip]

According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.

I mean, if I were a business of any kind I’d move outside of this 100-mile border zone to protect my company secrets. Though that would up-end a good deal of the US auto industry, which they can’t really afford.

This is absurd. The notion that the border exception would expose entire cities (San Diego and, I think, Miami, would be similarly exposed) to this kind of privacy invasion shows how absurd the contention is.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel RT @carolrosenberg: Crosby: The accused USSCole bomber had "persistent and chronic anal-rectal complaints..."
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emptywheel Odd part of hanging with @FalguniSheth: who knew that Amherst had decent Mexican and Chinese food?
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bmaz @joshgerstein Wow, that is quite a plea.
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bmaz @MikeScarcella He's rt about better shopping in Tucson; Douglas is a pit. Still, seizure+search based on non-crim+innocuous activity. Ugh.
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bmaz It is completely unacceptable for @CNN to be claiming credit for the Phoenix VA Hospital story; @azrover + @azcentral broke it first.
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bmaz @OKnox Ooops!
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bmaz @nadabakos @robertcaruso @AllThingsHLS Well, they are cops, so credibility IS an issue!
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bmaz @nadabakos @robertcaruso @AllThingsHLS I thought so too. Just relating how the livestock inspectors treated them for these purposes.
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bmaz Whether favor far greater transparency for OLC or not (I do) this paper by @ericisbeautiful looks very informative http://t.co/2eARGM8y9g
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bmaz @ericisbeautiful I have downloaded for reading, but have a feeling I will disagree!
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bmaz RT @ericisbeautiful: If you're following the recent case about the Al-Awlaki memo, might enjoy my note about downsides of OLC transparency …
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bmaz @RebekahLSanders I meant to say that yesterday, but was distracted by the arrival of Founders Beer in Phoenix. Thanks for reminding me!
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