I’m going to Mexico next week. I’m debating whether to bring my laptop. I’d like the option to stay connected while on vacation. However, bringing a laptop to the airport gives the government the unilateral right to seize it without cause. The odds aren’t very high that TSA, Customs, or DHS would take my laptop. Still, this is my only laptop, it contains my privileged attorney work product, and I don’t want some flunkie bureaucrat molesting my computer.
I’ve blogged before about the warrantless suspicionless laptop seizure program. Department Of Homeland Security- Protecting Freedom By Repealing The 4th Amendment .
Why does DHS need your computer? Just ask the Department of Homeland Security blog, the “Leadership Journal”. In this post, Jayson Ahern, the Deputy Commissioner of Border and Customs, explains why Americans should want the federal government to seize computers without cause.
From Mr. Ahern-
Our ability to inspect what is coming into the United States is central to keeping dangerous people and things from entering the country and harming the American people. One of our most important enforcement tools in this regard is our ability to search information contained in electronic devices, including laptops and other digital devices, for violations of U.S. law, including potential threats.
These searches have helped limit the movement of terrorists, individuals who support their activities, and other threats to national security. During border inspections of laptops, CBP officers have found violent jihadist material, information about cyanide and nuclear material, video clips of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), pictures of high-level Al-Qaeda officials, and other material associated with people seeking to do harm to our country
Sorry Ahern, I’m not scared enough to support your goons seizing my computer. All the dangerous information you found can be gathered from youtube or wikipedia. Have you considered that terrorists can easily email this information, or post it on the internet?
What’s more important is what Ahern doesn’t mention in his blog.
This dangerous computer data could have been stopped without the warrantless seizure program (the suspects had visa/immigration problems). And his program has never caught an actual terrorist.
When we let the government seize property without doing a real investigation it means that the government won’t do any real investigation. That’s not police work, that’s lottery law enforcement. This is why the 4th Amendment banned such searches. They are repugnant to a free people, and they don’t work.