DHS Directives on Border Searches of Electronic Media

DHS Directives on Border Searches of Electronic Media
Submitted by cjgayman on Thu, 08/27/2009 – 12:30

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano recently announced two new directives aimed at improving oversight for searches of computers and electronic [devices] at U.S. entry ports. This is viewed as an important move to support DHS efforts to “combat transnational crime and terrorism while protecting privacy and civil liberties.” [HUH? WHAT THE … !?]

“The new directives address the circumstances under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can conduct border searches of electronic media—consistent with the Department’s Constitutional authority to search other sensitive non-electronic materials, such as briefcases, backpacks and notebooks, at U.S. borders.”  DHS today also released this Privacy Impact Assessment for the new guidelines on border searches of electronic devices in order to enhance public understanding of these new procedures and controls used by DHS.


Warrantless searches of your laptop, PDAs, iPods, Blackberries, cellphones, DVD players, etc., are unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Using DHS logic they can strip search you in the name of combatting transnational crime and terrorism while protecting your privacy and civil liberties just because they say so. And if you refuse the warrantless search? Will they arrest you? Welcome to the Government Totalitarianism! Isn’t despotism fun?

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