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Privacy

FISA and Border Searches of Laptops 421

With the recent attention to the DHS's draconian policy on laptop searches at borders, a blog post by Steven Bellovin from last month is worth wider discussion. Bellovin extrapolates from the DHS border policy on physical electronic devices and asks why authorities wouldn't push to extend it to electronic data transfers. "...it would seem to make little difference if the information is 'imported' into the US via a physical laptop or via a VPN, or for that matter by a Web connection. The right to search a laptop for information, then, is equivalent to the right to tap any and all international connections, without a warrant or probable cause. (More precisely, one always has a constitutional protection against 'unreasonable' search and seizure; the issue is what the definition of 'unreasonable' is.)"

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