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Privacy

DHS Allowed To Take Laptops Indefinitely 1123

andy1307 writes with a Washington Post story giving details of Department of Homeland Security policies for border searches of laptops and other electronic devices (as well as papers). (We have been discussing border searches for a while now.) DHS says such procedures have long been in place but were "disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter," according to the article. Here is a link to the policy (PDF, 5 pages). "Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption, or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement... DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including US citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism... The policies cover 'any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form,' including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover 'all papers and other written documentation,' including books, pamphlets and 'written materials commonly referred to as "pocket trash..."'"

Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign 674

WCityMike writes, "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate — in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'" Update 20:47 GMT by SM: Thankfully we all learned how to deal with these folks last week.

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