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Editorial: Hands off our laptops

As President Obama ponders a task force’s recommendations for reining in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, a federal judge in New York has allowed another government agency to invade the privacy of Americans. Judge Edward R. Korman ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents may confiscate and examine the contents of laptop computers of Americans returning to the country even if they lack reasonable suspicion that the devices contain evidence of criminal activity. …

In that case, the 9th Circuit nevertheless upheld a sophisticated forensic analysis of the laptop of a man returning from Mexico that turned up images of child pornography. But the court said there was “reasonable suspicion” to justify the search because the man had been listed as a sex offender on a government watch list. Full Article

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  1. Anonymous Nobody

    Ifind this very terrifying. Iheard abotu them passing a law after 9/11 allowoing laptops to be taken at the border and searched, maybe not returning untiltome period later. But that was supposed otbe for terrorism reasons, not other reasons, such as to search laptops of everyone listed as a registrant, as I am gathering is what is going on from what regitrants are saying (on this Website, registrants are prettymuch saying the all of them everytime they travel are pulled aside for hours at the border and everything gone over with the fine tooth comb, just lookijgnfor any sex picutes or other offense.).

    Being a registrant is NOT sufficient for probable cause. Added to something else significant, perhaps it will bolster the argument for probably cause, but in an of itself it just is not.

    Yet here we have the courts ruling that probable cause is not needed. If you want to enter your own country with proof of your citizenship and all the proper passport and whatever else, you are still not entitled to Constitutional rights.

    I can only recommend that ALL registrants not bring a laptop, any storage device, not even a cell phone across the border with them.

    To digress, and were is the ACLU and other people, who are supposed to be fighting for civil rights, when you need them?! The ACLU has dropped the ball all along on SOR. I will say, years back, I argued with them about it, but they could not care less about standing up to SOR, in fact, had no problem with it. In my arguments with them here in SoCal, in which I was trying to get them to bring a challenge, they seemed think SOR was perfectly fine. Yes, that was years back, and maybe the people there now think differently about it, although the ACLU has not taken any lead on this — and a group like that should have been on it right from the get go. Maybe things would not have gotten this bad, maybe SOR even could have been eliminated, rather than spread all over and expanded, as at the time, only three states had any SOR.

    This is a problem that even people who do not like how onerous SOR has become do not necessarily oppose the idea of SOR in some form. But SOR in any form is wrong — the people who must register must do so for something they have not yet even done! They are humiliated by the mere fact of doing the registration, which is generally exacerbated by the conduct of police when you get there. They are under psychological attack by the label, are severely stigmatized. They hare harassed by having to keep going in and doing the registration and being humiliated by it, maybe in multiple locations, for some every month or every three months — even to go in at all is unacceptable, especially since registration in any form in unacceptable. This is what probation and parole are for, and when you pass that, you are done, you don’t go on to a permanent form of it! What is the pint of probation and parolee if you are to be “surveilled,” as the court puts it, for the rest of your life — that’s just lifetime parole even if they don’t use that term for it for legal reasons?

    Enough, I think everyone here already knows all this. I just had to vent. Which, of course, is just another symptom of the pressure of all this.

    • Q

      This all started with 9/11 and the unpatriotic act. I’ve heard it said that all the war on terror has accomplished is to destroy the constitution and allow the pounder of sovern states, we have already pretty much been plundered.

  2. Tim

    There was a lot said about not letting the terrorists win after 9/11. Well, the terrorists enabled our leaders to weaken the constitution, the basis of our free society. Who actually won? And when it cones to registrants, you’ve got the perfect storm wracking the Constitution. Although you may have some liberals (oh, I forgot now called progressives) concerned about 100 or so suspected terrorists detained without habeus corpus, nary a liberal (or for that matter libertarian) concerned about 750,000 citizens detained on virtual parole after they haved served a sentence.

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