Homeland Security: We Can Search And Confiscate Electronic Devices Based On A ‘Hunch’

Department of Homeland Security: We Can Search and Confiscate Electronic Devices Based on a “Hunch” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 5, 2013):

Regular readers know my complete and total disdain for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). An organization that is quite clearly gearing itself up for confrontation with the American public, rather than offering any meaningful protection from foreign “terrorists.” These folks think that because they have a big budget and a badge they do not have to abide by the Constitution.  They have such little respect for the supreme law of the land that they claim they can search through travelers’ electronic items, and even confiscate them, based on a “hunch.”  No, really.

Terrorists don’t take away freedoms.  Governments take away freedoms…and ours is doing a damn good job of it.

From CBS:

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — U.S. border agents should continue to be allowed to search a traveler’s laptop, cellphone or other electronic device and keep copies of any data on them based on no more than a hunch, according to an internal Homeland Security Department study. It contends limiting such searches would prevent the U.S. from detecting child pornographers or terrorists and expose the government to lawsuits.

The 23-page report, obtained by The Associated Press and the American Civil Liberties Union under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, provides a rare glimpse of the Obama administration’s thinking on the long-standing but controversial practice of border agents and immigration officers searching and in some cases holding for weeks or months the digital devices of anyone trying to enter the U.S.

Since his election, President Barack Obama has taken an expansive view of legal authorities in the name of national security, asserting that he can order the deaths of U.S. citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism without involvement by courts, investigate reporters as criminals and — in this case — read and copy the contents of computers carried by U.S. travelers without a good reason to suspect wrongdoing.

Now here is some text from the DHS study:

“We do not believe that this 1986 approach, or a reasonable suspicion requirement in any other form, would improve current policy,” the report said. “Officers might hesitate to search an individual’s device without the presence of articulable factors capable of being formally defended, despite having an intuition or hunch based on experience that justified a search.” It added: “An on-the-spot perusal of electronic devices following the procedures established in 1986 could well result in a delay of days or weeks.”

Apparently in America, a search warrant has now been replaced by a “hunch.”

Full article here.

In Liberty,

2 thoughts on “Homeland Security: We Can Search And Confiscate Electronic Devices Based On A ‘Hunch’”

  1. What I find appalling and amazing is the number of Americans who see Obama as a progressive liberal…..he is the opposite.
    There are things we can do. I have carried a cell phone since 1995, it used to be a nice luxury, and a safety device for women traveling alone. I went along with the progress, even got a smart phone for a while. Then, I realized the phone was now an electronic leash, so I got rid of it. If I travel, I take a simple, old style flip and answer phone…….no Internet access. I leave my computer at home.
    I am not going to get caught in this. First, I am ill, and won’t be around for much more development, but second, I realized these tools that used to be so useful are now used to track us. The pocket phone has become an electronic leash, and I stopped using it.
    I do use my laptop at home, but I don’t travel with it. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter. I tried Facebook once, and didn’t like it. Twitter is a way to get a quick message to someone, but otherwise useless. I stay away from all social media where the government trolls hang out.
    Looking at this Orwellian nightmare in which we live, I can look at my illness with gratitude because it is going to get me out of here sooner than later. How sad our lives have become so devoid of peace and hope……..but looking at this world, no sane person can see much good coming out of all of this. Fascism is a dangerous and oppressive form of government, and that is what we now have.
    We have a corporate media that covers tabloid exhaustively and truth not at all. It will only be a matter of time before they put locks on the Internet so people can no longer access the real news from the UK and other nations where a free press still operates.
    But, I have faith in our engineers. They will find other avenues than the Internet to get the truth out, people won’t take this lying down.
    What disturbs me is the number of people who say “oh, they can tape my conversations all day, I have nothing to hide.” I wish they would read about Europe and Russia in the 1930s…..perhaps they would realize how dangerous their attitude is to their future.
    Thanks for all you do.


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