“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.”
-U.S. Constitution, Amend. IV
Persons, their papers and effects, safe from search and seizure. Warrants. Freedom. America. Civility. Constitution. Rights.
Ancient. History. Gone, my friends. Read on: the “border” of the 4th Amendment:
Over the last decade, tens of thousands of visitors to the US – plus US citizens and residents returning home – have been subjected to warrantless border searches of their electronic devices.
Border officials may seize, search, and copy the contents of any such device. There’s no arrest, warrant, or even probable cause required – just “gimme.” And activists claim that since the inauguration of President Trump, this practice is becoming increasingly common.
While the majority of searches seem to occur when entering the US, border officials also have the authority to search electronic devices before you leave the country. In some cases, you may even be asked to log into your social media and email accounts and allow border officials to peruse their contents.
And that’s not all. In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would apply these rules not just at the “border,” but also within 100 miles of any border crossing. In other words, many of America’s largest cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco are also effectively “constitution-free zones.” So is any city with an international airport.
While I haven’t heard of warrantless electronic device searches outside actual entry points into the US, between October 2008 and June 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the US border, according to the DHS records.
In most legal challenges to this practice, federal courts have essentially rubber-stamped these policies. Even if you take the precaution of encrypting the contents of your electronic devices (highly recommended), border officials may demand the password.
The border and incoming arrivals I can kind of see. Don’t like it, but I can see it. It’s the 100-mile radius and the interior aspects that call up my inner Lexington and Concord here. While I have not heard of DHS (to protect us from CIA-bred terrorists, remember) searching phones or laptops in the interior, I have heard of their checkpoints, random places on the highway and nowhere near any border.
These aren’t the civil rights you’re looking for. Lucas Film / 20th Century Fox / YouTube.
Please read Nestmann’s full article. He gives some great tips for surviving these ordeals. He mostly recommends encryption and throw-away devices. Sage wisdom. And, as he notes, you may forget legal challenges. Constitutional protections are only afforded terrorist “refugees” now. You. Don’t. Count. Anymore. Pay your taxes and shut up!
Mr. Trump really has precious short time to Make America Great Again, if he can. Nestmann’s digital dodges work fine for now. There’s always a temporary and relatively easy way around tyranny when it starts. The rifles come out a little later.