CBP conducted more device searches at the border in Feb than in all of 2015

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/15/moores-law-for-surveillance.html

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Guess I won’t be traveling with electronic devices then.

So when will CBP equate SS when things are said and done?


Never forget these guys are low-level civil servants. They do not get to make up their own rules. But the boss might not be a constitutional scholar either.

If you want to hold the IRS accountable, you can read the Internal Revenue Code on line. Maybe every agency should be as transparent.


Guess I won’t be travelling to the USA then. Plenty of other countries in the world that will welcome my tourism (and money).

(But I appreciate how much this genuinely sucks for people who live/work in America).


Don’t blame you in the least and I would be the first to say “Stay away!”. Until Drumpf, Bannon and the rest are driven from Washington, you’re best bet is to visit other places.


Seems like a boon for cloud storage services.


I’m from Montreal and we typically use some part of our summer vacation for a visit to Burlington and surrounding Vermont and NY towns and landmarks. A great affordable getaway for foodies and craft beer aficionados that we are. Less than a 2 hour drive from here.

The US border patrol’s behaviour as exemplified here is a real downer for us. They have (and always have had) large discretion, but now, they are emboldened by the knowing support of their new president (as we perceive it - anyway).

I’m sorry for all the small businesses in Vermont we like to visit multiple times each year, but we don’t feel comfortable just now. We’ll see you again in a few years, maybe.


I hear you. We do a lot of summering in Maine and zip into Canada every other summer for one reason or another. I’m less interested in crossing the border with my family now that I know it’s going to be a pain to get back in.

On the other hand, if I can prove to the people of Quebec City that I’m friendly maybe they’ll let me stay…


But how? I don’t remember our rights being given to us by the government so how can they be taken away by them? What is the legal fiction which allows them to circumvent our legal protections?

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You’re not in the country yet, so you don’t get the full set of rights. As to whether rights are bestowed or recognized, that’s purely semantics. The Bill of Rights restricts what the government can do in the United States; if you’re in Afghanistan or Guantanamo or at a border crossing none of those restrictions apply.

Really? Where does it say that the limitations placed on our government only apply within our borders?


Where does it say that they don’t?

Logically, any exception to a restriction would need to be codified. Continuation and application of a restriction would not.

Terrorist 1: These border inspections are foiling our plans! We can’t risk the infidels finding the blueprints for our doomsday weapon on Aziz’s laptop!

Terrorist 2: Well if you’ve got a better idea for how to move digital files across international borders then I’d sure like to hear it.

Terrorist 1: (shrugs and shakes head in defeat)


It doesn’t, and they don’t. From the perspective of the US government, rights exist for all persons everywhere in the world. However, rights are not unlimited and may be subject to specific, limited restrictions where there is a compelling government interest to do so. One of these restrictions is upon the Fourth Amendment at the US border. The government has a compelling interest (indeed, an obligation) to restrict who and what may cross our borders. Consequently, persons may be searched or detained beyond limits normally applied to law enforcement.

Other rights may or may not be similarly curtailed. Now, one may reasonably argue over where the line should be drawn when deciding what is and is not allowed to the government in securing our borders. I think our government is way over the line, personally.

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But just think of all terrorist attacks that were averted!

Obligation? To what exactly? Can you speak more to the obligation and how it is codified? I agree that the Constitution states that “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.” but do people entering a state from a foreign country constitute an invasion or domestic violence? And how does this empower the government to control entry by people? How does this allow them to operate beyond the powers granted the Federal Government? It seems to me that the government can never operate beyond the powers granted by the constitution. If states are sovereign political entities, cannot the states control their own borders?

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