CBP searched 30,000 devices last year without warrant, up 4x from 3 years prior

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/27/cbp-searched-30000-devices-la.html

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Remember: you have no rights at ports of entry or within an arbitrary distance from the US border. If you have any electronic devices with you they can be used against you or simply confiscated. Especially if the devices are upscale (e.g. new model iPhone) they might or might not be returned.

Your best bet is to not carry electronics with you, or if you do carry them wipe them to factory settings. The bits can be recovered in countless ways that we all understand, but if you’re carrying them on your phone or computer they can be used against you no matter what they are. Better to wipe the device to factory and have no security whatsoever, then sync it up on arrival. If you absolutely must, carry a microSD – they’re hard to find. If you’re carrying bits, have decoy devices such as a handful of blank SDs.

Don’t argue, just let them take the SDs. They can mess you up for life, and would love an excuse.


i think that arbitrary distance is 100 miles, which is truly insane.


and not 100 miles from an actual border, but 100 miles from a “border”, which includes airports etc…


100 miles from an actual border is nearly 2/3 of the US population (and the entirety of certain states), which is absurd enough. Once you start including airports (even those few specifically deemed “ports of entry”), it’s almost all of the country.

(Draw some 100-mile radius circles around all the dots, on top of the border above.)


Let me guess. If you show up with no electronics or freshly wiped electronics that’s all they will need to be suspicious of you and deport you anyway.

Right down the fucking toilet we go.


I thought trump proposed something that expanded that 100 mile border zone to the whole country?


He did.

If ICE catches you anywhere in the country and they believe you have been present illegally for less than 2 years, you can be deported that day without even seeing a judge.


You know when people start saying things like that, there are some ugly places it can lead. And the absurdities around the various definitions of “border” were already pretty ugly.


It’s just going to become the standard practice to delete all social media applications from your devices before travelling to the US and then reinstall them afterwards. The advice I always heard from people was that if you’re going to travel to the US do not take a laptop with you and factory reset all your devices before landing and then again after you pass through customs.

As for the obvious racism displayed by the border agents, you can’t do much about that I’m afraid.


A question I have is why there is the National Travel & Tourism Office https://travel.trade.gov/ Maybe it could be reduced to an interstate tourism office.

New York is a really nice city, but also Montreal c’est une cité tres jolie.


Yours is decent advice, but not really helpful overall.

Slightly better is to travel with nothing electronic but a blank phone with the intention of buying a sim card in the US and have anything important to you shipped encrypted separately. This is typically the practice business travelers must follow when they are responsible for sensitive information.

However, lying to a CBP officer is a crime and refusal to answer their questions is grounds for refusing you entry for life, unappealable as I recall.

There is really nothing someone entering the US can do if for some reason they catch the attention of an officer and they start asking you questions. They hold all the cards and have played their games with folks 100’s of times so they know what they are doing when trying to F you.

It makes me sick to think this is what the US has come to.

I personally suggest boycotting the US if possible until we elect a decent government.


CBP has been doing this sort of thing for decades; 9/11 just ramped it up. I only travel to the US to visit family every few years, or for a seminar that helps me keep my credentials. We used to go to Seattle and Portland for getaways. It’s now local vacations instead, especially with the current childish occupant of the White House messing with our economy.


Well, for one thing they don’t need a warrant, Congress gave them the power on the border to search all people and property crossing the border. You want to complain, write Congress, they gave CBP the law.

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I can’t imagine that that’s not by deliberate design…


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