Mayor of Stockton, CA detained by DHS at SFO, forced to give up laptop password

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Other than a blatant abuse of power, I see no point in searching electronic devices without any reason for suspicion. They store data, and that data can be transferred in any number of ways to circumvent this. Turning the device on to prove that it functions as it should and isn’t a hidden explosive I get. Searching the contents of a laptop or phone? I can’t see that as anything but an illegal search, and if I know that might happen any questionable data wouldn’t be there. It would be sent via other channels. They might get some low hanging fruit, but seriously, this is just fishing.
I wonder if it would be less of a headache just to use some sort of express shipping to send back the devices that you could do without for a couple of days.


Even dukes have to prostrate themselves before the king.


I gather the thing now for corporations which are concerned about security is to send people on overseas trips with an empty laptop - completely blank hard drive, or pre-installed OS only. On arrival, load your files from an encrypted image via the Internet or a separately shipped external drive.

Too much of a pain in the ass for the average citizen, which is probably why this is tolerated.


I say if they’re going to take your shit, fuck 'em. Tell them you forgot your password and leave them holding their dicks.

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I think claiming you forgot your password is probably the same as telling then you refuse to give it to them. At least from their point of view and from whatever nebulous legal grounds this all takes place on.


Well, no, they are left holding your devices that you likely spent hundreds of dollars on. Devices that you may or may not ever get back according to their whim, apparently. It costs you money to replace the devices. It costs all of us money by wasting tax dollars.
This kind of thing sets a very, very dangerous precedent if it is allowed.


Exactly. If they’re going to take it anyway, as is the story here, I say why give them any cooperation at all. I’m not pretending that it makes confiscation good or great or settles anything. When you don’t have recourse, you give people the finger.


Something that gives me the chills is… The data on my laptop doesn’t belong to me. It isn’t mine to disclose. I have posession of a device, sure, but I’d call counsel and get my ass covered before surrendering a password to anyone.


“I briefly had to remind myself that this was not North Korea or Nazi Germany. This is the land of the Free.”

You keep telling yourself that. It might be true again some day.


We aren’t allowed to travel internationally with our regular laptops, AFAIK. Have to get burners.


That is a good policy. Just rdp/ssh into an environment


It’s been the case for a while for multinationals, on the basis that the US authorities will scrape your machine and give the data to US competitors. Nothing gets stored on your laptop; you VPN if you want access to anything.


Silva went on to say that he is “confident that any forensic search of my personal devices will never ever show illegal or inappropriate activities of any sort.”


"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.” – Cardinal Richelieu


Actually that would be considerably worse. Lying to a federal agent is a crime. You will be prosecuted under 18 USC 1001.

Same here. But if it’s important enough (say the laptop contains an expensive software license) they’ll FedEx it to your destination and you FedEx it back when you’re done. CBP couldn’t care less about the Constitution, so HIPAA ain’t nothin’ to them either.


"I briefly had to remind myself that this was not North Korea or Nazi Germany. This is the land of the Free.”

You keep telling that to yourself.
Land of the free, what a joke.


This is what happens when you have arseholes who don’t have the vaguest clue about the constitution making decisions.

"4th Amendment

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."

Where are all those folks who are always whining about their second amendment rights. Why aren’t they up in arms over the clear violation of the fourth amendment?

we’re so screwed


It’s interesting because I am foreseeing that they demand your VPN password and your password to various devices on your corporate network. What do you say? I’d be inclined to do what @japhroaig said and absolutely insist on talking to counsel before divulging any corporate information. It’s not mine to give. They can fucking throw me in jail but I’m not giving them anything. That said, I’m not taking anything valuable with me to China, either. I’d be inclined to take nothing but a passwordless tablet.


Where they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you do remember something.