Victory! Fourth Circuit rules that border officials can't subject electronic devices to suspicionless forensic searches


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I can readily see a market for time-locked encryption: before boarding, you have your sensitive material encrypted and at a specified time the key is delivered (or data automatically decrypted for that matter.)

The latter is crappy security unless you can be fairly sure that the threat is limited in time, but that’s security for you: there’s always a tradeoff with convenience.


Cory - when you travel, do you do anything special with your devices? I’ve thought about clearing caches and deleting cloud clients (like Dropbox and Google Drive) then downloading the client and re-syncing on the other side of the border. I’ve never bothered to do it though and I’ve never had a confrontation with border guards.

You travel more than most of us though. What has your experience been like?


I have an old Blackberry for every time we roll over & back again on the Southern boarder you should see the stink eye I get from Boarder Patrol Agents.


Trumpy is going to have a shit fit over this.


This blow against Il Douche’s most loyal law enforcement agency is a reminder of the value of an independent judiciary. When right-wing populists take power in and start degrading liberal democracies, one of their first steps is to weaken the institution and have it answer only to the the executive branch.

Some law firms now require a variation of this when their attorneys are crossing the border with their laptops. They sometimes also require the phones to be factory reset with data wiped (including contacts) before the backup is restored after the border control is passed. You’re correct that a more standardised turnkey solution would be welcome.


The law firms do the more secure one: take a scrubbed (or better virginal) phone/tablet/whatever, then on arrival download the necessary data and decrypt it with the secure key provided privately.


I used to tell people the ultimate security measure for their harddrive was a blowtorch. But if you still need access you have to settle for weaker measures.


I don’t trust it yet. Cue (and queue) all the lawsuits over border guards ignoring this ruling…


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