Steve G.

You Are Now Leaving The Fourth Amendment

In Civil Liberties on August 4, 2008 at 1:01 am

America’s Department of Homeland Security is a draconian beast.

It says that shampoo, toothpaste, Diet Coke and deodorant are dangerous chemicals which must be restricted and banned from aircraft in quantities above 3 oz.

It says that if you wish to board an aircraft in any part of the USA, you’re basically subject to humiliating sexual harassment and groping, including strip searches, trouser-drops, and x-ray scans of your entire body — including full views of your genitals.

It demands that if you wish to travel between two points within the USA, that you must produce a government-issued ID — much as Soviet citizens were required to in the bad old days.

But perhaps the most astonishing accomplishment of these guys is the effective termination of the Bill of Rights at every port of entry/exit in the United States.

The government is now asserting that it has an unlimited right to confiscate and search through your laptop, cell phone, or other personal electronic device whenever you enter or leave the country.

Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Indefinite confiscation of your personal effects without reasonable cause is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. But when did these boys ever care about the Constitution?

It gets better.

officials may share copies of the laptop’s contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons

Got your business’ general ledger on your PC? Better hope your big competitor doesn’t know someone at DHS who can snatch a copy of your hard disk while you leave the country, to churn through it and hand over confidential trade information.

Got your tax and medical records on your laptop? Well, they’re public now, baby! DHS can copy and share them for translation, decryption, or any other “reason” it decides.

Got photos of you and your significant others dressed in vinyl suits doing God-knows-what at Burning Man? Imagine the fun and laughter the good folks will have at DHS as they print and hand out copies of your photographs and giggle at the video clips! Fun will be had by all!

DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism.

Oh, of course they are.

As will be the mandatory strip searches complete with probosces. After all, you could be hiding a stick of dynamite, plans to bomb St. Louis, or a film roll of obscene material in those intimate body cavities.

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