NYC judge asked to throw out border search lawsuit

Jul 08, 2011

(AP) -- A federal judge in New York City is questioning why laptops and smartphones should be excluded from random searches done by U.S. customs agents protecting the border.

Judge Edward Korman heard arguments Friday in Brooklyn on a lawsuit brought against the by Pascal Abidor.

Abidor's laptop was confiscated last year at the Canadian border while en route to New York from Montreal. He says that when it was returned, it was clear agents had looked at personal files.

Civil rights lawyers representing Abidor argue the search was unconstitutional. The government says it can search belongings at the border without cause.

The judge suggested Friday no cause is needed because the searches are meant to stop terror attacks. He will rule later on whether to dismiss the case.

Explore further: Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

4 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tighter oversight on border laptop searches

Aug 27, 2009

(AP) -- The Obama administration on Thursday put new restrictions on searches of laptops at U.S. borders to address concerns that federal agents have been rummaging through travelers' personal information.

Federal judge tosses warrantless wiretap cases

Jun 03, 2009

(AP) -- A federal judge on Wednesday tossed out more than three dozen lawsuits filed against the nation's telecommunications companies for allegedly taking part in the government's e-mail and telephone eavesdropping program ...

Protection asked for Arkansas woodpecker

Feb 07, 2006

A federal judge has been asked to stop a $319 million eastern Arkansas public works project to protect the newly discovered ivory-billed woodpecker.

Recommended for you

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

8 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

10 hours ago

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 7

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mrlewish
not rated yet Jul 09, 2011
Maybe because nothing of value to terrorist can be found on a lap top? If they are looking for "terrorist files" there is something called the internet that can transfer unlimited information anywhere.
RaiderUK
5 / 5 (2) Jul 09, 2011
A quick scan of the laptop or phone for explosives should be enough. Its just another example of the gov using the fear of terrorism to have more comtrol over its people.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 09, 2011
You mean the Judicial branch of government is in Kahoots with the Legislative branch for the evil purpose of controlling your brain waves?

Just wear a tin foil cap and you will be ooooooooookayyyyyyyyy
gwrede
not rated yet Jul 09, 2011
Sigh.

All they could possibly hope to get at is Amateur Terrorists' files. Professionals would either encrypt the sensitive stuff, or even better, hide it. (The average 5-year old laptop contains 50,000 files. Saving your terrorist buddies' names somewhere else than the home directory, in a file with a name reminiscent of some system files goes a long way already.) Or both.

The government can't possibly expect a border officer to be all that proficient with computers. At the end of the day, this is simply undue infringement on citizens' basic rights.
I_Dont_Have_A_Name
1 / 5 (1) Jul 11, 2011
If I was a terrorist I would do what most terrorists are known to do. Any security expert will tell you that heavy encryption and security are implemented by terrorists. I mean hell, I've been hiding things attached to JPG's for YEARS using the command prompt trick copy /b filename 1 filename 2 filename_end

One line of code and you can hide Gigabytes in one small image and no one would know if you hid it.
I'm more worried about where to hide my weed...stupid government :-< trying to steal my porn.
J-n
not rated yet Jul 11, 2011
I suspect that all a terrorist may need to do to hide their files from the border cops would be to use a non-standard OS. Linux or BSD or Haiku, have it set to open in CLI mode... I doubt any of the TSA Luddites could make their way into any files of any real meaning.

Then again,if i were a terrorist trying to smuggle in/out documents it would be very easy to just upload them to a secure server using SSL or some other encryption, or save all my documents to a small usb drive and condom/swallow it. They don't check phones, you could save all the important info to the phone's memory stick, they could then also hide the memory stick within the phone it's self.

One could also save the info on the computer, then delete it and rely on an "undelete" program to recover the "lost" files. Then unless they're copying bit-by-bit the whole drive they'll not even know the files are there.

J-n
not rated yet Jul 11, 2011
If really concerned my thoughts would be thus:

Disable startup from CD, USB, and other external devices in the BIOS

Password Protect BIOS (conveniently forget password if asked)

Startup into the CLI (command line) Mode for your OS (Pick a non-standard OS).

Do not automatically mount the Partition with your sensitive informaiton.

Encrypt the Partition with your sensitive data.

Rename, copy into, or otherwise hide your data to look like it is data of another type (Picture like previously suggested, an innocent looking text file, etc etc).

There are many other OS or File System spesific "Tricks" you can do to hide your data, i would always suggest using a variety of these on data you wish to keep secure from prying eyes.

More news stories

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.