Homeland Security New Guidelines on Computer Searches
“ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] Special Agents acting under border search authoritymay search, detain, seize, retain, and share electronic devices, or information contained therein, withor without individualized suspicion, consistent with the guidelines and applicable laws set forthherein.”
"Assistance to complete a border search may be sought from other Federal agencies and non-Federal entities, on a case by case basis, as appropriate."
"In such situations, Officers may transmit electronic devices or copies of information contained thereinto seek technical assistance from other federal agencies,"
– They can search any computer, IPOD, Flash Drive, Cell phone etc of any personattempting to cross their borders. We are not clear if this includes people leaving the USA but they will probably just assert that authority any time they want to. They do not need probable cause. They do nothave to tell the person what information was copied, seized, detained etc. If you are not nice to theairport police now they can punish you with confiscation of your computer, cell phone etc. They canreturn it whenever they are finished with it, which could be years and years later. You could go andretain a lawyer but what will that cost and what are you trying to recover a $1500 laptop. Well the datais worth a lot you might say. Then consider that the data may have been damaged in their investigation.Dead end. Forget trying to use a police state against itself, urban myth that never works.
– If you need to cross borders and are worried about confiscation of data the fix is really quitesimple. You arrange for hard drive space on a server not in the USA. Then you upload all your sensitivefiles to that server. Encrypt files first if you like. Then remove the files that you uploaded from your hard drive. Make sure you get a file erasure program that overwrites the files with a series of X’s andO’s seven times. This will make the data unrecoverable. Just deleting the files will not make itunrecoverable. You will have to upload the files and then download them later but you get to keep your data private.Make sure you delete all browser history. If you really want to be secure upload your files and thenreformat your hard drive about seven times. This will sanitize your computer quite well. Then reinstallthe operating system from the discs and the software gets reinstalled as well. This will really keep yousecure. For your bookmarks, which are something they will look at, use a service that lets you share bookmarks. Load them up, erase them and then reinstall when threat is past. Best way to erase bookmarks is to uninstall and then reinstall the web browser the bookmarks were in. Do have a program that overwrites your free hard drive space and run it at least seven times. This is mandatory for privacy.Good idea to load up some innocuous data into the computer and meaningless bookmarks like togoogle, yahoo, cnet etc. Remember they are charging people who have traces of copyright material ontheir computers like movies and music that can be construed to be copyright violating. Books and files