A federal judge today upheld a President Barack Obama administration policy allowing authorities along the U.S. border to seize and search laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices for any reason.
The decision (.pdf) by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in New York comes as laptops, and now smartphones, have become virtual extensions of ourselves, housing everything from email to instant-message chats to our papers and effects.
The American Civil Liberties Union brought the challenge nearly three years ago, claiming U.S. border officials should have reasonable suspicion to search gadgets along the border because of the data they store. But Judge Korman said the so-called “border exemption,” in which people can be searched for no reason at all along the border, continues to apply in the digital age.
Alarmingly, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.
That the suit was brought on behalf of an American Muslim traveling from Canada by rail to his parents’ home in New York State, matters not. He's still an American and if it can be done to him, it can be done to the rest of us.
An illegal cavity search is more honest, if less subtle, and this is merely the flip side of that coin. Think I’m…ahem…stretching an analogy? Read the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution again:
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.It seems that all levels of government have taken the First Rule of Holes and
Any physical or electronic orifice you own belongs to us and we will keep digging in it/them until we find something or until we get tired. Now spread ‘em!This will not end well. Happy 2014!
(Thanks to Instapundit)