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US Agents can seize laptops/devices

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venom77

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Post Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:12 pm

US Agents can seize laptops/devices

oOoOoOo...

If this isn't a good reason to start encrypting stuff, I don't know what is...

US agents can seize travelers' laptops

U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods


BillV
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Kev

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Post Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:52 pm

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

I guess the more rights they take away the more secure we are? I cant help but to think of Benjamin Franklin when he said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."  Maybe its time to step back and think before we keep giving our freedoms away bit by bit.
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Post Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:00 am

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

BillV,

I'd read the article earlier (can't remember where I found the link) and I really don't like this development. From what I've read and understand the change (or confirmation) seems very broad and fairly open to abuse.

I'm travelling to the states later this year, as a result of this I am no considering both leaving my laptop at home but also having a fairly long and boring flight as I leave both iPod and handlheld consoles either home or in my luggage in the hold.

Personally I can't see how this is going to improve safety. Surely any 'terrorist' (seems to describe everyone at the moment...) is not going to walk through customs with a laptop full of call-signs and building schematics? Or anyone that does probably doesn't have the intelligence to do any real damage anyway (like the muppets that succeeded in setting themselvs alight whilst trying to attack Glasgow (Scotland, UK) airport a while back.... (Wikipedia article)

I'd agree with Kev, those that don't complain about these developments deserve everything they get from an Orwellian (or worse) government, unfortunately we seem to be sleep-walking into 1984.
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venom77

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Post Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:32 am

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

Yes, truly unfortunate. Luckily, I myself don't do much border crossing so it's not something that will have a direct effect on me personally.

However, I will more than likely be purchasing a new drive for my laptop soon and making use of the new hidden operating system feature of TrueCrypt ;)
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:29 am

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

BillV wrote:However, I will more than likely be purchasing a new drive for my laptop soon and making use of the new hidden operating system feature of TrueCrypt ;)


I agree, and have similar setups as standard.

In similar discussions others have suggested taking a blank install and collecting all data via a VPN once passed the border. Whilst this and similar precautions can help protect data, it doesn't do much good if you're hardware gets seized for an 'unspecified time period'.

Unfortunately I don't currently get paid enough to buy a new machine every time I cross the border ;)

As a result I am now seriously considering leave my machine at home for my upcoming tour of the States, glad to see we are beating the terrorists...
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dalepearson

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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:38 pm

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

BillV wrote:
However, I will more than likely be purchasing a new drive for my laptop soon and making use of the new hidden operating system feature of TrueCrypt ;)


For information, I cant remember where I read it, but this new feature of truecrypt of hiding an OS is apparently flawed, so something to possibly be mindful of.

Its a good job we are inocent until proven guilty isnt it :D
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sgt_mjc

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Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:15 pm

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

Here is my take on the whole thing. I have nothing to hide an will cooperate as much as reasonably can be expected. I do not think that seizing a laptop is going to make us any safer. I think like you pointed out role, that travel is going to become even more tedious than it already is in the name of security. Will I still travel with my laptop? Yes. Will I argue with customs and border patrol? Yes. Will it really do any good? No.

that takes me to my next favorite travel topic. Air travel. Has any one else noticed the lack of service or is it just me? Have the friendly skies stopped being friendly all in the name of security? Do any of us really feel safer flying today than we did pre-Sept 11? I know that I don't. Oh, well, enough of my rant. Thanks guys.
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venom77

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Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:13 pm

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

sgt_mjc wrote:that takes me to my next favorite travel topic. Air travel. Has any one else noticed the lack of service or is it just me? Have the friendly skies stopped being friendly all in the name of security? Do any of us really feel safer flying today than we did pre-Sept 11? I know that I don't. Oh, well, enough of my rant. Thanks guys.


Haha, yeah.. no one working for the airlines seems to be happy. And on top of that, they charge you for everything! And now with the new luggage fees and wanting you to pay more depending on your weight?!? Ridiculous. (though I do see where they're coming from on that last one).

I have never been one to like flying though. Despite understanding the physics of it and all, I still don't feel safe on a bus+ sized thing floating through the air. It just creeps me out :)
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Post Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:25 am

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

BillV wrote:Despite understanding the physics of it and all, I still don't feel safe on a bus+ sized thing floating through the air. It just creeps me out :)


Agreed, there seems to be a difference between 'scientifically provable' and 'logical' when it comes to the mechanics of flight. I've been fortunate to fly several small planes in my time and am always scared by how simple and basic the whole process is.

Back to the main point of the topic I'm hoping that the announcement of seizures being legal is going to be little more than red-tape. With most customs/borders agents either: not knowing they can, not caring enough to have the argument or have enough common sense to know better. With luck this may just blow over with a bit backlash and security theatre, leaving the process of flying/passing customs more or less as is.
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RobMongoose

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Post Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:35 am

Re: US Agents can seize laptops/devices

It's just yet another pointless 'security measure' for people to suffer through.  It's bad enough having to take half your clothes off (ok, I'm exaggerating, but taking your shoes, belt, glasses, etc. off when already juggling hand luggage is a pain) and pull your hand luggage to pieces, but now you have the worry of this sort of thing happening when you reach the other end. I've not seen a single one of these security measures do anything but annoy people. They're not going to stop a clever and determined terrorist doing what they want.

We have politicians making speeches about not letting "the threat of terrorism" interfere with our lives, then they go and pass measures like these... Mad.
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