back to article US customs: Yes, we can seize your laptop, iPod

The Department of Homeland Security has outlined what we've all known for some time - that border agents are allowed to snoop through files on your computer, mobile phone or any other digital device. Officials can keep documents or computers, take them to an off-site location, copy the contents and share the data with other …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I love how the free world keeps setting such a wonderful example for everyone else.

    And you people are all so busy bitching about the Chinese barring net access to some whining journos.

  2. Stefan

    Who will be the first

    Legal firm to suggest to their clients that their next laptop purchase is made by the firm. Firm 'loans' laptop to client on a permanent basis. Client then claims to customs "this is my attorney/solicitor's laptop", thereby preventing a search.

    I may trademark this ;)

  3. George Johnson

    War on terror? My arse!

    Big round applause for the DHS and government, you finally got what you wanted! I always wanted to take my kids to Disneyland and visit me relies in Florida, but that has now gone out the window.

    "Sorry kids, I'm afraid it's EuroDisney for you lot, if you want to make friends with Mickey and Minnie! Why? 'Cos a group of nasty people in America seem to consider that we are all naughty and want to punish us, even though we have done nothing wrong."

    The only reason I will set foot in the US now is when Gordo finally gives up on this country and sells the whole shooting match to his bestest mate Dubya for a knock-down price, and it's finally renamed "GB - The 51st State!"

  4. John Browne

    business travellers...

    ...will need to have their company attorneys on speed dial. Although they'll probabaly seize the phone first to stop you from calling in the A-Team.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    an hero

    just don't take my ipod!

  6. dervheid


    don't go to, or through, the US.

    Mind you, there's little doubt that the NuLaborians are currently working up a UK version of this.

    The US now has a new national anthem;


  7. Andy

    If I read this correctly...

    ...I can put my laptop in a giant envelope with a stamp, and they can't search it?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But remember

    if you go to China, make sure you don't take anything of importance, because THEY will SPY on you. Damn those pesky Commies, how dare they...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: business travellers...

    ...will stop carrying data on laptops. Download it when you get there.

  10. Greg

    @Who will be the first

    Aaah, but then if it's not *your* laptop, then it's obviously a BOMB! QUICK, CONTROLLED EXPLOSION!

  11. Patrick Boyd


    Am i the only one - can you not just stick your laptop in a "sealed letter class mail " envelope...?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: War on terror? My arse!

    " I always wanted to take my kids to Disneyland and visit me relies in Florida, but that has now gone out the window."

    Well, you would need to do two trips, Disneyland isn't in Florida.

  13. Darren Bell
    Thumb Up


    Before you get to the airport, put you hard drive in a pre-franked Jiffy bag.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Copy data to pendrive, backup, ghost OS and pre-mail yourself the drive.

    It's all nonsense of course, but that's what happens what you let media corporations run a country.

    The US is actually a nice place though, you just have to mentally blank out the whole customs/immigration thing.

  15. philip jeffery

    Encrypted Hard Drives

    What happens if your laptop is encrypted? or even if there is a password to login?

    Do I legally have to give them the passwords? or can I sit back and wait whilst they try and crack the encryption?

  16. Max

    Here's an idea

    Everyone should *request* their lappy/ipod be searched. Thats right. If every single traveler formally requested a search, it would screw up the system big time. They have no way to account for that volume and it would cause total chaos in customs.

    @Andy, the way I read it is that they cant search mail being sent officially through the border by a federal carrier service (I.E. royal mail or US post office). Carrying it through yourself doesnt protect you. That being said, just put all your stuff you dont want pilfered through on a DVD and first class it to wherever you will be staying in the US.

  17. Max
    Black Helicopters

    And another thing!

    The last bit in the pdf document states:

    "F. No Private Right Created

    This document is an internal policy statement of CBP and does not create any rights,

    privileges, or benefits for any person or party."

    That means that if anything they do in their 'policy' is unconstitutional it can be challenged in court.

  18. Darren Sandford


    "I love how the free world keeps setting such a wonderful example for everyone else.

    And you people are all so busy bitching about the Chinese barring net access to some whining journos."

    ...or bring in tanks to kill their own students, right?


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Could it be a coincidence that my company recently rolled out 256-bit full-HDD encryption?

    Interestingly nowhere on that document does it state that they can require an individual to hand over their encryption keys. Good luck to any customs official trying to swipe data and break the key - methinks the company would rather put any unfortunate employee right back on a return flight..

  20. John Tuffen
    Jobs Halo


    "...I can put my laptop in a giant envelope with a stamp, and they can't search it?"

    Hmmm, I wonder if Apple knew about this before the Macbook Air was released? I mean - it's even in the advert!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    This is probably the one time

    that I can't wait for someone to file a lawsuit......

  22. Jason Togneri

    @AC re: War on terror? My arse!

    Uh, I suspect that "relies" should be pronounced "rellies" and is intended to be a corruption of "relatives". So the poster is obviously wanting to go to the USA (one trip) to accomplish two goals: a) visit Disneyland, in California; and b) visit his relatives, in Florida.

    As far as sensitive data on laptops is concerned: don't keep it locally. SSH? VPNs? Are you seriously telling me you can't take a secured laptop and find a cheap, high-speed internet connection, and get all your data over an encrypted remote session? I understand some of these business users may want to work during the long trip over - TrueCrypt? 256-bit AES-encrypted folders hidden invisibly within other 256-bit AES-encrypted folders? Come on now.

  23. thomasthetanker
    Paris Hilton

    Fanboi alert

    Suddenly the mac Air book in an envelope ad seems prophetic

    - Paris because she can empty my bag anytime

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    from the pdf referenced:

    "Translation and Decryption. Officers may encounter information in

    documents or electronic devices that is in a foreign language and/or

    encrypted. To assist CBP in determining the meaning of such

    information, CBP may seek translation and/or decryption assistance from

    other Federal agencies or entities. Officers may seek such assistance

    absent individualized suspicion. Requests for translation and decryption

    assistance shall be documented."

    Doesn't say you have to provide decryption keys, so if the entire HDD is encrypted they either have to copy it and try and decrypt it themselves or send your laptop off to be decrypted.

    "Officers may detain documents and electronic

    devices, or copies thereof, for a reasonable period of time to perform a thorough

    border search."

    No idea what a reasonable period of time might be? At any rate, with sufficiently strong encryption (and nothing of importance on it) it would quickly become a huge pain in the arse to deal with. Encrypt every cheap flash drive you have in your bag with the strongest system you can find and tie them up with red tape (documenting their requests for encryption) :)

    Of course they could decide to take your computer anyway :(

    "Original documents and devices should only be transmitted when

    necessary to render the requested assistance."

    Is this the US government way of forcing people into "cloud" computing?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    ...but, but, but....

    ...surely the terrorists won't carry laptops,but will just email the stuff to themselves and pick it up once they're across the border. So what, may I ask, is the point?!?

    Liking the franked mail idea though. :)

  26. Anonymous Coward

    The USA is a foreign country

    Surely the only reason people are exercised about this is that they have forgotten that the USA is a foreign country. They are different from us. Hostile, to a degree. They will spy on us and would keep us out if they could. Once we remember this and behave accordingly, it's not so bad.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The answer is...

    ...pretty obvious!

    Set your laptop up with the bare minimum you need (applications and no data), and access it all remotely once you get there.

  28. David Ralston

    Or better yet..

    Put it in a box with your address on and a postage stamp.

  29. Keith Glass

    Once upon a time, I worked for DHS

    . . .and the amazing thing is that some of these people can even breathe. The level of sheer and utter stupidity I saw, working at TSA, was breath-taking.

    And Rules ?? Rules are for the Little People (. . .and contractors. . .)

  30. Maty

    oh, good one Sir!

    "I love how the free world keeps setting such a wonderful example for everyone else."

    Free world? Very funny mate. Some time in the 1980s perhaps. In 2008 I'd choose another expression for places where you get on the national DNA database for dropping litter, and my local town councillor can order up surveillance on whomever he suspects of letting their dog poop on his lawn.

  31. Chris Richards

    @Here's an idea

    My tip - do whatever the border patrol police say!!

    They're scary scary people who full body x-rayed purely because I took a while taking my belt off (it's too wide for the loops so gets stuck). Think they're the only people in America who don't say 'have a nice day'.

  32. Victor Meldrew

    Land of the free ???

    Makes you wonder if 'The land of the free' actually exists anymore... so much for civil liberties and privacy.

    Just another reason to avoid the US.

  33. Nigel Birch

    @ Darren

    Kent State?


    Not condoning, just musing

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Darren Sandford

    And that has what to do with net access?

  35. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Nothing to worry about ....

    And what if you have one of those diplomatic passport thingies? Or are they easily cloned and useless too or just no good either even if they are genuine.

    And what is to stop a malcontent putting anything onto a device, whenever it is away at the Doctor's. Bugger all, I suppose.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Laptops across borders...

    My company (or to be specific, the company that employs me, and who for reasons of myself not getting a talking to shall remain nameless) has already briefed us on the new rules on this and set out guidelines for what kind of data we are allowed to bring with us physically when we travel.

    Unsurprisingly anything that can be of any value at all now resides on a network location that we have to establish a secure connection to every time we wish to access it.

    Thank god terrorists arn't that smart eh?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @philip jeffery

    You forget the way these arses work. First they copy off the entire contents of your harddrive. then they wipe the harddrive. then they return the machine to you. so much for your encryption.

  38. David
    Paris Hilton

    re: re: War on terror? My arse!

    " " I always wanted to take my kids to Disneyland and visit me relies in Florida, but that has now gone out the window."

    Well, you would need to do two trips, Disneyland isn't in Florida."

    he didnt say it was.

  39. Simon

    remember when...

    Americans used to make fun of "Papers please" and all those jokes about communist border guards?


  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Data on laptops

    I certainly hope that any business traveler with sense will follow the guidance that only critical data for your current needs should be stored on laptops, all other data must be stored on company network storage ONLY. I know of many companies who have this policy. Plus, most offfer dialup or VPN or both to get to that data.

    I know I would only be allowed to have documents I need for the flight on my laptop. I think driving will now be approved as the prefered method of interstate travel.

  41. bluesxman

    read between the lines

    Quote: "copy the contents and share the data with other agencies"

    I smell a secret governmental pr0n ring just waiting to be busted wide open!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ...And what are you going to do about it....

    Don't go there in the first place... Works for me.

    Besides the war on terror has already won... By the terrorists.

    This is just political manhandling.

  43. Jamie Kephalas

    @Andy & @Patrick Boyd

    read again. not if the envelope is in your possesion. It only counts whilst the mail is in transit with a mail carrier (not courier).

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Darren Sandford

    Nah, the West just let other students kill students.

    What's that? V-Tech just kicked in Yoohh!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US Business

    I've stopped taking work that requires me to go to the US and I've cut back my flying significantly. I cannot stand being treated like a criminal going through the airport by people who seem to have forgotten they're actually supposed to be there providing us with a service. More than a few of them act like they're doing you a very grudged favour by letting you fly.

    Do they honestly expect a terrorist to be carrying a laptop with a document on the desktop entitled "Plans to blow up the United States"? What REALLY are the objectives behind allowing these numpties this sort of power? I suppose the least paranoid explanation is it allows them to say to the right wing press that they're "doing something" about terrorism.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Anonymous Coward - Simpler

    Of course if you tell them your computer is in your head, then mentally blanking out customs / immigration could turn out to be all part of the border service - and even better - its FREE

    Paris, 'cos she doesn't need to have her brain blanked out

  47. Lukin Brewer

    "all reasonable measures to protect that information"


    Officers who find business or commercial information "shall take all reasonable measures to protect that information from unauthorized disclosure".


    So don't take your confidential/corporate information to or through the US. If they don't use it to brief your US competitors, it'll just get left on a train.

  48. dervheid

    So, you're going to send a Macbook Air...

    by Royal Mail / US Postal service between the UK and the US.

    In an envelope.

    And I suppose you expect to be able to use this laptop upon receipt!


    Gotta admire your optimism / large bank balance / fondness for jigsaw puzzles.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    just take the damn kids to disneyWORLD

    "I always wanted to take my kids to Disneyland and visit me relies in Florida, but that has now gone out the window."

    so, just because the border cops *may* search your laptop your not gonna take your kids on a holiday to Florida ? that's the most lame excuse i have heard yet for not taking the kids on holiday, at least blame the credit crunch...... forget euro Disney anyway, for what it costs, its not much more to go to Florida...

    ether leave the laptop at home while you went on holiday, or remove data you don't want anyone else to see...

    the whole issue is pathetic, if they want to search your laptop, let them. I can see it may be a issue for a business traveler, but if it is going to be a issue for anyone seeing the data, don't keep it on the computer..... download it when you get your destination !!!

    mines the one with the purple gloves hanging out the pockets

  50. Dave

    Random Data?

    So if you have a hidden directory with a load of files full of random data on your drive then that ought to keep them busy for a while.

    As for Disney, the Land is in California, the World is in Florida.

  51. This post has been deleted by its author

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Disneyland Florida

    Sorry to all those people trying to be smart. There are two disneylands in the US, one in california and one in florida. So George Johnson would have been able to take his kids there if he wanted. Mines the one with "Disneyland Florida" on the back.

  53. Chris iverson
    Black Helicopters

    I am ashamed

    of how ridiculous this is getting. Knowing this gov't. please everyone request that their equipment be searched. laptops, ipods, zunes, the works. They will have no idea what to do with it. Infact if you have free HD space. zip or rar up your trash and make copies until your drive is full encrypt it, put the key on a post it note on the bottom of the drive it will be madness.

    Then use a live CD and VPN back to your office to get work done.

    Where the fuck is my moon base, this ride sucks and I want to get off

  54. paulc
    Black Helicopters

    Johnny Mnemonic

    and people thought the plot was ridiculous... the very idea of a data courier carrying confidential data across borders encrypted on a data-drive linked into his brain... I can see there being a stimulus for developing this sort of device for getting commercially confidential data through US customs... because downloading it via ftp or whatever when you get there will mean it gets intercepted and sent to be decrypted.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    4th amendment rights

    don't apply to non US citizens so you can bleat and quote them 'til yer blue in the face and it will have zero, nil, nada effect. I often tell my friends that in the US you are subject to at least 9 levels of policing all of whom can arrest you, whereas in the UK I think the only people who can actually arrest you are the police.

    Paris cos she knows what its like to be arrested, and to have her private video raided.


  56. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    "Disneyland Florida"


    That'd be "Disneyworld Florida"

    Your jacket must be a knock-off.

  57. Julian Bond

    Package fly-drive

    So where's the package deal where I fly to Canada, get a train or rental car across the border and then take internal flights in the USA? Or is that just as bad?

  58. Steve

    What are the odds..

    ..that the shaven gorilla going through your laptop is going to think about checking your wallet for an SD card?

    What exactly are they looking for anyway? Unless they are expecting to find "Secret_WMD_plans.doc" sitting on the desktop, how are they going to have time to search through all those massive harddrives getting packed into laptops nowadays?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Do you folks believe? secure connections to remote servers and encryption? Really? Do you connect to them via your own satellite and satellite-phone, or how do you do it? I would much rather trust in a hidden micro SD than in anything that has to pass a wire on its way. Fill your lappy with heavily encrypted bullshit data anyway, they can have their fun with that.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    It's very very very simple


    Don't go.

    Do business with somewhere more enlightened.

  61. Sillyfellow

    the real point is:

    that YOU are a threat to the establishment, if you can think for yourself, don't work for 'the authorities', and won't bend over and let anyone do what they want to you.

    also, because we havn't gotten as terrified by all this BOGUS 'terror' stuff as we are supposed to be, this is a way of trying to keep us all scared so we are easier to control and manipulate.

    well, i will NEVER be going over to the ol US of A. not because i am anyones 'enemy' at all, but just because i refuse to be bullied and pushed around this way.

  62. David Perry

    How about..

    ..multiple layers of encryption? or something that auto-expires so you need some kind of physical device (which the makeup of cant be determined) to reset the enc/de-cryption keys of? :)

    Flame at paranoid souls (whose x-rays couldnt tell difference between a glass ornament we brought back and a solid clubbing object)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The information they're looking for

    You people just don't seem to get it. They're not interested in your confidential company documents. These documents are usually so full of industry specific lingo and acronyms they'd never have a hope of translating them. They're not interested in so called "terrorists" with secret plans. If one of those came along they'd be as surprised as we would be.

    No, this is about viral analysis of dissenters. They want your cookies, your web browsing history, your application logs, and your configuration files. They [the neo-cons or whatever you'd like to call them] want the ability to prevent organized resistence against their capricous whims. Do you go to web sites which question the validity of the war on terror? Have you ever traveled to/from the country of origination/destination before? Are these two things interrelated? If your identity is cross-referenced with your communication tree and if you've communicated with a known "truther" in the past, then is this trip the pretext for some manifestation of dissent?

    Ask yourself this question: if I decided tomorrow that the powers that be are utterly corrupt and evil, what organized resistence could I make? I'm afraid the answer is none. They'll know and they'll know nearly immediately. You cannot even send courriers [get it now?] to send messages.

    Aha, you say, I'll just delete all that before I go anywhere! Haha! Well, that gets noticed too. That's probably fairly revealing information. You've got something to hide.

  64. Tony

    Tempted to do a Madonna

    Can you imagine an iPod with 2 days worth of tracks with someone screaming "You b******s; leave my files alone"

    I can imagine some low level clerk being tasked to listen to the whole thing, then having to go through it again at high and low speeds (backwards even) to check to see if there are any hidden messages.

    Gives me a warm glow just thinking about it.

  65. Matt Hawkins

    Just ...

    Encrypt your data using Truecrypt but bury the datafile in a windows system folder and call it xyz.temp or similar.

    When they try spying on you they will stand no chance of even noticing it.

    Alternatively just stop travelling to the US and go somewhere more liberal. Like Burma.

  66. archie lukas

    I've only got one thing to say on that subject


    The paranoid bastards.


  67. Pierre

    That's it - I quit.

    I'm not going there again. I own a few 8GB SD cards and stuff, and my pr0n is on a hidden, 256-bits encrypted, hidden filesystem already, but that does it. My longer-than average hair and casual dressing habits already qualify me for a "random" extensive check every time I go to the US (sometimes *two* extensive searches -I kid you not), each time making it difficult for me to catch my plane, what if the US monkeys want to have a look at my triple-boot laptop and the 2 external drives that go with it? Methink I'll have to get to the airport one week in advance (just to think I could have to explain *why* it is triple-boot -and what it means- to a non-techie USian. Yuck.).

    Now there is a problem, as the handbrake works in DC. Heck, she'll just have to find a job in a civilized country.

    Now I foresee a solution... GRUB waiting time set to 0, default boot to Vista (it came with it and I didn't remove it), I bet no US custom person (whatever the seniority) will even imagine that there's something else on the laptop. Oh, wait. Given Vista's boot time, I'll still miss my plane. Forget it.

  68. Equivalency Dalek
    Black Helicopters

    They're not interested in your data

    They are not interested in your data -- they are really not. These are arbitrary rules, purely constructive. You can carry any data you like, as long as you acknowledge that they have the right to look at it. If you make it hard for them to look at your data by encrypting it or hiding it, you are not acknowledging their authority, and they will make your life tedious. It's all about containment.

    Remember, they are not there to stop terrorists. They are there to :

    1. Show you who's boss.

    2. Stop an exodus from the city or state should something bad happen.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "...Can you imagine an iPod with 2 days worth of tracks with someone screaming "You b******s; leave my files alone"..."

    alternately, just fill your ipod with several thousand copies of "fuck the USA" by 'the exploited'.

    or even better just don't visit the USA. OK there might be some nice scenery, but that's slightly outweighed by the fact it's a militaristic fascist shithole - where if the police don't beat you up and shoot you, the local twelve year olds will. why the hell anyone would want to go there in the first place beats me!

    do you do it just to make nu-lab-britain seem slightly less shitty by comparison?

  70. Bill Cumming

    I wonder if...

    a UK traveller with his encrypted laptop gets his laptop taken. He refuses to give his password and sent back home.

    The US tell the UK about your laptop and ask the Met to get the password for them..

    A few day's later the police knock at his door saying they want to have a chat about your laptop and it's password.

    If you refuse you get locked up for a few years and labelled a terrorist......

    Mine is the one with the padded insides and padded envelopes

  71. paul

    so stupid

    I love americans - they spend so much money on the 'apperance' of being safe. As many people have pointed out - what is the point of this when you have the internet? Just download any dodgy data when you get into the country.

    Hopefully if the UK govt pull this shit - we can stop them by telling them its to expensive. (they wont listen the the worthless argument).

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Encryption idea

    We've all heard that you can be "forced" to give up passwords and the like, regardless of whether you actually know them.

    I'm fairly sure something to this effect exists (hell, it's a piece of cake with any assymmetric key encryption), so why haven't we thought (or rather, why haven't I seen the suggestion yet) of putting the decryption key on a stick and _leave it at home_ or whatever? Mailing it forward would work as well, I suppose.

    Gah, the fact that circumventions like this have to be made disgusts me. Papers please, indeed.

    Icon because I'm not sure what it even represents but it looks like a helicopter.

  73. Cameron Colley

    RE: just take the damn kids to disneyWORLD

    Not sure if I speak for the guy you were replying to -- but this has made me decide to put the US on my "never going there" list (though I have been in the past). The reason? Do I carry lots of terrorist plans and company secrets around with me? No, at least not outside of my head, the reason is simple: I refuse to visit countries ruled by oppressive, unelected, governments. Just a shame I have to live in the People's Democratic, Free Republic of Great Britain.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tech, bad boys & creativity.

    Encode your encrypted data in some picture, print it on a t-shirt. Safe, as long as its not a piccy of Transformers or a Guns n' Roses tour shirt.

  75. Anonymous Coward

    Going to keep them busy...

    So I take my laptop in which has193,000 files in 50GB on it. How can they check that - and thats a tiny amount compared to my wife's laptop or most of my friends.

    So I hide my "plans to bomb Disneyworld" in a file with a executable extension and hide it in the windows folder or in a folder under the Program Files folder (and we all know how many apps when de-installed leave crap in there so there is no way of checking each of the files).

    Is that 15MB file called photoshopelements.exe really photoshop?

    Or what about those .dbf files - Oracle datafiles or terrorist documents? Or that zip file with a MySQL DB with Blobs in it. Innocent data or plots to give Congress a brain?

    What about that 4GB pagefile.sys file. Is it really a pagefile?

    I don't know which Peabrained moron in the US Government came up with this idea. I get the feeling that people in government just dont understand the modern world - look at this stupid UK Gov Idea that ALL internet videos should be reviewed BEFORE they are made available.

    All this crap will, as everyone with two brain cells to rub together will know, NOT stop terrorists. All it does is piss off the innocent people who are sick and fed up of being treated by their OWN government, and the government of supposedly "Friendly" nations, as criminals

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @They're not interested in your data

    Depends who you work for.

    Boeing have been prosecuted in europe for using echelon intercepted communications to win a contract over BAe.

    French security got caught so many times nicking stuff from the Paris Airshow that Americans don't go there anymore.

    If you worked for Airbus you wouldn't mind handing over a blackberry with all your emails to customers to secuity in Seattle? Or an oil company that competes with the Bush family in Houston?

    If you compete with a US company with military business you can assume your data will be handed over to them by the goverment. If you compete with a local company, it will be handed over by a bribed security guy.

  77. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    So , it is now back to the good old microdot behind the postage stamp trick yet again as it hide things in plain sight !

  78. RRRoamer

    Hell, I don't like flying WITHIN the US anymore

    I almost cried when they pushed through the whole DHS BS right after the attack. They had a problem with too much red tape and dumb ass public officials getting in the way of "the job" and their solution? Add ANOTHER layer of red tape and dumb ass public officials to the mess.

    Oh, and while we are at it, lets go ahead and ignore a few of those pesky Constitutional protections while everyone is scared and easily herded. No law abiding citizen has anything to hide, so let's go ahead and basically strip search everyone that wants to fly on public transportation. The 4th Amendment be damned!

    As Benjamin Franklin once said: "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."

    The Lord knows we didn't trade freedom for security. We simply discarded a significant portion of freedom for nothing. And many of the fools in the country cheered for it.

  79. Robert Armstrong
    Paris Hilton

    Bow down to your new Overlords

    Freedom is no longer an option. America is a cauldron of fear. I love my country and never thought we would roll over so easily. Osama Bin Laden and his ilk won the war, we play by his rules now.

    Paris because she knows to roll over with the best of them.

  80. Nigel
    Dead Vulture

    Jokes aside

    Jokes aside, it is no longer safe for any businessperson to take more or less any business laptop to the USA (or indeed, just about anywhere else outside the EU). EU law requires personal data to be protected. US law requires you to had it over. So unless you are certain that there is no personal data on your lap-top, you should not travel abroad with it.

    Of course, since these days only US citizens are protected by US law and anyone foreign can be arrested, held indefinitely without charge and even be tortured, you might prefer not to go there at all. To think it was once "the land of the free"!

    (That's a non-white vulture with the same name as a terrorist, in case you were wondering).

  81. YumDogfood

    Any spare BIOS FLASH going?

    Ways and means. The only inconvenience is to the ordinary traveler, or the really stupid baddy[1].

    [1] British education for you.

  82. Andy Bright

    Huh it's not just johnny furriner they're afeared of

    Tried my best not to rofl when the guy upstairs told me the TSA refused to let him board his plane with 2 deadly ham and swiss sandwiches. Next they'll be taking our bottles of water from us.. oh wait..

    Coincidence that airlines have started charging for meals and drinks? Riiiight, of course it is.

  83. Will
    Black Helicopters

    @ Pierre

    I'm sure it's something they don't grow tired of; last time I went to america I had long hair unlike now, I wore predominantly black and probably worst of all, I flew out of Belfast International Airport here in Northern Ireland - I was "randomly" selected for two different searches, during which they x-rayed literally everything I owned seperately, X-Rayed my shoes and the empty case and even had some goon from DHS pat down my hair (presumably incase I had stiletto knives hidden in its length). It's absurd and it's not getting any saner.

  84. Jay Giusti

    Much deeper

    The government's right to investigate at the border is not limited in any manner: it applies far beyond electronic devices (computers, storage). ANY repository of information--wallet, purse, briefcase, trouser pocket, conference notes and binder--can be held and investigated. (In fact, any object whatsoever. Without reasonable grounds for suspicion.) That has long been the policy for non-U.S. citizens crossing the border.

    The new development is that the policy has just recently been applied to U.S. citizens entering the country. In effect, the federal court approved the argument that the U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment rights of citizens against unreasonable searches and seizure applies only once the citizen has been allowed by border guards to come back into the country.

  85. Anonymous Coward

    Look, this isn't that big a deal.

    Just follow uncle Anonymous' 1-2-3 below:

    1: Upload any data you'll need while you're in the states to your website, in a password-protected directory. My hosting provider lets me do this; I'm sure yours does also.

    2: When you enter the U.S. don't bring any electronics with you. Only carry clothes. Once you've touched down and been waved through customs by the guard, who will now be utterly bored with you, proceed directly to Wal-Mart (or a local pawn shop) and pick up a cheap laptop and some single-use cameras. When you get to your hotel, download your data from your website using their complimentary network access. Enjoy your vacation or business trip as you would normally.

    3. When it's time to go home, upload your data to your website, format the laptop's hard drive, stick it in a Postal Service mailer, and mail it to your house. Take any photos you've shot, and stick them in a SEPARATE envelope (in case the laptop gets "lost") and mail THOSE back to your house in a regular envelope. Then go through customs with only your clothes, as you came in. On future trips, mail the laptop to your hotel in advance, and so on. It's cheap, so if it gets "lost" you won't be heartbroken.

    It's inconvenient, but it'll get you where you're going with a minimum of hassle. What's an extra 500 bucks paid one time, compared to the level of irritation you might otherwise be facing?

    Consider it "the cost of doing business"...

  86. Andre Thenot

    Re: the real point is

    Sillyfellow wrote:

    "also, because we havn't gotten as terrified by all this BOGUS 'terror' stuff as we are supposed to be, this is a way of trying to keep us all scared so we are easier to control and manipulate."

    So in other words, we are terrorized to prevent from being terrorized. Same difference. Except that from a statistical point of view, the cure is worse than the problem.

  87. rob

    how about this

    what about just taking a pox ridden virus infected Trojan packed Laptop with you so as soon as they download your encrypted data to thier Data base it becomes part of a botnet :-)

  88. Ash

    @Comments: Constitutions, Encryption, and other points.

    I am not an expert, but here's my (partly informed) opinion:

    Constitution: There is no US Constitution until you pass through Immigration. Pointing out you're on US soil means nothing, as it's classed as International Territory until you're through Immigration. Forget it.

    Encryption: The DHS want to make sure the data they have is accurate and complete, so they'll probably want to compare the copy with the original. The Border Guard won't care about encryption or not; He'll want to see if THIS word document is the same as THAT word document in the copy. If he can't read either, you don't get your laptop back until he can.

    Fly back home: Good plan. Trouble is, to get into Departures you need to get through Immigration TWICE. I don't think they'll have a special room just for you to be awkward without some very unhygenic investigative practices occuring.

    Either take a vanilla Vista installation with a couple of letters and family photos, or leave the whole thing at home and use a cyber cafe / hotel computers. If anyone paying attention figures out you purposefully circumvented "The System" i've a feeling that US Gov. reading your latest sales figures will be the VERY least of your worries.

  89. Zargof

    So what happens...

    ... when they boot up my laptop and Linux loads. Because they don't see the familiar Windows logo, am I immediately classed as a terrorist/hacker (pretty much synonyms these days anyway) and on the next plane to Gitmo?

  90. Anonymous Coward

    Solution: We are Hugh

    "Officials can keep documents or computers, take them to an off-site location, copy the contents and share the data with other agencies."

    Does anyone remember the Star Trek episode where the Enterprise crew saved some Borg and embedded a paradoxical file that once examined by 'The Collective' would cripple the Borg?

    If you don't, here's the link:

    Anyways, I recommend all US-bound travelers to do the same thing. Just don't wimp out like Picard, m'kay.

  91. Nir

    It's their friggin' country

    If they want to search everyone that enters its borders, it's their prerogative. Just don't go there if you don't like it.

  92. Iamfanboy

    I was in the United States Navy - and still got searched

    When I was in the Navy (and had ID to prove it, and had my travel bag filled with spare uniforms just in case) I STILL got pulled aside for 'random searches' every damned time I flew, even when I was on transfer orders and the Navy itself was paying for my damned tickets.

    If they're profiling, there's also an age component too - apparently 18-26 year olds are to be suspected of everything in the book.

    Kind of lends some credence to the above "The information they're looking for" post....

  93. Foo Bar
    Thumb Down

    Re: Going to keep them busy...

    Hiding the stuff you want hidden in some system file folder, thinking they can't find it there because the filename is innocent sounding?

    You (and everyone else who made that suggestion) seem to think that they will inspect all those files manually, apparently?

    Did it occur to you that they could use ... you know ... computers to do that? Scan through ALL files (computers are good at this kind of stuff), look for strings or encrypted content automatically, etc.

  94. IR


    Sounds like very few of you have tried entering the UK without going through the home citizen line. Immigration and customs officials are the same everywhere, the US is no different. There's something ironic about people who live in the UK saying they won't go to the US because it is a police state, especially on a website with regular articles about the latest "security" scheme.

    The easiest way to get through is to marry a US citizen - the whole family can now go through the fastest and least uptight queues when entering both the UK and US. Still have to wait ages for the luggage though.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Waste of time

    Americans are all tossers anyway. I could not care less about their stupid draconian laws. Anyone with a ounce of sense knows this will only impact the law adibing people, the terrorists are always one step ahead..

    Oh and leave afghanistan, you will never win, did you not learn from the russians or vietnam, oh sorry i forgot you "solved" the conflict in Northern Ireland, ha ha ha .....

  96. Anonymous Coward

    No way way never no more...

    Not going. Had it.

    I've had that feeling for a few years, since i was "lucky" enough to spend like 6 months over there. Messed up I tell you. And that's not just me.

    And they all just sit back and let it happen. I wonder if we, in the UK, would react any differently...I doubt it...When will ya'll waken up? Snap to it:)

  97. Tom


    I think you're incorrect on the constitution part of that. There was a case in the Supreme Court where a drug trafficker argued that the removal of his fuel tank (to find ~40kg of pot) was an non routine intrusive search, and as such cannot be carried out without reasonable cause (two lower courts agreed with him, and ordered the pot evidence to be suppressed).

    The supreme court actually agreed that it was an intrusive search, but that it could be carried out without reasonable cause because

    - its reasonable because it is a border

    - the reasons intrusive searches of the person can only be done with reasonable cause - 'dignity and privacy rights of the person concerned' - dont apply to a vehicle

    I expect you'd have a good case arguing that anything illegal found as a result of an intrusive search of your data would be an infringment of your privacy rights, especially if encrypted. I also expect that the Supreme Court would find some other way of denying you your 4th amendment rights, especially if you're seen doing a terrorist fist jab.. They want your data, and they're gonna get it.

    Besides that, surely copying of the data from your hard drive without probable cause is an unwarranted seizure - the sort of thing that is known to kick off a revolution in the colonies. I could see a court agreeing with this; a border search is a transient event, like getting a speeding ticket. You're seized for the duration of the border search, but after it is complete, you are released. I think you may have a reasonable argument that your goods and data should similarly be released.

  98. yeah, right.

    what I plan to do?

    Tell any company in the USA that wants my time to fuck off. I've done so before, and now I have yet another reason to do so again. If they want me to work for them, they'll deal with me outside the USA. No way in hell am I travelling to that increasingly fascist state that is proving yet again it has no respect for "due process".

  99. Mike

    Reasonable amount of time

    Presumably the "reasonable amount of time" that your laptop can be held and its contents shared with any of your competitors is roughly the same as the "limited time" that copyrights apply. That is, by SCOTUS interpretation, forever. ("Heckuva DOS, Brownie")

    Although I agree that they are probably fishing for dissidents (e.g. registered democrats and libertarians), and the industrial espionage is just a nice perk.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Looks like we have Western versions of the Taliban in the making.

    First, this is not a dig at the US. It's a complaint about the western response to terrorism.

    I have a brother who's a US citizen and has been living there for decades. I also have a nephew who is currently seeking citizenship. Both of them love it in the US. In a recent email, my nephew said how everyone was so polite.

    It just goes to show stereotyped citizens of a nation can become. I'll bet that the people of Ibiza have a pretty dim view of folk from the UK. has a page on Terrorism. Interestingly, it says there is no internationally agreed definition, they are acts intended to create fear in the name of an ideological cause. They deliberately target non-combatants. Warfare of this type is unconventional and psychological in nature.

    The psychological nature of terrorism is one aspect that interests me. When citizens are frightened, it gives a government an opportunity to introduce measures they would not normally get away with. It seems we get our freedoms eroded bit by bit. Peoples fears are used against them by the people in power, who want more power. Witches, anarchists, the first red scare, the cold war, McCarthyism, the IRA, bask separatists and al-quaeda. The list is truly endless. Each and every one inspires fear, real or imagined.

    Ask yourself this, when your next at an airport, with armed police carrying machine guns. Do you feel safer or do you feel more fearful?

    Your getting on a plane, there are some men who are talking to each other in Arabic. Are you more afraid to get on the plane? Does the destination matter?

    After the events of 9/11 and 7/7 lots of people interviewed said that they would not behave any differently because that would be letting the terrorists win. They were absolutely right. It's a crying shame that our governments feel they should inconvenience everyone, regardless of who they are.

    Take Mr. Jayakody for example, prevented from boarding a flight because he had a t-shirt with a cartoon character holding a gun. He was forced to change before he could board. This is the levels at which we stoop in the name of security. Did the official think he could somehow intimidate or terrorise the other people on board the plane with a t-shirt?

    This not about a war on terror, it's about inducing terror in your own citizens so (in the UK), local councils can invoke anti-terrorism laws to have you watched for any reason they want and are able to gain entry to your house under the pretence of 'checking what energy rating your fridge has' or 'checking your house plants for insects'. For you non UK citizens, I'm not making this up, these laws have been passed.

    The worse thing about this kind of stuff is, WE pay for it in taxes and WE pay for it with our freedom.

    I'm off to breath some air now, as I think that's about the only thing left I can do in peace, without some jumped up arsehole with a clipboard telling me otherwise.

  101. NoCo37

    @how about this


  102. Martin Usher
    Black Helicopters

    ..while we're talking Chinese tanks....

    ...since more than one poster has mentioned them I'll see you and raise you and raise you some gunships....

    "As darkness fell, soldiers, tanks, and police secretly surrounded the crowd. At a preset signal, helicopters, undercover agents in the crowd, two columns of soldiers advancing in a pincer movement, and tanks opened fire. Over 300 people were murdered and thousands wounded and jailed on that October 2 evening..."

    (Mexico City, 1968)

    The thing that's annoying about the CBP's attitude to search and seizure is that they maintain that nothing they do is protected by the Constitution since it all happens -- technically -- outside US borders. They're probably trampling on the Constitution but it will take some very deep pockets to sort it out.

  103. Homard

    What would they say ?

    All the people who fought and died for freedom, only to see it taken away by governments in the interests of protecting the polulation ?

    For fucks sake if I have to live with this bullshit drop a fucking bomb on me and have done with it. I am sick of all this fuckwitted security crap when travelling. I am *NOT* a fucking criminal, yet I am treated as such. This is worse than prison - anything I say, own, posess or do can get me locked up.

    The terrorists have won already. We have already lost.

    Fucking stupid bastard government wake up !

    Brown, be a good retard and fuck off back to the asylum. Bush you're already in one !

  104. Julian Garrett

    And when it doesn't sell, for the same reasons as last time

    They will drop their prices. Shit, I thought Apple put SOME value on what customers thought, obviously not.

    If this is the way operators are going to treat their customers, this iPhone will flop just like the last one did (outside of America). Purses are being tightened and people know what extortion is when they see it.

    I was going to buy one but I am off to get an N95 instead... better phone too.

  105. Anonymous Coward


    Everyone insists on blaming the current administration for the pain of becoming a police state, but the fact of the matter is that these are all bipartisan efforts that are making you safer. For your own good. Trust us.

  106. Vendicar Decarian

    Monkeywrench the Fascist AmeriKKKan state

    "so, just because the border cops *may* search your laptop your not gonna take your kids on a holiday to Florida ? that's the most lame excuse i have heard yet for not taking the kids on holiday, at least blame the credit crunch...... forget euro Disney anyway, for what it costs, its not much more to go to Florida..."

    And provide some financial support for the Fascist State of AmeriKKKa?

    I don't think so.

  107. Anonymous Coward

    Barking up the wrong tree

    Encrypted hard drives: It's my understanding that you can be held (indefinitely) until you give up your password. So no help there. I've heard of people encrypting their actual data on an unmounted partition and keeping a "dummy" OS on the active partition, but a good forensics expert would find a partition containing what could be encrypted data, and then you're back to the "held indefinitely" part.

    However, there is a practical workaround that works almost anywhere. Find a Taco Bell or coffee shop with wifi, upload encrypted data to a server somewhere on the Internet, erase from your laptop (*really* erase, not just "empty recycle bin") cross border, download data on the other side. Leave a few Page 3 images lying about so you don't seem too squeaky-clean.

    Alternately, leave encrypted data on server, work with it only through internet connection. Then the only challenge is to clean temporary files off the local computer before going over the border.

    If you're really serious, upload data to server, discard laptop, cross border, purchase laptop on other side, download data.

    With practically any system on the Internet available on both sides of most borders, it's kind of naive to assume that anyone really serious about privacy would carry the goods across the border on their own laptop or PDA. That might be cool in spy/action flicks but it's not necessary in real life.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cry a river for me

    Yes, it's awful isn't that we have a country so obsessed with watching everyone that it's capital is the most heavily surveilled city in the world. A country where you can be detained without a warrant for weeks until they decide to let you go. A country where simply carrying a camera can make you seen as a terrorist. Where you can go to jail if you don't give up your passwords when they want them.

    Wait a minutes.....that's England we're talking about, not the USA.

    The US is a fascist neo-con paranoid state, eh? Pot.....kettle..........

  109. Charles Smith

    Good luck to them

    Well if the US authorities can get information out of my bad tempered laptop they are welcome to it. The beastly thing is forever locking up and losing documents just before I'm about to save the work.

    With a bit of luck they will seize it and I will get a replacement with a CPU somewhat faster than a Z80.

    ps - don't tell my laptop that I sent this message

  110. Joe Blogs

    Be a spanner

    So before you leave, you load up your HDD with all sorts of disgusting (but legal!) pr0n, rename all the files to suspect names like 'Plan A - Whitehouse.jpg', 'Plan B - New Yolk.jpg', etc.

    A nice goatse background and flying vagina mouse cursors for the desktop and use some stegno s/ware to hide the text string "I hope you've enjoyed wasting tax payers dollars!" in every single image. Set the background image to a closeup of goatse and the mouse cursors various flying penis.

    Look very nervous as you approach the gates, then kick back and get a good laugh as they waste hours upon hours going through your laptop.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data dellenda sunt

    "If there is no probable cause to keep the information after this it must be destroyed."

    The data, or the laptop?

  112. Edward Lilley

    RE:Cry a river for me

    Well, SOMEONE hasn't been reading the comments properly: at least half of them are lamenting the fact that the UK is going the same way as this. Talk about commenters with pre-conceived agendas...

  113. Sceptical Bastard

    The solution is simple

    Don't visit the Evil Empire.

    Americans as individuals (well, the couple of dozen I know personally) are great people. But they live under a vicious government with a political system based on wealth and corruption. Bush and Cheney have, almost singlehandly, destroyed American's reputation in the world outside their borders.

    Anti-American feeling is very strong in Europe. That is wrong when it comes to the American people (as opposed to the USA's national government, trade policy and foreign policy). We should judge individuals on their merits.

    But we should Boycott the USA.

  114. jason

    Democracy and freedom costs jobs dammit!

    Yes they are badddd, since all these new regulations came into force they have created thousands and thousands of jobs for the mentally retarded and easily led.

    Its a wonderful world, freedom just keeps folks poor. Ahem.

    As mentioned earlier they are just after industrial secrets. As they are now waking up to the fact their US lifestyle is about to crash around them they need all the info possible on how the rest of the world lives in this new fangled 21st century. They could just ask but that would be too humiliating.

  115. ShaggyDoggy

    Delete my iPod

    If they delete my iPod files I want my money back from Apple.

    because remember those downloads cost a lot more in the UK.

    Also they are not allowed to copy them off otherwise I'm reporting

    them to the RIAA as music pirates.

    And how can you have "revealing information" and "something to hide"

    at the same time. Oh wait ...

  116. Michael Nielsen

    The end of the free world is neigh

    Defeating this kind of laws and rules is not hard, however, the West cannot claim to be the "Free World" anymore, as we have left the free bit behind, a very long time ago, Neither USA, England, or other European country can claim to be a truly free society, if the word free relates to freedom, privacy rights, and civil rights. Big brother is watching your every move, and they are slowly conning the population in to giving up more and more privacy rights, and freedoms, in the name of combating Terror.

    Historically, this means that a significant war is neigh, because to obtain the freedoms, that have been given up, a bloody war is historically necessary.

    If you want to hide something, hide it literally in plain sight, use a pseudoramdom sequence and XOR, with a layer of encryption, then encode the data into some pornographic images, and share via P2P, now no one knows who the recipient is, amongst the millions of downloaders, nor do they know that there is a message, and proving that the sharer knew what was in the image is also hard.

  117. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    @Julian Garrett

    That's a pretty good comment...


  118. Anonymous Coward

    The big problem...

    Maybe instead of letting them do a search some terrorists might decide to oh I don't know... hijack the plane before hand and crash it?

    Well done America, you did a great job of stopping that one. Give yourself a pat on the back.

    Flame? Because that's what you get when you crash a plane into a building. Flames. Lots and lots of flames. No doubt I'll be due some too if a yank reads this.

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ Darren Sandford

    No, the US didn't use tanks.

    There are some doubts about the real drivers behind the use of some planes to kick-start central NY real estate development at the cost of an awful lot of lives, however. Note that said event has been the overarching excuse for an awful lot of questionable activities from invading a country that had little to do with the event (but just happened to start selling oil in Euros) to permitting an unprecedented raid on people's rights (which, too, is strange way to respond to a threat to democracy, call me picky). Oh, and since when does a genuine democracy allow its leader and enforcement to basically stand above the law?

    It sometimes makes you wonder who the real enemy is. Terrorists appear overall a miniature problem. But anyone who's lived through the IRA years in London knew that already.

  120. Rick Giles

    GW, I think the plan is working

    They all are staying out of our Blessed country. Now, how about that fence on the North and South borders?

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    all those who...

    are talking of ways to defeat this defence measure brought about by the great statesmen to fight the terrorists are now considered enemy combatants....Any second now, a knock on your doors...

    Guess they come for you but, there is no one left to speak...

    Poor Americans...

  122. Anonymous Coward

    Countdown to screensaver

    Bunch of paranoids and liberty restricters! Just put this on boot-up or as a screen saver and "laugh". ;-)

  123. Tony

    a bit belated

    I've been thinking about some of the comments; leaving your laptop behind and buying one once you are in the US. Call me paranoid, but....

    Don't forget that they now insist on having your personal deails before you fly. It would be fairly easy to set-up a check on credit card details. If you then buy a laptop, they will then be alerted to the fact that you have done so (unless you pay cash). Similarly if you pay for any high speed data access.

    The fact that you have done this would immediately indicate that here is something going on worth investigating.

  124. Ash

    Secure erasing

    Someting I forgot to mention above:

    "Excuse me sir, we found a large amount of random data on a flash drive in your bag. We believe it is encrypted information. Could you please provide the key to decrypt the information?"

    "It's blank. I used a secure deletion program to write random data to the drive once the files were deleted. There's nothing on it."

    "Could you please provide the key to decrypt the information?"

    "... Shit."

  125. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Michael Nielsen

    Quote: "... a significant war is neigh..."

    One that will be fought by cavalry, presumably? ;)

    Mine's the horsehair one

  126. CyberSword
    Thumb Down

    War on terror

    This was on terror sounds more and more like a war of terror.

    I'm happy to stick to my plan never to go to the states again after visiting the place a few years back. I don't like to be treated like a criminal.

  127. MJ
    Thumb Up

    @ShaggyDoggy - Report TSA to the RIAA

    "they are not allowed to copy [my mp3's] off otherwise I'm reporting them to the RIAA as music pirates."

    LOL - absolutely classic mate :-)

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Automated searches and why they would suck ...

    "You (and everyone else who made that suggestion) seem to think that they will inspect all those files manually, apparently? Did it occur to you that they could use ... you know ... computers to do that?"

    Yes it did.

    This mythical scanner would have to cope with multiple operating systems and an enormous number of files. Ever virus scan 300GB of data? did you consider how practical this would be to do for every passenger?

    You can't find a Truecrypt file unless you already know it is one. It is just a sequence of ones and zeroes.

    If I create a file called dumb_border_guard.tmp there is no software that is going to identify it as an encrypted file and not a bunch of random data.

    Although being the US they will just assume any information not stored in MS doc files must mean you a terrorist.

    Paris, because even she can see it is easy to hide an encrypted file from jack-booted officials.

  129. Mark

    Re: Constitutions, Encryption, and other points.

    Ash, if the constitution doesn't apply then this must be because you aren't in the US.

    If you aren't in the US then the border guards have no rights.

    Either argument means they are forked.

    What it really is is that the US government have wiped their claggs off on the constitution so much that they can't read the writing any more. Worse, it's losing its absorbency.

  130. Oldfogey
    Black Helicopters


    So, could some clever virus author create a program that when transferred from the hard drive on which it was installed to another hard drive, messes up the new drive - eg randomly deleting files?

    The icon appears to be of a mysterious bug.

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What really sucks...

    >>Ash, if the constitution doesn't apply then this must be because you aren't in the US.

    If you aren't in the US then the border guards have no rights.<<

    True. Thing is though that the US policies tend to get driven forward by the US into governments outside the US (even though the US won't give anything back). That's why this gets people outside the US so inflamed.

    When flying from most EU countries to the any country except the US, you get processed by the country you're in. Going to the US? You get processed by a US official. Funny thing, wonder if the "search and seize" will apply there too.... even when you're not on US soil.

    This year, for the first time EVER I've had to produce a passport on arrival in Dublin from Cork. That's a domestic flight... no arrival from another country, nothing.

  132. multipharious

    Try transit in CDG

    If the trainees in CDG confiscate another item of mine that is not on the list of prohibited items...well I guess they are not trainees...simple overall French incompetency.

    CDG still beats LHR to the number one spot in mind bogglingly frustrating ways.

    Why is there no way to complain about this sort of treatment or legal recourse to over-aggressive customs/security in any airport throughout the world? Sigh.

  133. Anonymous Coward

    Better yet, stand up for your Rights.

    As an American caught in the middle of the Government's BS & the President's utter disdain for "the god damned piece of paper" he swore to Uphold & Protect, I am now forced to travel with my Visa (passport, not CC) on me any time I need to board a plane.

    Not just Internationally, but *at all*.

    As a US Citizen, there's that pesky Constitutional Right against Unwarranted Search & Seizure, my Visa has the words "Shall not be subject to unwarranted delay" on it, and my Right to not be harassed without Probable Cause.

    Oh, and that whole "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" clause.

    So stand up for your Rights.

    Throw a copy of the Constitution at the TSA Agent's head as you walk around the line for the metal detectors / body cavity search.

    Sorry, I'm Innocent, there's no Probable Cause, and you're not allowed to Search my person nor belonging without a Warrant.

    Oh, and you can take your "No liquids, nail files, blah blah blah" and cram it RIGHT up your ass.

    None of those objects is illegal to carry on the street, nor into a Federal Building, thus you can't ban them from *Public Transport*.

    And YES, that airline is subsidized by my tax dollars, just like Greyhound, Amtrack, & the local Public Transportation System.

    So the next time I have to fly, I'll be bitch-slapping a TSA agent or two on my way past the lines.

    Because I paid for my ticket (with cash - you don't need my information), I have a right to be on that plane (because I paid for my ticket), and unless you want to refund me my money (in cash, immediately) AND reimburse me for what-ever it is I'll miss due to your illegal cancellation of our contract, you'd better let me aboard...

    And if I suddenly disappear, my family/friends will know where & why.

    The resulting shit storm will probably make headlines.

    And all because I refused to let the asshole in charge strip me of my Constitutional Rights.

    [Pirate icon because it was people unafraid to stand up to their oppressive government who created this Nation in the first place.

    Posted Anon because my government needs to fear the populace, not the other way around.]

  134. Christopher Hogan

    They are that stupid

    "Do they honestly expect a terrorist to be carrying a laptop with a document on the desktop entitled "Plans to blow up the United States"? What REALLY are the objectives behind allowing these numpties this sort of power? I suppose the least paranoid explanation is it allows them to say to the right wing press that they're "doing something" about terrorism."

    One question on the immigration form used to be "do you plan to overthrow the Government of the United States" - I can't remember who was alleged to have written "sole purpose of trip"...

  135. Wayland Sothcott

    @The information they're looking for

    You're right, they would not know a terrorist plan if you called the file How_To_Blowup_the_USA.odf

    They might say that's what they are looking for but I think it more likely that they will be learning the following:

    1. If you visit

    2. If you have any good porn that they can copy and that might be held against you

    3. If you have taken the trouble to encrypt anything.

    We are being trained to accept being searched.

    I still think it's a good idea to encrypt anything you don't want others to see. You never know who might get hold of the laptop.

    I am not sure how much anyone believes in anti-terror measures as a way to tackel terrorists. Many people simply go through the motions of their job. Others will believe what they are paid to believe. Think of how you believed in Father Christmas because by doing so you recieved presents. The grown up version is doing your job to recieve your wages.

  136. Earth Worm Jim


    Just copyright your hard drive, DNA, face and fingerprints.

  137. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: War on terro? My arse!

    @George Johnson

    "Big round applause for the DHS and government, you finally got what you wanted! I always wanted to take my kids to Disneyland and visit me relies in Florida, but that has now gone out the window."

    Take a holiday in Cuba and invite the rellies to join you there.

    Job's a good'n.

  138. Mark
    Thumb Down

    so is this the shock or the awe?

    i think i'll wait for obama to get in and give him a few years too un-nazi the US before i think about a visit

  139. Tony

    @Christopher Hogan

    I believe that the original text was "do you intend to overthrow the Government of the United States by means of armed insurrection" (just a note: the way that the USA was created in the first place?)

    It was the wonderfully irascible Gilbert Harding back in the early 60's, having spent many hours waiting for a delayed flight, then a foul trip due to bad weather and yet more delays at immigration that wrote "sole purpose of visit" in large plain text. It appears that he was allowed through.

  140. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Simple solution indeed

    The solution to this is in two parts:

    1: Refuse doing any business that requires you, or information from you, entering the Uncivilized Surveillance Area (USA)

    2: Refuse doing business with any person going BACK to the Uncivilized Surveillance Area.

    An optional third is:

    3: Refuse doing business that requires you to be paid in currency from any country that doesn't acknowledge the United Nations charter of Human Rights (and yes, this includes the Uncivilized Surveillance Area)

  141. Andus McCoatover

    supid bunnies!

    When I used to travel to the USA, on return I had four boarding passes. Almost always the top one (Dalls-New york) wsa samped "SSSS" whrich meant exra security checks. So, when I went thro' border control, I swapped the order of the BP's, so it read "JFK-Frankfurt". Dumb shits never noticed, and waved me through.

    Pay peanuts, etc...

  142. Anonymous Coward

    My iPod will contain the classic....

    America.... F*CK YEAH!!!

    Coming again to save the motherf*cking day yeah!

    America, f*ck yeah!

    Freedom is the only weah yeah

    Terrorists your game is through

    Cos now you have to answer to...


    So lick my butt and suck on my b@lls!

    "It's the dream that we all share, it's our hope for tomoorrrrrooow".

    Though I guess having posted this from my laptop I will now longer be able to take it to America.... DOH!

  143. Blinkstr

    My lord...

    I love the fact that all of you are complaining about being searched. What are you afraid of? Perhaps the border folks will find your porn collection?

  144. Anonymous Coward


    and when the happy Border folks PUT *their* pr0n collection there and say it is yours? Wot then??

    ("Border folks" sounds so much nicer than Grenzpolizei or Stasi or the Pogranitsnaya sluzhba FSB Rossiya)

    @amanfromMars , I get a diplomatic Visa and they just allow you to bypass all queues and security controls, waved thru' no less. No photo , no fingerprints!

    @ someone else, the microSD is usually wrapped in clingfilm and stored in the mouth, not the wallet, prior to being swallowed should you be cavity searched. see a recent French Oil executive , IRA and Dutch Nazi resistance back in history. I wonder what flavour my Kingston 2GB is? Maybe a bit of salt & pepper in the clingfilm!

  145. Rob
    Black Helicopters

    Missed a trick (maybe)

    I say maybe cause I lost the will to read through all the posts (seems nobody can resist a dig at the US government muppets).

    The trick being pack your devices full of Virus' cause you can bet your bottom dollar that they won't have any virus protection when checking/scanning through your kit. What's even more likely is that they would also be networked to the rest of the US gov including defense.

  146. Anonymous Coward

    All Pre-Planned?

    Governments always want more power, especially if they are owned and run on behalf of the rich elites. They will market their power grabs to the people as 'good for you', 'for your protection' they may even simulate terrorist acts and crimes in order to bring in their new laws.

    Everyone know this is what is going on right?

    The people can always say to the State by what authority do you take away my liberties? Did I contract with you anywhere that your self-serving laws are applicable to me? They may throw you in jail with Bubba for a long time, but the truth is they have no authority to impose their laws on anyone, unless they have agreed to live by 'their laws'.

  147. Jeff Dickey

    @AC "All Pre-Planned"

    Name me one government that has NOT been "owned and run on behalf of the rich elites." The current problem with the former Constitutional republic once known as the "United States of America" is that the elites currently running the show have overreached so far that, now, everybody sees the "man behind the curtain in Oz" for what he really is. Lord Acton might have had the fictional legal "people" (corporations) which tell Shrub what to pretend to think in mind when he said "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

    And for those who are holding out hope that, after 20 January 2009, the Democratic Wing of the Corporate Party will do any better...dream on. All you need to remember on that score is how much of the transition from "rule of law" to "rule BY law" occurred on the watch of President Blowjob (the DMCA is a shining example) and just how close he and his wife/partner came to resuming power this time 'round, until they finally endorsed Bush's Third Term via McCain. 2012 awaits.

    As for where all this is going to lead... I'm presently living in a functional one-party state with pretensions of democracy, where those who dare less-than-stellar thoughts about the Great Leader, Father of the Nation, or his Son, the Dear Leader and current Prime Minister, can be made extremely unpleasant. The US Navy is a regular visitor here for shore leave... it has occurred to many expats here that this might well be a model for where the US and UK are headed. If so, then Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Wentworth and the lot made much ado over nothing, and we are much the poorer for it.

  148. Pecos Bill

    We're not happy either!

    Most in the US are not happy about this either! Those that voted for our turdtastic leader probably like it though.

    To the earlier poster that may have been answered, no, you are not immune from search of mail unless it is actively in the mail. Therefore, you cannot carry a sealed letter and expect it to not be searched.

    There are suggestions on how to protect your laptop

    though the smartest, safest way to do so is to wipe it clean with secure erase, reinstall the OS, and put everything you need online so it can be downloaded via secure connection after you pass the gestapo. Do NOT put movies, music, or contraband on there. Presumably, you could put some movies/music on a laptop so long as you can secure erase it prior to inspection.

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