Infinite Seizure - Database Weekly (2008/8/4)

  • Tom Juergens

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 107

    No, I agree with you on this. The current system is not perfect, but that's no reason to scrap it altogther. We just have to try not to let it get any worse than necessary 😉

  • umailedit

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2087

    "Unless you think that no level of scrutiny is reasonable, and that all should pass unhindered."

    Scrutiny by customs assumes that it is the international travelers who are the greatest threat to the US. I don't think an international traveler is more of a threat than any other traveler. If you are suspicious of travelers you should start scrutinizing even travelers from other states not just from outside the country. If you are not suspicious of travelers then you should not scrutinize any traveler and all should pass unhindered. What I am proposing is that we should tone down our xenophobic hysteria and start seeing international travelers as our own relations not just as possible terrorists.

    Also scrutiny by customs assumes that the possible terrorists will be carrying incriminating material like bombs and anti-us digital documents in their laptops. This is a very naive assumption, do you think any terrorist is going to implicate himself that way? So since scrutiny is not going to turn up anything in this way, it is senseless to harass international travelers with scrutiny and racial profiling. International travel and understanding is the counter force to terrorism. Supporting international travel (by reducing scrutiny) is the best way to counter terrorism. Don't you think so?

  • jim.powers

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8700

    I guess the only way to get around this is to have your laptop shipped to your hotel ahead of you and then ship it back home when you leave. Seems a bit ridiculous but I'm not sure what else can be done. You certainly cannot put it in your checked luggage since it would be worthless upon arrival. The xray machines used on checked luggage is supposedly powerful enough to cook the data on your hard disk.

    Too many of our governmental agencies are taking matters into their own hands and gradually growing their powers in the name of protecting the home land. We don't notice as much since the growth is gradual but some day, our government will be so large and have such great power, our freedoms will dissolve right before our eyes. Without turning this into a political war, I will urge everyone here to get out and vote. Your voice makes a difference. If you do not vote, you have no right to complain when things get bad. Also keep in contact with your congress members to let them know how you feel.

    This is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, not of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians (which is where we are headed).

  • Ross McMicken

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4373

    umailedit (8/4/2008)


    "Unless you think that no level of scrutiny is reasonable, and that all should pass unhindered."

    Scrutiny by customs assumes that it is the international travelers who are the greatest threat to the US. I don't think an international traveler is more of a threat than any other traveler. If you are suspicious of travelers you should start scrutinizing even travelers from other states not just from outside the country. If you are not suspicious of travelers then you should not scrutinize any traveler and all should pass unhindered. What I am proposing is that we should tone down our xenophobic hysteria and start seeing international travelers as our own relations not just as possible terrorists.

    Also scrutiny by customs assumes that the possible terrorists will be carrying incriminating material like bombs and anti-us digital documents in their laptops. This is a very naive assumption, do you think any terrorist is going to implicate himself that way? So since scrutiny is not going to turn up anything in this way, it is senseless to harass international travelers with scrutiny and racial profiling. International travel and understanding is the counter force to terrorism. Supporting international travel (by reducing scrutiny) is the best way to counter terrorism. Don't you think so?

    Uh, no. Unhindered entance into the US would not be a good thing. There has to be a perception that there is some risk of getting caught with conntraband or illicit materials. That perception prevents most folks from breaking the law. Customs enforcement is not xenophobic - most of the people I see stopped are Americans, not foreigners. And most of the people I've seen pulled out of line are white. Getting through Customs is much easier than it used to be. When I first travelled internationally, every person entering the US was subjected to a search of their luggage and pointed questions about where they had been. I haven't been stopped since the mid-80's, and I've made dozens of trips between the US and other countries.

    It's naive to think that terrorists aren't moving data and plans into the US on digital devices. Or paper - there have been many reports of terrorists using paper to transmit important messages.

    The key to the whole issue is balance. Customs should return laptops as soon as possible, but I want them examining the most suspicious travellers. It's not just terrorists, but also pedophiles, music and video pirates, brand name pirates, etc.

  • Adam Gardner

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 167

    Steve Jones - Editor (8/3/2008)


    Yikes, didn't mean to start a political debate here.

    The power to seize things and protect a country's borders isn't a problem. Every country has the right to do so. My concern is that power without limits, without recourse, without timeframes, without the need to show justifications, is very open to abuse.

    It's also a business issue. If you lose your laptop for a week, what do you do? Most IT I know that travel with laptops for business would be severely impacted if they lost their laptop for more than a day.

    Steve,

    I think you DID mean to start a political debate. Your comment in your editorial, "but perhaps it's not so far fetched given our current US government", reveals your personal bias against the current administration. As an American, you should have a distrust of ALL government authority, not just a distrust of government authority wielded by your political enemies. As a DEVOUT Republican, I am embarrassed to hear this apparent affront to our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, but I'm hardly surprised.

    Even the most well intentioned governments sometimes do reprehensible things. Often they attempt to justify them by the context of those actions, but the light of history always reveals them to be what they are. Consider Executive Order 9066 signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a Democrat) in 1942, which ordered 120,000 Americans into internment camps simply due to their Japanese ancestry. Adding insult to injury, the Supreme Court who is normally charged with upholding the Constitution against abuses by the other two branches of government, ruled in favor of the government that the internments were legal.

    I strongly considered canceling my subscriptions when I read your article from my e-mail, not because I disagreed that the seizures violated the Constitution, but because you used a platform I subscribed to STRICTLY for technical information/technical opinion to advance your non-technical political agenda.

    Adam

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 717408

    Adam,

    Fair points, but I didn't intend a political debate. More a concern over crossing the border because of my technical equipment being lost. To me it's no different than an article on a high number of laptops being lost in checked luggage or Xray machines whacking data off drives.

    It's a legitimate concern, and it's not limited to terrorism. I probably should not have mentioned that first, but I kind of followed the linked article. The bigger concern is that this policy can be used to fight "copyright violations", which is something that really bothers me. How many of you might have gotten an MP3/WMV/other media from a friend to watch. Are you sure it's legal? Would you like to lose your laptop over that?

    I'm not a fan of our current administration, but because of some of their decisions against personal liberties, not because of the party. I do tend to distrusts all administrations to some extent. However the current US administration seems to have tremendously tried to reduce the rights of both US and non-US citizens in this country.

  • Rudyx - the Doctor

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 43691

    US Customs and the IRS have absolutely nothing on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

    Scenario: You and a friend are fishing. He has a fishing license and you do not. You drove in your car with your own tackle to the lake. Your friend drove his car with boat and trailer to the lake as well. Now enter the conservation officer/game warden to check your fishing licenses and game fishing stamp(s). Your friend has a fishing license and you do not. Guess what can happen.

    They can confiscate your tackle, your car and then arrest you. As for your friend, well they can confiscate his tackle, his boat and trailer, his car and then also arrest him. Oh, I forgot to mention that each of you has a laptop in the car as well that sort of goes off into the ether with everything else that has been confiscated, along with your freedom.

    RegardsRudy KomacsarSenior Database Administrator"Ave Caesar! - Morituri te salutamus."

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