Saturday, September 20, 2008

DHS: Attempt To Protect Our Privacy

In late July, we spoke about protecting your data against industrial and foreign espionage in light of travelers possibly going to Beijing for business or the Olympics.

Okay, the US government did not come out and name China but we all knew who they were talking about, our future industrial overlords.  Seriously.  Little did we know that similar things would also be taking place within US borders.

Essentially, we have to relinquish our laptop and any electronics with storage capability to border agents at their wills.  The following are Onxo posts about this serious matter:
Ars Technica has reported there is now an attempt to curtail this open-ended access to our data at borders, H.R. 8669.   We'll provide our own analysis after we review the bill in more detail.  So, what will it do?  It won't stop such searchs and seizures.
  • Rules on information security - imagine the nightmare of that "oops, I lost my government issued laptop" excuses or unsecured servers.
  • Days a device can be detained.
  • Ability to report abuses.
  • Owners of data or devices may be present during searches.
  • Impact studies in privacy and civil liberties.
As toothless as this bill is, we are in an election year and no one will want to appear weak in light of patriotism and national security issues playing promptly in the hotly contested Presidential race.   It's interested the sponsor, Loretta Sanchez, a Democratic in the Republican stronghold of Orange County in Southern California, did this during her own re-election.

Pretty gusty if you ask me.

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