February 20, 2017

"What we’re seeing now is that anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs and forced to hand over the full contents of their digital life."

free code camp: Companies like Elcomsoft make “forensic software” that can suck down all your photos, contacts — even passwords for your email and social media accounts — in a matter of minutes. by Quincy Larson

'Their customers include the police forces of various countries, militaries, and private security forces. They can use these tools to permanently archive everything there is to know about you. All they need is your unlocked phone.

'The fourth amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure. The fifth amendment protects you against self-incrimination. If a police officer were to stop you on the street of America and ask you to unlock your phone and give it to them, these amendments would give you strong legal ground for refusing to do so. But unfortunately, the US border isn’t technically the US, and you don’t have either of these rights at the border. It’s totally legal for a US Customs and Border Patrol officer to ask you to unlock your phone and hand it over to them. And they can detain you indefinitely if you don’t. Even if you’re a American citizen.

'The border is technically outside of US jurisdiction, in a sort of legal no-man’s-land. You have very few rights there. Barring the use of “excessive force,” agents can do whatever they want to you.

'So my advice is to just do whatever they tell you, to and get through customs and on into the US as quickly as you can.'

The US isn’t the only country that does this.

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