Airport Security: Laptops and Phones Now Searched for Data

By August 04, 2008 2 comments

Several newly launched initiatives in the U.S. and other countries aim to allow governments to mine our personal data at border crossings. Legislation in the U.S. and Australia would give governments great freedom to search – and in some cases seize – our personal electronic devices. U.S. Homeland Security can now seize laptops and other electronic devices taken across the border and hold them for an indefinite period, copying hard drives without need of warrants or probable cause. Officials are authorized to deep-scan hard drives to detect terrorists, drug smugglers, and copyright


“In the course of a border search, and absent individualized suspicion, officers can review and analyze the information transported by any individual attempting to enter, reenter, depart, pass through, or reside in the United States,” says the policy, published July 16th. (Policy 1, Policy 2).

Also searchable under this policy are hard drives, compact discs, DVDs, flash drives, portable music players, cell phones, pagers, beepers, and videotapes.

Australia is considering legislation that will allow airport security to search portable media players for pirated media, subjecting those found with large amounts of illegally copied music with fines or jail time.

Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, this is part of a treaty proposal involving the US, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The last thing people want right now (after having to give up their private information in order to travel) is higher security prices and greater boarding hassles. It’s bad enough taking off your shoes and belt, taking out your laptop. This could add considerable time. And how do you travel for a business trip if there’s a very real possibility that all your business tools will be taken from you?

Page top


I'd think it would make security unmanageable if they did this on a wide scale. Hopefully.

Submitted by admin - on April 28, 2009 at 06:01 pm

Wow - I had no idea the Feds could copy and probe computers and hand held electronics at border crossings now. And without a warrant.. Kinda scary, but they say if you have nothing to hide, why be scared?

Submitted by Lars (not verified) - on April 27, 2009 at 10:15 am

Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas