US Legal System puts the kibosh on warrantless seizure of laptops at the border.

For a couple of years now the US Department of Homeland Security has reserved the right to confiscate the laptop computers of US citizens for forensic analysis upon re-entry to the country after traveling abroad. It didn't matter if you were on one of their watchlists (and who isn't these days?), it didn't matter if you'd mouthed off to a security guard, it didn't matter whether or not they had probable cause, they could do it and possibly never return it to you depending on when the got around to going through it and how they felt that morning. It's …

Read more...

Boot loaders and securing dual-booting portable systems.

UPDATE - 20170327 - Truecrypt was disconnected in 2014.ev when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP.  DO NOT USE IT.  This blog post must be considered historical in nature.

If you've been following the news media for the past year or so, stores have been cropping up with frightening regularity about travelers who are detained at the border while customs agents demand the login credentials for their notebook computers so that they can be examined for gods-know-what kind of information. From time to time, the hard drives of computers are actually imaged for later analysis. As if that weren't enough, the United …

Read more...

Confiscation and examination of electronics at the border intensifies.

It would appear that the confiscation and analysis of personal electronics at the US border is intensifiying and that people are starting to get up in arms about it. It's more than just laptops that US ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are spiriting away (for up to two weeks at a time, which defeats the purpose of trying to fly anywhere): Cellular phones are being meddled with and sometimes data is erased (for one reason or another; I tend to lean toward Hanlon's Razor to explain this), corporate laptops are being taken away from travelers unless the log into the …

Read more...

US Judicial system debates the legality of searching laptops at the border for no discernable reason.

For a while now I've been hearing about (and thus keeping an eye on) stories from people whosee laptops are being confiscated at the border and examined, as sort of a gill net for anything shady (or that they don't understand). Usually you hear about it in the context of people getting busted for carrying child pornography but more often than not it's Joe or Jane User. The US government says that going through someone's data without a warrant is no different from going through someone's suitcase without a warrant; Idisagree, for reasons better elucidated by Judge Dean Pregerson of …

Read more...

Confiscation of laptops entering the United States.

Just when you thought travelling by air couldn't get any more harrowing, along comes confiscation of laptop computers when re-entering the United States. Some are never seen again; from anecdotal evidence, the hard drives are imaged for analysis. US Customs has the authority to detain people carrying portable computers and confiscate the hardware without giving a good reason, or any reason at all, for that matter. The matter of what, exactly, happens to proprietary information contained therein (encrypted or not) is still up in the air. The standard advice here is to encrypt any sensitive data, but if the folks …

Read more...