Your Laptop Can Be Seized – Without Cause

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated his opinion on privacy. He believed that “the makers of the Constitution conferred the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by all civilized men—the right to be let alone.” It seems that the concept of being “let alone” has fallen by the wayside.

It appears that your laptop may be seized as you pass through border security:

“Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.”

link: Travelers’ Laptops May Be Detained At Border

No provocation is required. The laptop or cell phone or other electronic device may be seized. As a citizen, there is no recourse.

Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates have suspected that this was the policy of the American government. Previously, it was an undisclosed policy. Now, this security measure has been stated publicly.

While American military personnel stand in Harm’s Way in foreign countries, for the sake of spreading democracy, those very civil liberties are being eroded at home. The United States used to rail against governments which tracked their citizens and acted with impunity, under the cloak of secrecy. Police states were suppose to be those foreign, oppressive governments. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?

The justification for such policies is security and protection. However, basic civil liberties are being set aside. Isn’t this exactly what the terrorists want? Justice Brandeis would be aghast – so should every citizen be outraged by such measures.

Catherine Forsythe